Landmarks in major cities across Pakistan will switch off lights from 8:30pm to 9:30pm on Saturday (today) to join in a global Earth Hour ritual observed every year.
The Worldwide Fund for Nature is coordinating activities in connection with the day in cities across Pakistan. Some of the major ceremonies will be organized at the National Assembly building, Islamabad; Frere Hall, Karachi; Emporium Mall, Lahore; and Ladies Club, Peshawar. These ceremonies will feature candle-lit vigils and pledges by government and civil society representatives for promotion of environment-friendly polices and lifestyle practices.
The WWF-Pakistan says it has requested the federal government to switch off lights at all its public buildings including the National Assembly building for an hour between 8:30pm and 9:30pm.
In Lahore, lights will be switched off at Badshahi Masjid, Punjab Assembly building and Townhall, says Shehram Khan, WWF-Pakistan coordinator.
Asif Sandeelo, WWF-Pakistan coordinator for Karachi, says lights will be switched off in the city for an hour at the Governor’s House, Quaid-i-Azam mausoleum, Marriott Hotel, and Habib Bank and Muslim Commercial Bank plazas.
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WWF-Pakistan had inaugurated its Earth Hour 2017 celebrations at a ceremony held at Alliance Francaise de Karachi on March 15. The theme for the year is Shine a Light on Climate Change.
Speaking on the occasion, Ali Dehlavi, WWF-Pakistan’s regional head for Sindh and Balochistan, said climate change posed a fundamental threat to the world’s ecosystem. “Melting glaciers, rising sea levels, and more frequent weather extremes such as heatwave and super floods will leave no continent untouched.”
Referring to a WWF-Pakistan study on climate change’s impact on the country’s agriculture sector, Dehlavi said that assuming a 0.5 degrees Celsius increase in average nationwide temperatures, an 8-10 per cent loss is expected in output of all major crops by 2040. This corresponds to a loss of PKR 30,000 per acre in financial terms. He deplored that the country’s water supplies were also shrinking because of climate change’s impacts. “All of this has huge implications for our livelihoods and human security. We need to prioritize efforts that can help us adapt to climate change,” he said.
Earth Hour had been first observed in 2007 in Sydney, Australia. Since then, it has spread to all continents with major governments and non-government organizations coming together every year to raise awareness about climate change and its detrimental effects.
In 2016, Earth Hour celebrations were held in 178 countries and lights were switched off at more than 400 iconic landmarks across the globe.