CULTURE

Earth Hour helps sustain hope

Greece might not display great awareness about all environmental matters, yet the country scored high points last year within the framework of Earth Hour, the international initiative against global warming. In view of Earth Hour 2010 scheduled for tomorrow, March 27, a number of archaeological sites and monuments will go dark. Following a request from WWF Greece, the Central Archaeological Council approved the darkening of four landmark sites: the Parthenon, the Philopappus Monument, the Temple of Hephaestus in the Ancient Agora of Athens and the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounio ‘ lights will go off from 8.30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m. The environmental organization approached the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and has launched an invitation to citizens, spiritual leaders and companies to turn the lights off for one hour. Images of the Acropolis in the dark made headlines around the world last year, showing the extent of the Greek participation, while raising awareness about ecological matters within the country. According to estimates, 1 million households around the country turned their lights off and sent a potent message last year. It is also true, however, that Greece’s eco concerns are somewhat selective considering the country’s behavior on a daily basis. Earth Hour was launched in Sydney, Australia in 2007 with the participation of more than 2 million households and companies that went dark for an hour. A year later, the mobilization turned global with the participation of 100 million people in 35 countries. Last year, the encouraging participation ranked Greece in first place, followed by Canada and Australia, which took second and third position respectively. The darkening of monuments and archaeological sites takes places in countries around the world, with landmarks such as the Colosseum in Rome, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and the Sydney Harbor Bridge turning into symbols of hope. Nevertheless, the enormous concern about climate change ‘ with all that is being destroyed ‘ needs to be addressed on a daily basis, not just via an annual activity. Hopefully, this will be the next step.