, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 22 – To mark the sixth anniversary of Earth Hour, Nadya Hutagalung challenged the residents of Singapore thus; “I’ll sleep naked if you will.”
By sleeping in their birthday suit, she reasons, Singaporeans can turn up their air conditioners by a degree and in that way save energy and by extension the environment.
The Earth Hour 2013 theme is “I will, if you will,” and so people from all over the world have pledged to do a variety of rather unconventional things if people promise to take action in conservation of the environment.
“I will be dying my beard green only if 10,000 people around the world commit to supporting Earth Hour by taking an individual action to work for a green and peaceful planet,” Kumi Naidoo, the Executive Director of Greenpeace International promised.
Kenya is participating for the fourth time this year and our pledge is much more modest compared to the stated intentions of Hutagalung and Naidoo, “We will Climb 10,000 stairs, If 10,000 People sign up for Earth Hour Kenya.”
“We decided that as the rest of the world is switching off, we are actually going to switch on by showing the way we can switch to renewable energy,” the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Eastern and Southern Africa Communication Director, Kimunya Mugo, explains.
The idea is to have the Earth Hour participants climb 10,000 steps at the Boma Hotel and at the same time generate power to charge their phones,
“Half past eight to half past nine on Saturday night is the designated Earth Hour worldwide and so we will turn off the stair case lights and use only solar lanterns to light our way as we fulfil our pledge,” Mugo added.
Givewatts, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), will be providing the solar lanterns and are second time participants in the Earth Hour celebration.
“The energy crisis is real and it needs to be dealt with,” Givewatts co-founder Jasper Hornberg gives as their reason for participating.
Hornberg and his team make solar lanterns available in rural communities allowing children to continue reading even after the sun goes down as well as providing a source of light for clinicians at night.
The real draw of the event however, is another invention; a shoe sole pressure powered mobile phone charger.
“I insert a crystal chip into the sole of your shoe and as you walk or run, the pressure on your sole creates energy that you can later use to charge your phone by plugging it in,” inventor Anthony Mutua outlined.
The iHub, a community of technology enthusiasts, hopes to develop and design many more devices and applications which will contribute to a cleaner and greener tomorrow.
“We are partners with WWF because of the need for technology tools to be innovated for conservation to ensure we have a sustainable economy,” Mel Mbugua, the iHub lead consultant, divulged.
Technology is often faulted as being the reason for the degradation of the environment but Evans Campbell who works with Mbugua believes it can now be the solution.
“Technology has really been dubbed as part of the evil team that’s really destroying the environment. We believe that there are a lot of initiatives that can come from iHub that can really help to boost conservation efforts,” Campbell offers.
Environment friendly technological innovation’s aside, Mugo believes small changes in the way we live, beyond the Earth Hour (60+), can make a big difference, “Step up with us and turn off lights you don’t need, don’t leave the tap running, switch to energy saving light bulbs, it won’t cost you much but it will save a planet,” he asserts.