The celebration ends with a concert, dubbed ‘Light’s-Out’ in the National Park on March 19.
Cornette said ‘Earth Hour’ is a global event organised by WWF, and is held annually to put “the spotlight on climate change by bringing people together, urging action against climate change, and reminding that personal actions matter”.
During the run, which encourages walking as a form of transportation as well as fitness, Alicia Fortune will deliver a pep talk on the importance of fitness for healthy living, and it will also be highlighted that more walking encourages less driving, and as a result less fuel being burned, positively affecting climate change.
Cornette said that WWF-Guyana and its partners would this year focus on renewable energy, and encourage individuals, businesses, and communities to join the world in switching off their non-essential lights for one hour, at 20:30 hrs on March 19, symbolising their commitment to take action to halt climate change.
According to Cornette, the switching off of lights is “not necessarily to save energy, but to make a statement to put the spotlight on climate change…to know that it’s important, it’s affecting, and to know that individual difference can make a change.”
The ‘Light’s-Out’ Earth Hour Concert in the National Park will have as its high point the switching off of non-essential lights for one hour, during which time candles and glow sticks will be used. These will be distributed by the organisation. The free concert will be headlined by local music, dance and acrobatic performances, and will feature a special address by Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson.
While energy plays an important role in almost all aspects of daily life, most of the energy used (electricity for lighting and operating appliances at home, fuel for transportation, cooking, and in manufacturing) is produced from fossil fuels, which contribute significantly to climate change.
Cornette, in a document, pointed out: “In May 2014, the Guyana Office for Climate Change reported that the effects of climate change in Guyana were of concern. The report noted that there had been an increase of 1.0°C of the mean annual temperature in this country over the past 100 years. Rainfall in 2004/2005 was the highest level recorded since 1888 – resulting in the worst flooding in the country’s history. Since more than 90 per cent of Guyana’s population lives and works on the coastal zone, which is below the mean high tide level, the main livelihoods, economic activities and infrastructure of the country are extremely vulnerable to climate change impacts.”
Guyana’s Earth Hour activities seek to “build awareness about the event; encourage people to take action prior to, during, and following Earth Hour, for a healthier planet; and re-engage society about the importance of adopting renewable forms of energy as one measure to lessen climate change”.
Earth hour is an avenue to highlight issues facing planet Earth, to inspire more sustainable living in millions across the world, and not about how much energy is saved during the hour.
Cornette told Guyana Chronicle in an interview that former Costa Rican Minister of Energy, Carlos Rodrigues, would visit Guyana for the celebrations of Earth Hour here. He will headline an exclusive Earth Hour programme on “Renewable energy” at the University of Guyana Education Lecture Theatre (ELT) at 09:00 hours, and a WWF-Guyana and Conservation International (CI) Guyana Forum on the “Green Economy” at Hermanston Lodge on 18:00 hrs. Both activities are slated for March 17.
The production of a short video about the use of alternative sources of energy in households and businesses in Guyana is also part of the celebrations.
Cornette told Guyana Chronicle that the logo for Earth Hour is ‘60+’, which symbolises that apart from the 60 minutes set apart by WWF International to focus attention on renewable energy and the green economy, Guyanese must go beyond that to ‘what is it you are going to do for climate change after this hour.
WWF-Guyana has also had consultation with CARICOM, and is preparing for a larger stakeholder conference later this year. That conference will engage Government, the Caribbean Community, and the private sector with the aim of exploring and charting Guyana’s future in terms of renewable energy.