A series of events was held near the capital’s landmark Taipei 101 skyscraper last night as Taiwan joined the worldwide “Earth Hour” campaign and turned the lights off for one hour to raise environmental awareness.
Earth Hour, organized by the WWF, is held in late March every year and has now reached its seventh year, with an expected 152 countries, more than 7,000 cities and more than 200 million people participating in the small gesture of switching their lights off between 8:30pm and 9:30pm on the same day.
Many public buildings in Taipei also participated in the campaign this year, including the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, the Taipei Arena, Taipei City Hall and the historic Red House Theater, as well as several corporate office buildings.
At the Hsinyi Elementary School, before Taipei 101 turned its lights off at 8:30pm, the Taiwan-based organizer, the Society of Wilderness (SOW), invited participants to hold LED candles in their hands to spell out “60+” in front of the building, symbolizing that they will do more than just turn off the lights for 60 minutes and would aim to make lifestyle adjustments and expand environmental education.
Urging the public to save energy and reduce carbon emissions to ease global warming, the SOW said that about 100,000 kilowatt-hour of electricity could be saved if a million people responded to the campaign and turned their lights off for just one hour.
The organization also presented the concept of an “eco-sponge city” this year, as a long-term measure to cope with global warming.
Citing Chen Chang-po (陳章波), a research fellow at Academia Sinica’s Biodiversity Research Center, the group said that to create an “eco-sponge city” means making the city a living entity by replacing more pavements in the city with breathable material – meaning water and air can penetrate through it – so that concrete in cities would not block the relationship between human beings and the earth’s natural ecosystem.