Earth Hour is a worldwide awareness event organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and it is held on the last Saturday of March annually. On this day households and businesses are requested to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour to raise awareness about climate change. More than 5,200 cities and towns in 135 countries worldwide switched off their lights for Earth Hour 2011 and this year many more cities like Dhaka, Bangladesh, will be joining.
South Asia is a region with many developing countries hungry for power. Millions of people in the Indian sub-continent have no access to electricity, and the power sector is plagued by corruption and inefficiency. The demand is much bigger than supply so many countries use load shedding (planned rolling blackouts) to manage the electricity distribution.
In countries like Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh daily there are 4-12 hours of load shedding varying on the situation everyday. Netizens are vocal on the issue of observing earth hour in the social media. While some are requesting others to observe Earth Hour, some are thinking that this is not more than a joke. The following tweets from the region reflect what they have in mind.
@KaziAhadKader (Kazi A. Kader): “@dailystarnews Bangladesh for the first time tonight will observe Earth Hour…” We were doing that long before it had such a fancy name.
@shuvo666 (Shuvo Rashid): No wonder #Bangladesh is one of the most environment conscious countries in the world. We celebrate Earth Hour every day, 12 times! #Blackout
@irteja (Irteja Ali) Today Power Development Board (PDB) is going to celebrate Earth Hour 2012 by giving 12 hours of load shedding of electricity in Bangladesh.
@AumChang (Aum Chang): i had an Earth Hour today. and also yesterday. and day before yesterday. thanks to BPC power cuts, i enjoy an #EarthHour every day! #Bhutan
@suyogg (Suyog Gaidhani): Earth Hour in India is a cruel joke.
@MalluJat (Ramesh Menon) 72% of India with no power connection celebrate earth hour. 1% from the rest switch off their lights, and issue PR and congratulatory msgs
@RealBharatkumar (Bharat Kumar): In india especially where I am we have earth hour everyday. So all you people who are switching their light off an hour we do it everyday.
@virenb (Viren Bhandari): People of the world should not worry about the earth hour, India has got it all covered!! #nobizlii here.
@ayushbista (Aron): Please Switch off your lights for the Earth Hour !! Oh wait !! Don't bother ! We've got Loadshedding anyway. Nepal, (Earth Hour Forever) !!
@hardfire (Avinash Kundaliya): every day, we celebrate earth hour in Nepal .. :-P
@cinderellaman23 (SumanK Rajbhandari ): #Nepal may be the greatest Earth Hour Supporter because of loadshedding :)
@nazushrestha (Sujan Shrestha): In case you don't have loadshedding 2nite, switch off your lights for one hour from 8:30pm-9:30pm to support Earth Hr. #Nepal @tfcNepal #fb
@adnanrasool (Adnan Rasool): I have to say this… Y r certain corporations spending tons of money to celebrate earth hour.. we have it every other hour.. #Pakistan
@AzeemUhassan (Azeemullah Hassan ): So the Earth Hour would be celebrated from 8:30pm to 9:30pm in #Pakistan Thankfully there's no light in my area in #Karachi at that time :P
@Mahamali05 (Maham Ali) Is Pakistan also supposed to observe Earth Hour? We already observe Earth Hour at least 6-8 hours a day everyday.
Speak For Change writes in a blog post:
Earth Hour is a serious issue and one must not write against it. Is it a bigger issue than load-shedding that we experience daily in all parts of the country? Is it a bigger problem than the losses in millions we attain due to the absence of electricity to the industries? Is it more serious an issue than the non-availability of electricity in a local hospital where patients are operated upon under standby generators because the electricity doesn’t show up? I don’t think it is more serious than countless scenarios like these, because it is not for us, people living in third world countries.