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|THEY range from the vulnerable, like
low-lying Bangladesh, to the vast, such as the US; from the familiar
- England, New Zealand - to the more obscure, such as the
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
Many are old hands, like Australia; some are first-timers, including
Kosovo and Mongolia.
What unites such a disparate group is concern about climate change.
They have all signed on to participate in Earth Hour next Saturday.
Now in its fourth year, Earth Hour has become a big international
event. Already 107 countries have signed up, involving millions of
The Earth Hour message now goes beyond the gesture of turning out
the lights for an hour. The wildlife preservation group WWF, which
created the event in Sydney in 2007, encouraging people to change
daily habits, said WWF-Australia's chief executive, Greg Bourne.
''We want people to make a resolution to do something this year to
reduce the size of their footprint,'' he said. ''This could be as
simple as using more public transport, sourcing locally produced
food, reducing the amount of packaging and waste in your home, or
switching to renewable energy.''
One of the smaller countries signed up is Brunei Darussalam -
population: about 400,000. Its Earth Hour organiser, Mohd Rimey Hj
Osman, has been using Facebook, Twitter, radio and television to
spread the word, and visiting private and public offices.
''The government has released a memo to request all government
entities and employees to partake in the Earth Hour campaign, and
the same for private companies,'' he said. ''We would like to show
that Brunei Darussalam is a country that cares about climate change.
We sign up not as a country but as citizens of the planet.''
Brunei's Earth Hour would focus on the capital's historic centre and
its water village, where about 10 per cent of the population lived
in buildings on stilts above the Brunei River, he said.
''And we will have 10 minutes' silence upon the lights off, for the
people to reflect and experience the sense of darkness and