By Nikolaos Prakas
Cyprus will turn off the lights on Saturday at 8.30pm in observation of Earth Hour, a global effort to curb the negative effects of human activity.
An event will be held on Saturday morning at the end of Ledra Street to kick off the countdown to Earth Hour, where many different officials will speak on the subject of climate change.
The speakers will include the heads of the Green Party, the Office of the Environment, the Volunteerism Commission, the Municipality of Nicosia and the Young Greens. The event will symbolically include the “last” snowman of Cyprus and bears that are endangered because of climate change. The NGO Anakyklos will host a session on recycling and teach visitors how to make a snowman out of recycled materials.
On Tuesday the Commissioner for the Environment Ioanna Panayiotou said people should turn off their lights to send the message that the world needs to protect the planet and world leaders should take serious action on this point.
The Federation of Environmental Organisations of Cyprus, which is a group of 20 different environmental groups, reiterated the importance of turning off the lights during Earth Hour, adding that climate change is probably the biggest environmental, economic and societal crisis in history.
The Environment Department director Costas Hatjipanayiotou said gas emissions are the largest contributor to climate change. He added that Cyprus hopes to raise it renewable energy sources to 27 per cent, and that by 2030 the island will have reduced its emissions by 20 to 25 per cent in the trade, agriculture and waste sectors.
Earth Hour was started in Sydney, Australia in 2007 and has since grown to include 162 countries all over the world. People wishing to participate in the events on 28 March can ride the bus in Nicosia for half price (75 cents) in an effort to promote the use of public transport.