By Meagan Robertson
Tico Times Staff
On Saturday night, San José will be one of almost 2,500 cities worldwide turning off their lights from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. for Earth Hour. Festivities begin at 7:30 p.m. in Plaza de la Democracia, featuring a concert by candlelight and acoustic performances throughout the night.
Earth Hour is an annual international event created by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) that began in Sydney in 2007, when 2 million people turned off their lights for at least one hour. In 2008, more than 50 million people around the globe participated. Costa Rica is one of 83 countries participating in the event, and in Costa Rica’s case, for the first time.
The candlelight concert will feature Manuel Obregon, Carlos Tapado Vargas and Jaime Gamboa, three well-known national artists. Come 8:30 p.m. the only light in the plaza will be provided by 1,000 candles that will be distributed by WWF to everyone in the plaza. Most businesses in the area have also agreed to turn off their neon signs and music during the event.
The spokesperson for WWF in Central America, Lilian Márquez, is eager to see Costa Rican involvement.
“Figuring out how to stop global warming seems so overwhelming to some people,” said Márquez, “and they’re always asking what they can do to make a difference. Here’s something they can participate in that makes a difference.”
In 2009, Earth Hour aims to reach out to two billion people worldwide in order to demonstrate the magnitude of this support to world leaders at the Global Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen 2009. The meeting will determine new international policies against global warming to replace the Kyoto Protocol.
Márquez has concentrated most of her efforts on the San José event, where aside from concerts, there will be performers juggling fire and artists creating images with UV and florescent colors.
“Earth Hour is a call to action for all citizens of the world,” said Márquez. “By turning off your lights you’re showing that you’re conscious of your impact on the environment.”
For more information about Earth Hour, visit the official website at www.earthhour.org.