By Nihal Zaroug.
Tripoli, 23 March 2013:
The global event Earth Hour (EH) was celebrated in Libya again this year, with a switch . . .[restrict]off at 8:30pm tonight in many parts of the country. Last year, the event was celebrated for the first time in Libya, primarily in the country’s two main cities, with squares and selected trademark buildings turning off lights for one hour.
In Tripoli, Castle Museum and Martyrs Square saw its floodlights switched off while candles burned bright. Similarly in Benghazi, the Daawa Islamiya building, Tibesti Hotel and Al-Keish Square turned off lights in solidarity with the ecology movement.
The main celebrations for this year were being held in Benghazi, with sponsorship from Jotun Paints and Rayhan Beverages. Speaking with one of the founders of EH Libya, Mohamed Nattah, said the sponsors are fully behind the initiative.
“We have banners, candles and T-shirts. Hommer Electronics donated candles to the town of Zawiya. Al-Madar sent sms messages to subscribers reminding them to switch off, and the Environmental Public Authority, facilitated our dealings with other public sectors.”
NGOs and various Scouts’ chapters took part in the event, with the latter holding a renewable energy showcase in Tripoli.
EH has generated more interest this year, as Libyans are becoming more conscious of their surroundings. Civil society groups and volunteers have initiated the majority of cleanup campaigns organised across the country with the support of local councils.
Co-founders Nattah and Muhammad Bugashata, were anticipating for more than lights off from participants. They were looking for for a lasting commitment to the environment. The 60+ is about more than an hour, said Nattah, it is a reminder of what else can be done.
Among those going the extra mile, were the organisers from Ghariyan who walked 80 kilometres from their hometown to Tripoli to promote EH. The young men returned to Ghariyan to kick off the event.