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An hour without lights – what’s the benefit?

Liisa Rohweder | 26.04.2010

The lights were turned off in more than 4,000 cities in connection with the Earth Hour Event at the end of March. Hundreds of millions of people switched off the lights in their homes or spent the hour without lights as organised by their employer, a restaurant or some other party.

This was only the second time that Earth Hour was held in Finland, but nearly 90 municipalities and cities, 100 educational institutes and more than 500 businesses participated. One of them was Kesko.

I was happily surprised to see so many companies participate. I believe this is a good indication of how companies realised what the future will bring. Business will inevitably become greener and more sustainable because otherwise our planet cannot survive in its present form. We are already consuming significantly more natural resources than our planet can handle and we are warming the climate at an exceptionally fast rate.

So it was great to see so many companies embrace the lights out campaign as a such a positive event. Many companies organised special Earth Hour events for their staff. Many participating restaurants served dinner in the candlelight, and in some the staff wore lights around their heads in order to serve their customers.

Earth Hour is not specifically an energy-saving campaign, but it has inspired many companies to think about their energy consumption. The lights, and appliances and computers too, were turned off more diligently than usual. Many companies communicated about the campaign, and also about environmental awareness in general, to their staff and customers.

Earth Hour surely made many companies notice that saving energy is easier than is usually thought. For example, turning off electrical equipment and stand-by current for the night are small acts that as a whole have a major impact on our carbon footprint.

I hope that we will not forget Earth Hour. Let’s make the ideas we generate during this hour become a part of our daily life. And let’s inspire our decision makers to establish clear mechanisms for the lasting reduction of our carbon footprint in both businesses and our homes.

Liisa Rohweder is WWF Finland's CEO.

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