Beijing Marks Earth Hour on March 31
   2012-03-31 15:28:47    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Zhangjin

by Xu Fei

Earth Hour 2012, an annual activity aimed to raise public awareness about the need to take action on climate change, falls on Saturday. Schools and companies in Beijing are all ready to show their commitment to a green, sustainable future by switching off their lights for an hour.

Earth Hour, a worldwide event organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature, first took place in 2007 in Sydney, Australia, and China began to mark it with series of activities two years later.

Thanks to growing public awareness of environmental protection in China nowadays, the country has witnessed increasing participation in Earth Hour 2012 with a total of 121 Chinese cities reportedly pledging their involvement, a rise from 86 cities last year.

This year, an English language teaching school, the English First School for Kids and Teenagers in Beijing, has even made it big by extending Earth Hour to "Earth Month" in an attempt to take advantage of the opportunity to influence of the kids and spread awareness.

Catherine Yang, senior marketing supervisor of the school explains:

"It's not just an hour. We want to make it "Earth Month" for the entire year. So for the past month, every weekend when our students came to our center, we help them learn those five green rules. We even recommend our students bring their friends to EF classrooms to take part in it too."

According to Catherine Yang, the five green rules include: recycle as much as you can, power off when you leave a classroom, ride with friends rather than taking automobiles, and don't use one-off chopsticks and plates.

Catherine Yang added proudly that her school even designed special publicity activities by sending their children on street performances in downtown Beijing from April 2nd to 4th.

"We design a special dance and we even compiled songs. So our students can show on the stage during those three days and teach those pedestrians and kids their own age how to distinguish between recyclable and non-recyclable rubbish."

The Hilton Beijing Capital Airport Hotel is an experienced participant in Earth Hour activities. In a bid to take more positive action, the hotel has set up a Blue Energy Commission. According to Fan Hua, a leader of this Blue Energy Commission, they designed a special sticker on the switches in their offices to mark this year's event.

"We promote the use of a sticker that bears a "polar bear" design to raise our employees' awareness regarding energy conservation and environmental protection. The stickers should be pasted on the switches of the light and if the light turns on, a red line would become noticeable, cutting through the neck of the polar bear. The design aims to remind our staff that polar bears will go to extinction if we continue to forget to switch off the lights because it would lead to global warming."

The environmental protection-oriented Earth Hour, which is usually held on the last Saturday of March each year, encourages households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour.

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