Israel, Turn Off Your Lights; It's Earth Hour!

Lights will go off for an hour starting at 8 P.M. around the country to underscore the need to conserve energy and reduce air pollution.

Earth Hour will be marked in Israel this evening at 8 P.M. by environmental organizations, local authorities and industrial plants.

The worldwide observance is two days later, but it is being marked here today because the observance elsewhere falls on Shabbat. Lights will go off for an hour around the country to underscore the need to conserve energy and reduce air pollution.

Gilboa nature reserve.
yaron Kaminski

The Israel Electric Corporation is also taking part in Earth Hour and will monitor the extent to which electricity consumption declines from 8 to 9 P.M. The commemoration of Earth Hour began four years ago in Australia to encourage energy conservation awareness and combat global warming. It has since become a worldwide event and will be marked this year in 131 countries. This is the fourth year that it is being observed in Israel.

Among the famous locations around the world that will go dark are the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa, in Dubai; the Eiffel Tower in Paris; New York's Empire State Building; the Sydney Opera House in Australia; and the Duomo cathedral in Milan.

The main Earth Hour event in Israel will be held at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, where a tradition has emerged of demonstrating how electricity is generated on stationary bicycles on this occasion. Events in the city will include a march by students to highlight locations in the city of historic or environmental importance.

Earth Hour will be marked in 20 cities and towns around Israel, including Jerusalem and Haifa.

The umbrella group for environmental organizations, Life and Environment, will announce its Green Globe awards today in recognition of outstanding contributions to the environment. One of its awards will be presented to Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan for his efforts on behalf of the government. Amiad Lapidot, who initiated a campaign to separate refuse for recycling at several locations around the country, will also receive the award, as will a group that organized opposition to the construction of a hotel in the Sagnon Valley near Eilat and the Society for the Protection of Nature for its environmental education efforts among the Bedouin of the Negev.

Life and Environment will also announce its annual Black Globe for damage done by an individual or entity to the environment. This year, the Black Globe will go to the oil shale extraction firm IEI, whose planned operations, environmentalists say, could seriously harm the environment. The company denies this.