From north to south – and with the Chilean seat of government La Moneda setting an example – the country’s population enthusiastically joined in “Earth Hour,” the world’s largest campaign against climate change sponsored by the international conservation organization WWF.
Thus, thousands of homes across the entire country turned their lights off at home between 20:30 and 21:30 last 27 March to help raise awareness on the dangers that human activities pose to the environment. The organizers considered the initiative a total success.
“Earth Hour was spectacular this year. We have had unprecedented international participation, with 125 countries committed, and we have been able to see how thousands of cities turned off their lights in a historic gesture. Chile should feel proud of this, as it has responded with enthusiasm to the call despite the difficulties that we are facing as a country, said Ricardo Bosshard, who also thanked the authorities for their support.
“We had hoped that the government would also make a gesture, with the natural understanding that its main attention is focused on the disaster area, so we appreciate the fact that the seat of government joined in,” he said.
In addition to La Moneda, the other big icon this year was the Entel Tower, which turned off its lights and its giant LED screen, and this same scenario was repeated in major department stores like Falabella, and also in Coca Cola, which included all of its offices and advertising circuits nationwide.
However, despite this support, what most interested the organizers was the public’s participation, which they also evaluated as positive.
“Now comes the time to evaluate this initiative to determine how many homes turned off their lights during this Earth Hour, but we believe that participation was at least similar to what it was in 2009, despite the fact that this year our campaign was very brief and austere, but with a tremendous push from the public,” Bosshard added.
One of the most symbolic gestures of the day was in Valdivia, a city where for the second year in a row a group of students from the Universidad Austral de Chile (UACH) carrying candles designed the number 60, the symbol of the world environmental conservation campaign. The activity managed to convene over 200 people, who held a vigil and an interesting debate on climate change.
Climate change and environmental protection are issues that concern Chile’s authorities as well as its population. The state has an Environment Ministry, whose policies are aimed at development that is in harmony and respectful of the environment. There has already been a certain amount of progress in this area, with efforts on bio-fuels and the installation of a wind farm in northern Chile, among other successful initiatives.