Many hotels and businesses in Qatar have said they are planning to mark Earth Hour on Saturday, March 29, by going dark from 8:30 to 9:30pm.
The worldwide initiative undertaken by the World Wide Fund for Nature began as a single lights-off event in Sydney in 2007, but is now observed in 7,000 cities and towns. Typically, it is observed by having individuals, businesses and government turn off their lights for one hour to save electricity and and advocate environmental sustainability.
In Qatar, home of the world’s largest per capita carbon footprint, the environmental event has increasing significance. The country has been taking steps in recent years to encourage conservation of electricity and water, a rapidly depleting precious resource in the Gulf.
According to Gazanfarulla Khan, who is organizing some of the local Earth Hour events in Qatar, the point of the event is to get residents thinking beyond Saturday. Speaking to Doha News, he said:
“Although Earth Hour has been taking place for a few years now, every year gives us a chance to reach out to the public, enriching them with knowledge on environment and how switching off for one hour can help us combat global warming.
By taking part in this one hour of darkness people will begin to see its importance and see how much energy was conserved in the one-hour time period.”
Amid these efforts, several companies are switching off their non-essential lights for an hour, including Ooredoo and the Pearl Qatar.
The island is also unveiling a 3D pond project as part of its “Trash to Treasure” art program. The artwork consists of 60,000 recycled bottles, spoons, bottle caps, bags and plates, and was prepared by the Visual Arts Forum India (VAFI).
Additionally, the island will host several activities for visitors and residents at Porto Arabia on Saturday night, including luminous face painting, stage drum performances by SPARK and an Earth Hour walk. Some restaurants will serve dinner by candlelight and a special “Earth Hour” menu that costs QR100/person.
Residents can do their part by switching off all non-essential lights for 60 minutes and inviting friends over to commemorate the hour at home. For those who want to go out, here are a few other things going on around town:
- Hilton Doha has teamed up with The Youth Company to celebrate Earth Hour by planting trees and flowers from 4 to 6 pm, followed by Earth Hour debates with the youth on environmental issues from 6:15 to 8:15 pm. The night will end with musical celebrations from 8:30 to 9:30 pm. Youngsters are most welcome to participate in the event.
- Aspire Zone will switch off all non-essential lights. It will also use solar-powered energy to light the football pitches and sports courts on Saturday. The foundation has also gone all black on their social media websites to show its support for the cause and to urge residents to save energy for one hour and beyond.
- The Torch Doha will switch off its exterior lights for Earth Hour, and its restaurants will serve food by candlelight. Non-essential lights around the public areas will be switched off and digital screens inside and outside the hotel will feature the Torch’s participation at Earth Hour 2014 to create awareness about energy saving among the guests and staff members.
- Radisson Blu will encourage all hotel guests and employees to switch off the lights in all guest rooms and public areas during Earth Hour. It will also offer residents candlelit dinners at three of its restaurants: Bentley’s Grill, Maxim and Pier 12.
- Tarsheed Qatar has vowed to turn the lights off for an hour at all Kahramaa buildings across Doha. Likewise, the Museum of Islamic Art will also switch off their exterior lights.
- St. Regis Doha will have two events for guests to celebrate beyond the Earth hour: Reggae on the Beach, which will continue to midnight; and Jazz in the Dark, where visitors will hear performers at Jazz at Lincoln Center and dine by candlelight.
- The Ritz-Carlton Doha has a Candlelight Pilates session planned in support of the Earth Hour. The class will take place at the spa and is QR50/person. It focus on a gentle healing practice to relax the body. Experience is not required and loose clothing has been advised by the hotel.
- West End – Renaissance Doha City Center Hotel’s Glo Bar will switch off the lights and light up candles during Earth Hour. Additionally, LCD screens around the property will feature the Earth Hour urging guests to take part.
- W Doha and Kempinski Hotels will switch off all unnecessary lights.. Candles will be lit in the lobby areas and guests staying at the hotel have been invited to join the cause. Guests at Kempinski’s Aroma restaurant and the Lounge bar will dine by candlelight.
What are your plans for Earth Hour? Thoughts?