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Sikkim to observe ‘Earth hour’
Published on 27 Mar. 2009 12:04 AM IST
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The countdown is now nearing the end for the 'Sikkim Batti Bandh' campaign which began nearly two months back to take a united stand against the greatest threat the planet is facing -global warming and climate change. The timing could not have been better as large tracts of Sikkim has been left parched due to an unprecedented dry spell that resulted in over 150 forest fires since the year 2009 began. 'Earth Hour, Sikkim Batti Bandh' turn off the lights is a campaign to switch off the lights for an hour on Saturday, between 8.30 pm to 9.30 pm to take a united stand against the threat of global warming and help deliver a powerful message about the need for action. ''The whole world is doing it. Sikkim- now is your turn'', was a message posted on the internet by the campaigners in Sikkim. Earth hour is a global World Wildlife Fund (WWF) climate change initiative. Individuals, businesses, governments and communities are invited to turn out their lights for one hour on March 28, to show their support for action on climate change. The event began in Sydney in 2007 where 2 million people switched off their lights. In 2008, more than 50 million people around the globe participated. In 2009, Earth Hour aims to reach out to 1 billion people in 1,000 cities and Sikkim joined in the campaign when Sikkimese Karma M Bhutia, the managing partner of SourceN Inc., a web and information technology firm based in San Jose, California which has its India headquarters at Bangalore, decided to kick off the campaign in Sikkim in his individual capacity with the help of friends. He initially started the campaign through an appeal on the internet. Other cities which have already launched the campaign in India are Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad though not simultaneously. ''We as global citizens thought it was the right time for Sikkim to participate in this global phenomenon and be part of it, and symbolising and shutting out the lights for an hour to reach the 1 billion voting target for mother earth on the lines of the WWF climate summit and the Kyoto protocol,'' Bhutia added. The countdown initiative began at Rachna Books at Jeewan Theeng Marg here yesterday with the Small Town Film Club, a Sikkim based production house, in association with the Sikkim chapter of World Wildlife Fund organising an awareness/educational interactive screening session with the help representatives of all schools and media in Gangtok on the subject of global warming. A documentary on global warming was screened followed by an interactive session with the panel of campaigners for Earth Hour which is to be observed on Saturday.

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