By Standard Reporter

Nairobi will join over 1,000 cities on March 28 in observing Earth Hour, a global event that seeks to raise awareness on the need for action by world leaders against global warming.

Organised by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the Nairobi highlight will be marked at a candle-lit gala dinner for the National Museums of Kenya, marking the institution’s centennial year.

The event is meant to pressure political leaders around the world to sign a new deal to replace the Kyoto Protocol on climate change that runs out soon. Studies by Britain’s Hadley Centre recently established that global warming is affecting Africa more than the industrialised world, despite being the least to blame for emitting the pollutants responsible.

"While Africa is not a region that has been pumping out carbon dioxide, it’s still seen a clear warming signal, Dr Peter Stott, a climate researcher at the centre, told The Independent newspaper in the UK.

"In the industrial countries, part of the warming has been offset by cooling due to aerosols," he noted.

Lights out

Cities marking the event across the globe will switch off all lights on major landmarks for one hour. Millions of people are expected to gather in parks, streets, town squares and homes around the world, to witness the lights going out on iconic landmarks and city skylines.

In Sydney, where Earth Hour began in 2007, every ferry in the city’s famous harbour will sound its horn at precisely 8.30pm to herald the beginning of Earth Hour in Australia, while in Melbourne a people-pedal-powered concert will be underway at Federation Square.

Earth Hour Executive Director, Andy Ridley, said Earth Hour is more than just a call to action on climate change. "Earth Hour is an opportunity for the global community to speak in one voice on the issue of climate change, while at the same time coming together in celebration of the one thing every single person on the planet has in common, the planet," he said.

"For the very first time, Nairobi has taken the lead to host Earth Hour in Africa. We call on Nairobi residents, and Kenya as a whole to support this global event," noted Earth Hour Kenya’s Kimunya Mugo.

Historic moment

"Whether it’s joining your community in a town square to watch the city lights go dark or hosting a lights out party in your own home, I encourage everybody across the world to be a part of this historic occasion.

"Turn off your lights, celebrate the planet, enjoy the moment and cast your vote for Earth," Ridley added.

Earth Hour is a global WWF climate change initiative. Individuals, businesses, governments and communities are invited to turn out their lights for one hour to show their support for action on climate change.