by Hana Namrouqa | Mar 21, 2013 | 21:18

AMMAN — Environmentalists on Thursday urged the public to turn off their lights for one hour on Saturday evening under an international initiative that calls for reducing electricity consumption.

A candlelight march down Rainbow Street will set off at 8:30pm from Wild Jordan, as public and private institutions, archaeological sites, hotels, restaurants and homes switch off their lights for 60 minutes, according to the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN).

“Earth Hour is an annual event that calls on people to turn off their lights for one hour to highlight the role of rising energy demand in hurting the environment and causing global warming,” Omar Shoshan, head of RSCN’s environmental policies and advocacy section, said.

Shoshan noted that reduction of electricity use in Jordan is imperative not only to avert global warming and climate change, but also to reduce the country’s huge energy bill.

“We call on the government to support renewable energy projects by drafting legislation and granting incentives to the public and private sectors to encourage them to use and invest in renewable energy resources,” he told The Jordan Times.

Shoshan expected 1,000 people to join the march, during which participants hold candles and stroll through the darkened streets of Jabal Amman’s First Circle.

Earth Hour began in Sydney, Australia in 2007, when 2.2 million homes and businesses switched off their lights for one hour. The message has grown into a global movement, with more than 50 million people switching off their lights for an hour every year.

Jordan first marked Earth Hour in 2009, when streetlights on several of the capital’s main roads were turned off, in addition to lights at government agencies, archaeological sites, nature reserves, and scores of hotels, restaurants and homes.

From Sydney’s harbour to Egypt’s Tahrir Square and the huge neon billboards that normally light up New York’s Times Square, thousands of cities and businesses opted to go dark across some 150 countries and territories last year.