Colombia turns on the planet!
At least 100,000 people participated across Colombia in the world’s largest event to fight global warming. Public offices, private businesses, buildings and monuments, along with thousands of Colombian homes turned off their lights, taking that extra step to protect the planet.
Bogota, March 29, 2011. It was a sunny day that saw Colombia hold an unprecedented environmental event. From the beginning, television channels, radio stations, newspapers and social networks urged people to get involved with “Earth Hour”, while Google registered more than 27,000 entries.
As the day progressed, the sense of solidarity with the planet grew ever stronger. Even President Juan Manuel Santos took to his Twitter account and pushed for Colombians to take part in the event. On Facebook, a group created to encourage people to participate, had 6,000 followers. Adding to the festive spirit, clocks on the internet and a screen of Publik (partner of WWF) counted down to the hour when Earth Hour would begin.
One of the centers of this worldwide event was Cali. In the early evening, spectators were treated to an ecological runway show in the Jardin Plaza shopping center. The 32 models showed off clothes made from manila envelopes, computer disks and even used paper. Prior to lights out, the 45 children of the orchestra La Esperanza de Jamundi gave a recital, followed by some songs by the rock group Flor de Hito. Then the audience was able to see Hugo Candelario, director of Grupo Bahia. While this occurred, actors and jugglers of Casa Naranja passed through the shopping center reminding shoppers to take part in the event.
Around 2,000 people took part during the 60 minutes of Earth Hour in the shopping center while they lit the candles of four 60+, with the support of volunteers of Cali’s Zoo and the environmental authority of the city.
In Bogota, the celebration was lead by the jugglers of Cabeza de Martillo and Circolino. Adding to the party atmosphere were storytellers, local rock band playing ska, rock and music. When the hour arrived, they lit the candles that formed part of 60+ arranged by an artist with the support of young volunteers. During the lighting of the candle a flutist played for the audience. Later, a mantra was sung for the earth. When the hour was up, the nearly 1000 people who had attended the event in the Plaza Usaquen returned home.
Mocoa (Putumayo), in the Andean Amazon piedmont wasn’t left behind. Almost three thousand people crammed in to the Jardin coliseum to see various cultural shows led by schools, artistic groups and dance troupes. The director of Corpoamazonia (the agency responsible for sustainable development in the southern Amazon) announced a fund of 50 million pesos to support the best project to save energy presented by a school or committee board.
Medellin, the capital of Antioquia, also took part. In the Lineal Ciudad del Rio park, people celebrated Days of Air, an initiative lead by Corriente Ciudadana Respira Profundo and the Metropolitan Area of the Valle de Aburra, whose goal is cut down on air pollution. At 6 pm, the cycle routes for Trochas opened with nearly 150 cyclists arriving to Ciudad del Rio, lead by Santiago Botero. The Festival of Alternative Use collective prepared a montage for 60+ with old electronic appliances, surrounded by candles. At 8:30 pm the park’s lights were turned off and so began 60+ with a concert by Medellin’s Philharmonic Orchestra for the 4,000 people that took part in Earth Hour.
Medellin’s local television station, TeleMedellin, suspended transmission and for 60 minutes messages appeared on a black screen inviting viewers to participate in the event. Adding to the central event in the Medellin, three other parts of the city hosted celebrations in honor of 60+.
Other events took place in Neiva, Yumbo and Pereira. The local council of Pereira held its session in darkness and Yumbo turned off the lights of the Mayor’s building. The capital of Neiva unplugged the La Gaitana monument, the symbol of the city, and a video room was given to children to the Promocion Social de Neiva school in order to educate children in conservation. People exchanged stories on the importance of the environment, tips for protecting the planet and more than 200 trees were planted.
The institutions across Colombia also participated. More than 70 organizations, both public and private, joined the campaign. All urged their partners, suppliers and clients to get involved. Alliances were made with national and local media to urge viewers and readers to participate in Earth Hour. Where the events took place, coverage was massive and ongoing.
Among the buildings and monuments that turned off their lights across Colombia were:
- Presidential Palace
- Seguros Bolivar Tower
- Monserrate Temple
- Colpatria Tower
- The congress
- Lievano Palace
- Usaquen Plaza
- Gold Museum
- Cerro de Las Tres Cruces
- Cristo Rey
- Seguros Bolivar Building
- Corridors Shopping Center Jardin Plaza
- Reducing energy for the 14 of Calima
- Center for Administration of Alpujarra (mayor’s building)
- Metropolitian Area Building
- EPM’s intelligent building
- Park of Lights
- EPM's Library and Interactive Museum
- Central Bancolombia Building
- Seguros Bolivar center
- Lineal Ciudad del Rio Park
- La Gaitana monument
- The local council held its session in the dark
- Plaza Civica Ciudad Victoria
- Lucy Tejada building
In Panama, earth hour lasted an additional 30 minutes
Panama’s Earth Hour saw people keep their lights off for more than 90 minutes. While there was talk that 1,000 people took part, some media estimated the figure was higher than 2,000. The event included folklore dances and national artists such as Ness, Mayito Son and Roba Morena. The central celebration occurred in the administrative building of the Panama Canal Authority and the lights were turned off across the area up to the Correo de Balboa, the Fuente Goethal and Prado.
Andrés Leonardo Rosales García
+ 57 3114453416