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Doing our bit for Earth Hour

  • By Lynnette Johns
  • March 22 2013

Table Mountain will go dark for an hour tomorrow night (23 March) when the City of Cape Town switches off the lights at the base of the mountain as part of the Earth Hour initiative. The Cableway will also be switching off lights to mark Earth Hour – across the world, between 8.30pm and 9.30pm, millions of people will switch off their lights.

Table Mountain will be dark tomorrow night. Photo courtesy of <a href='http://www.flickr.com/photos/nitsckie/5003634369/'> wesleynitsckie</a> Table Mountain will be dark tomorrow night. Photo courtesy of wesleynitsckie

Earth Hour, spearheaded by conservation organisation the WWF, signifies a moment of global unity, a special hour of contemplation – and celebration – shared in darkness.

The Cableway is committed to conserving the Earth’s resources and, as a custodian of a high use area of Table Mountain, one of the New7Wonders of Nature, the Cableway is committed to conserving its natural beauty and resources for future generations.

The Cableway’s ongoing commitment to environmental sustainability has resulted in a number of key electricity-saving measures, while energy generated by the descent of the cable cars sees 1 500kWh a month fed back into the electricity grid.

This will be the seventh Earth Hour since it began in Sydney, Australia, in 2007. In 2012, hundreds of millions of people in more 7 000 cities and towns in 152 countries took part in the world’s largest voluntary mass-participation environmental initiative.

The City of Cape Town has pledged its support to Earth Hour and will be switching off the lights of municipal buildings as well as coordinating the switch-off of the lights at the base of Table Mountain.

As the countdown to Earth Hour 2013 continues, WWF South Africa (WWF-SA) is calling on everyone to switch off their lights for one hour, and to switch over to more sustainable ways of living, and doing business, beyond the hour.

We all depend on energy, from lighting and heating our homes to charging our cellphones or getting from place to place. In South Africa, the majority of fuel and electricity used comes from “dirty”, non-renewable sources such as coal, oil and gas.

“We must become aware of the kind of energy we use every day and the need to switch over to clean, renewable energy sources such as sun, wind and water,” says WWF-SA CEO Dr Morné du Plessis. “If we embrace the power of nature rather than act against it, we can ensure a more sustainable energy supply into the future. In addition, this will help preserve the health of the planet on which we depend.”

Du Plessis says everyone has to become energy efficient. “This means using the stairs instead of the lift, switching off the lights when you leave a room, and unplugging appliances when not in use. It also includes switching over to more energy-efficient and sustainable solutions such as energy-saving light bulbs, and renewable energy sources such as solar-water geysers and solar panels; and reducing our transport energy consumption by car pooling, walking or cycling where possible,” Du Plessis said.

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