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As the countdown to Earth Hour 2013 continues, WWF South Africa is calling on everyone to switch off their lights for one hour and switch over to more sustainable ways of living, and doing business, beyond the hour.
In South Africa, the majority of fuel and electricity used comes from “dirty”, non-renewable sources such as coal, oil and gas. We all depend on energy, from lighting and heating our homes, to charging our mobile phones or getting from place to place.
“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 explains that first and foremost, we all need to aim to be 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, renewable energy sources such as solar-water geysers and solar panels, and reducing our transport energy consumption by carpooling, walking or cycling where possible.
Currently, we are using the equivalent of 1.5 times the planet’s natural resources to support consumption patterns. Much of this overshoot relates to the Earth’s inability to keep up with storing excess carbon. For this reason, we cannot afford to ignore the critical environmental challenges we are facing, especially from the use of dirty fossil fuels.
“Our small positive actions all add up. Together we must find the energy to turn the inspiration of one hour into the actions of every hour,” explains Du Plessis. “We encourage all South Africans to unite with millions of people around the globe for the world’s largest mass participation event for the environment by switching off your lights and celebrating Earth Hour in whatever ways best honour the planet.”
This annual symbolic act takes place on Saturday, 23 March 2013 from 8:30-9:30pm and gives all of us an opportunity to reflect on our impact on the environment and renew our commitment to protecting the planet.