By Hana Namrouqa

AMMAN – From nature reserves and archaeological sites to private companies and hotels, Jordan will switch off its lights for an hour on March 26 in a call to combat global warming.

Several of the capital’s streets, companies, hotels and houses will be dark between 8:30pm and 9:30pm on Saturday to mark Earth Hour, while hundreds will take part in a candle-lit march, joining over 100 countries around the world in calling for cutting energy consumption and better awareness on the impact of climate change, according to organisers.

Over 40 private sector companies and hotels across Jordan registered to take part in our “turn off the lights” campaign on Saturday, Nour Saoub, public relations and communication coordinator at Jordan Inbound Tour Operators Association, said yesterday.

“By registering for the campaign, participating entities are pledging to build their employees’ awareness on climate change and cut down on energy use,” she told The Jordan Times.

Major tourist attractions in Jordan will also turn off their lights for 60 minutes, in a message highlighting the importance of responsible eco-tourism, according to Saoub.

“Lights will be turned off at the Amman Citadel and Qalaat Al Rabad in Ajloun Governorate, while the event will be celebrated in Petra by lighting candles,” she noted.

Meanwhile, over 600 people are expected to take part in a candle-lit march in Jabal Amman, organised by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN).

The march will start at 8:30pm from RSCN’s Wild Jordan and go all the way down Rainbow Street after the Greater Amman Municipality switches off street lights in the area for an hour, according to Hana Banna, RSCN’s public relations executive.

“This is the third year that Jordan marks Earth Hour, but this year’s occasion is motivating people to adopt environment-friendly lifestyles instead of only turning their lights off for an hour,” she told The Jordan Times yesterday.

This can be achieved by reducing energy consumption and using bicycles, public transportation or walking to individually contribute to reducing our carbon footprints, Banna underscored.

“We started in 2009 with around 200-300 participants, and now the number exceeds 600 people from different walks of life. Raising public awareness on environmental challenges takes time and occurs gradually,” the RSCN official noted.

She noted that the RSCN ceremony marking the event starts at 7:00pm at Wild Jordan with a photo exhibition and a slide show of reports on the impact of climate change on biodiversity in the Kingdom.

Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia, when 2.2 million individuals and more than 2,000 businesses turned their lights off for one hour to take a stand against climate change, according to the Earth Hour website.

A year later, Earth Hour had become a global sustainability movement with more than 50 million people participating. Global landmarks such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, CN Tower in Toronto, Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and Rome’s Colosseum, all stood in darkness, as symbols of hope for a cause that grows more urgent by the hour, according to the website.