Kuwait celebrates successful Earth Hour
In cooperation with Kuwait Global Warming Team, UNDP Kuwait supported the celebration of Earth Hour during Kuwait’s Environmental Month along with several other agencies and actors.
During Earth Hour, local businesses where encouraged to turn off their electricity for an hour to raise awareness of the need to improve management of energy resources. Participants in the event included shopping malls, residential buildings, schools, public spaces and governmental offices. However, the highlight of the event occurred when the Kuwait Towers monuments symbolically turned off its lights for the duration of the hour, which is now celebrated all over the world since its inception in Sydney, Australia.
In 2008, a group of engineering students at Kuwait University aspired to spread awareness about the global warming phenomenon and to take action on climate change. They were inspired Earth Hour - an event that was held in Sydney, Australia the previous year. Living in an oil-producing country is a great economic privilege; however, it raises important concerns about the amounts of carbon dioxide emissions. Therefore, the Kuwaiti Team for Global Warming was established to motivate people of Kuwait to embrace environmental change in order to balance the effects of oil production. The team’s main aim was to organize Earth Hour in Kuwait, hence motivate the people of Kuwait to engage in this global contribution of reducing carbon emissions.
The journey started in Kuwait University, where the first Earth Hour event took place and was organized in 2008 targeting university students mainly and staff members. The hard work and admirable efforts of the team members paid off when people participated in the event and showed great interests in cooperating in the following years. Moreover, the team’s successful attempts were recognized by Kuwait Voluntary Work Center, which adopted the team to work under their umbrella.
In 2009, the significance of reducing electricity consumption for only an hour was explained by team members to authorized individuals of the main landmarks of Kuwait like Kuwait Towers, Liberation Tower and The Scientific Center as well as over twenty-six malls, embassies, hotels, companies and professional associations. The team properly introduced the idea of Earth Hour to the public by organizing an eventful gathering in a public area overlying Kuwait Towers and by inviting people at home, through media and press, to switch off their non-essential lights and electrical devices from 8:30 to 9:30 pm. Several non-profit organizations and societies participated in the event to educate people about other environmental aspects and the importance of volunteer work. The participation of an important landmark of the country, Kuwait Towers, in the event had a great impact on the general public cementing the serious message that the team wanted to deliver.
More importantly, as a result of the cooperation of many residents and organizations, the percentage of electricity consumption during that hour was reduced. Moreover, the number of participants increased each year showing their loyalty to the cause. The team’s work is not only exclusive to organizing Earth Hour, they also believe in the concept of reducing carbon emissions beyond the hour.
Additionally, the team contributes towards educating the youth about Global Warming phenomenon and climate change by giving lectures and seminars at schools and universities. Furthermore, the members of the team engage in various environmental exhibitions and conferences as well as beach clean-ups. The Kuwaiti Team for Global Warming has also inspired organizations to adopt the idea of Earth Hour and has supported its application in the State of Kuwait during Environmental Day, which takes place on February 27th 2012, naming it the Environmental Hour.