Earth Hour features city challenges and eco online platforms in Central and Eastern Europe
In Romania WWF launches the third edition of the Earth Hour Capital, a race between the cities of country. Since 2012 town halls across the country have been competing with environmental projects to transform their cities into more friendly places for people and the environment. Previous winners were the cities of Bistrita and Timisoara.
This year, the race returns in a new form. Cities represented by municipalities, educational institutions, NGOs and local associations, cultural centers, libraries, museums and galleries are invited to organize activities and various events for their communities in March – the Earth Hour Month. Finally, the city with the most various events with impact on the community and with the most exciting final event will become the Earth Hour Capital.
“There could be many ideas for possible actions and events: environmental education classes, mini-research projects on species and habitats at the local schools, outings, astronomical observations, gastronomic events with traditional products, environmental expos, conferences, awareness and empowerment of citizens”, says Ioana Betieanu who is leading WWF Romania Earth Hour team.
Cities can join the competition until 10 March 2014. The Earth Hour Capital of Romania will be announced on 15 April 2014.
This year Earth Hour also brings to Romanians the opportunity to switch to solar energy and reduce their footprint. A contest was launched, open to everyone, and the award is a domestic solar panel worth 20,000 EUR offered by an Austrian company.
Earth Hour is going again to Ukraine. Up to now 20 cities confirmed that they would participate including Kiev, Rovno, Odessa, Krivoy Rog.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian team of WWF has started an online platform through which citizens can work out solutions of environmental issues. Problem areas can be marked at http://www.ecomap.org. People can also join just by voting for the problems that they see as most important. WWF team in Ukraine will start working on the five most urging issues.
“Every day we spot trash in the parks. Sometimes we see illegal logging, construction in protected areas or other environmental problems. Each of us has the opportunity to change this, but only if we join forces. Thus, the more people and organizations get together, the higher the success could be”, says Olexandra Kovbasko , who coordinates Earth Hour 2014 in Ukraine.
Many cities have already pledged their support for Earth Hour in Hungary, Serbia and Bulgaria. They will switch off the lights of landmarks, monuments and popular sights.
In Hungary an Earth Hour unplugged concert is planned to take place on a floating boat in Budapest.
A music event will celebrate Earth Hour in Belgrade, Serbia. This year the focus will be also on social media. A competition for the best photo without flashlight is organized together with Canon.
Cinema-goers in Bulgaria at Earth Hour Day, 29 March, will write down on the back of their tickets what they plan to do differently and live more sustainably. The most honest and exciting answers will be rewarded. Participating movie theatres will switch off their lights too.