WINDHOEK – While some of the major cities in the world observed Earth Hour, a period between 20h30 and 21h30 on Saturday when they switched off lights in demonstration of their commitment to caring for the planet in sustainable business activities, very few businesses in Namibia took notice.
It was business as usual for Windhoek’s hotels, restaurants, bars and nightclubs. One exception in Windhoek though was the Hilton Hotel that made a bold statement by switching off all non-essential lights during that hour, raising awareness about the concern for climate change.
Activities at the hotel during the ‘Hour of Darkness’ included a glow in the dark party at the Sky Bar, an interactive braai in the Ekipa Restaurant and candlelit treatment rooms at the Breeze Spa.
All sales of glow sticks were donated to the World Wildlife Fund.
Globally, places where the lights were switched off for one hour included the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, and Time Square in New York, the USA.
Director of operations at the Hilton Hotel Teun Engbers and his Earth Hour team said it was good to know that by turning off all lights at the hotel for one hour, they joined millions of people around the world to highlight the reality of climate change by doing something very simple.
“This is our way of raising awareness among the general public about climate change, and to convey that by working together, each of us can have a positive impact. We are proud to participate in Earth Hour,” Engbers noted while the rest of Windhoek’s central business district was in full light and abuzz with activities.
Engbers said each of us has a stake in the future of our planet and can help protect our world’s limited natural resources.
“As part of ‘travel with purpose’, Hilton Worldwide’s corporate responsibility strategy, Hilton Hotels and Resorts is committed to reducing energy consumption from direct operations, carbon dioxide emissions, output of waste and water consumptions, and is working to minimise the environmental footprint of our more than 550 hotels and resorts in more than 80 countries,” he said.
“Participation in Earth Hour is part of Hilton Worldwide’s commitment to living sustainably, one of the four pillars of the company’s responsibility and sustainability strategy, travel with purpose. In demonstration of its commitment in this area, Hilton Worldwide has elevated sustainability as a performance metric and a brand standard across all hotels, raising it to the same level of importance as quality, service and revenue. To support the company’s sustainability goals, Hilton Worldwide’s proprietary performance system, is used to measure, analyse and report on sustainability data across the global portfolio,” said Hilton Windhoek’s public relation department.
Created by World Wildlife Fund, Earth Hour began in 2007 as a way for individuals and businesses to show how simple steps can make a significant impact on addressing climate change. This worldwide effort began in Sydney, Australia, when more than two million people turned off their lights for an hour and reduced the city’s energy consumption by more than 10 percent. It became a global movement in 2008 with more than 50 million people participating, and today it is the largest grassroots environmental movement in the world with more than 7 000 cities and towns in 152 countries and territories and hundreds of millions of people participating across seven continents.
In 2013 alone, 345 million people were reached through the campaign’s website and social media.
This year’s theme focuses on mobilising young people to become the next generation of leaders for a sustainable world, a theme that resonates with several Hilton Worldwide commitments to connect and prepare young people over the next five years.