Switch off and save the earth, Singaporeans urged

One hour of total darkness?
Jinny Koh Today Online 26 Mar 08;

SHOULD Singapore experience an islandwide blackout from 8pm to 9pm this Saturday, it would, for once, be good news — at least for the environment.

Proponents of Earth Hour 2008, a worldwide effort to create awareness about global warming, are urging Singaporeans to switch off all lights for that hour.

Already, seven major corporations, including Microsoft, CapitaLand, Suntec Convention Centre and Philips Electronics Singapore, have pledged their participation. Today, more than 50 students from Raffles Girls School and Chong Cheng High School (Main) will be getting schoolmates to join the programme.

But how would the average Singaporean respond? Of the 25 people Today polled, 16 declined to participate, most because they said moving about at home in the dark could be dangerous, or they needed to work. Some felt turning off air-conditioners would be more useful. Others saw no point in saving energy for just an hour. "The effort on my part is an everyday thing — I switch off the light if I'm not using it," said Ms Anita Tan, 40, a business development executive.

But nine people thought an hour was a small sacrifice in light of the global environmental crisis.

"It wouldn't make a huge difference to my electricity bills but if my whole block can do that together, the collective impact on the electricity saved would be quite significant," said student Lim Yan Wen, 22.

Launched in Sydney last year, Earth Hour — a World Wide Fund initiative — saw 2.2 million Australians taking part, and the symbolic event has become a global movement.