Scouts lead Earth Hour events, Environment Ministry “facilitates”

Maldivian civil society is holding Earth Hour events today (March 23) to highlight the urgent need to take action against climate change and care for the environment, while the Ministry of Environment and Energy “facilitates”.

Earth Hour is the “single largest mass participation event in the world” aiming to mobilise people to take action on climate change by switching off their lights for one hour as a “massive show of concern for the environment”, according to the event’s website.

Earth Hour Maldives aims to “obtain the full cooperation of the community, non-government organizations, companies, tourist resorts, government ministries and agencies and the school community, to effectively make Earth Hour Maldives a success and to demonstrate to the world where the Maldives stands in the battle between Earth and Global Warming,” the site states.

The Scout Association of the Maldives has taken the lead organising Earth Hour events, particularly in the capital Male’, since the Maldives began participating five years ago.

“The WWF and Earth Hour Global event hosts prefer associations organise events, focus on youth involvement, and receive support from the government,” Earth Hour Maldives Marketing Manager Mujahid Abdulla told Minivan News.

“The Environment Ministry is making policies, such as the vehicle ban from 7:30 to 10:30 tonight.

“The presidential palace will be the first place to have its lights switched off, as well as the ‘front line’ of Male’. We expect 40 to 50 percent of buildings to shut down their lights,” according to Abdullah.

The Environment Ministry’s Earth Hour media focal point, Mohamed Mushaaid, explained to Minivan News that all government buildings have been requested to shut their lights off for the designated ‘earth hour’ between 8:30 and 9:30 pm, however compliance is voluntary.

“Earth Hour is organized by the Scout Association of the Maldives, while the Environment Ministry is facilitating the event by providing resources, coordinating help from other government ministries, and providing technical help.

“We are strongly suggesting island councils participate, but it’s not mandated,” stated Mushaaid.

He further explained that scouts have been going ‘door to door’ raising awareness and cooperation for ‘lights off’, while advertisements and announcements have been made on ‘variety shows’ providing information about the event and advertising people to avoid energy usage during the designated earth hour.

Updates of energy savings in ‘real time’ will be given on local television.

A vehicle ban will be implemented in Male’ from 7:30pm to 10:30pm, which the Environment Ministry arranged in conjunction with the scout association, Transportation Ministry and Male’ City Council, according to Mushaaid.

“It’s for the benefit of the public, activities will be taking place on the streets for people to join and have fun,” he stated.

“Plus, it will be difficult to capture the picture of Male’ from Funadhoo [island] during Earth Hour with vehicle lights,” Mushaaid added.

Funadhoo is a small island adjacent to the capital of Male’ where the Maldives’ State Trading Organisation (STO) operates its fuel and lubricants department, housing 15544 tons of diesel and 600 tons of kerosene.

Collaborating partners

Abdullah stated that activities have been organised nationwide, with larger events to be held on Kulhudhoofushi island in Haa Dhaal Atoll, Lhaviyani Atoll, Fuvahmulah Island, Addu City, other small islands as well as by resorts. Events in Male’ include an awareness walk, traditional music and activities.

A wide range of institutions are collaborating to implement Earth Hour activities. The Maldives Girl Guide Association, the Maldives Youth Climate Network (MYCN), and other non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are providing organisational and voluntary help. Supporting partner institutions include the Ministry of Environment and Energy, the State Electric Company Limited (STELCO), the Police Services, Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF), as well as local media outlets.

The Ministry of Home Affairs is facing criticism for publicly announcing the dissolution of nearly 1300 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) – 70 percent of organisations nationwide – without notification or supportive mechanisms.

According to STELCO data, Earth Hour events in 2012 saved 1590.5 kilowatt hours of energy, 418.55 liters of fuel, and carbon dioxide emissions were reduced by 1.1 tonnes within an hour, as stated in the official Earth Hour Maldives report.

Earth Hour is organized globally in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), with millions of people worldwide, from 152 countries and territories, including 7001 cities and towns, participating in 2012.

Government-led environmental conservation

President Waheed Hassan Manik’s government pledged to ensure his government remained outspoken internationally in regards to the plight small nations faced from the potentially destructive impacts of climate change.

The government says it remains committed to pursuing the previous administration’s carbon neutral ambitions despite recent political tensions reportedly affecting investment potential for such schemes.

However, private companies and international actors are leading renewable energy implementation in the Maldives while the government “prepares” for various solar power projects.

Since early 2012, the Maldivian government has overseen the initial stages of a few new renewable energy projects.

Waheed launched the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and Baa Atoll Conservation Fund in early 2012.

Later that year, a marine biologist working in the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve has reported the discovery of the remains of a baby shark and endangered sea turtle barbecue on the uninhabited island of Funadhoo, one of the country’s 14 priority nesting beaches legally protected under Maldivian law.

Meanwhile, waste management remains a national human and environmental health dilemma. Establishing waste management systems on the islands has been an ongoing struggle.

Most islands have waste areas that vary in quality and have no means of processing or removing trash from the garbage areas.

“Thilafushi is not what we want. The current conditions there pose serious health and safety threats to Bangladeshi workers living there and those toxins spread to Male’ and Villingili as well,” Ahmed Nizam, Solid Waste Management Coordinator for the Environment Ministry previously told Minivan News.

Speaking to the Conde Nast Traveler publication in 2012 to promote “The Island President” film documentary, former President Mohamed Nasheed expressed hope that the country would continue to work towards becoming carbon neutral, but he also challenged the legitimacy of Waheed’s government.

“We were making real progress. I hope the government will continue our policies. But you can’t have good policies without democracy. And you won’t address the climate change crisis without good policies,” Nasheed told journalist Dorinda Elliott.

“All democratic movements must talk about both climate change and human rights.”


10 thoughts on “Scouts lead Earth Hour events, Environment Ministry “facilitates””

  1. What about the 1.3 billion people who cannot choose to switch off the lights? Isn´t more important to care about them? What do they care about CO2 emmissions? These women carry water and their children get sick from indoor air pollution, because the burn card board and other dirty fuels.

    Watch a different message for Earth Hour:

  2. This Island President Movie is self promotional campaign.

    Nasheed had never done any environmental work in his life and never done anything to protect them even at his own family owned resorts.

    One of the most unfriendly environmental resorts in Maldives is owned by this environmental champion Fili Nasheed.

  3. Earth hour? Scouts?

    I want to ask Mr Sheik Imran and Mr Laura Gasim : Are these activities that could be regarded as Islamic? Was this foretold 1400 years ago?

    You have direct quotes for much less, so please do give your divine guidance on this.

  4. @Andre,

    You and your mate Fili Nasheed can tried to create doubts and violence in the country and your very existence is not not just because of your supremacy .

    Think over before asking Imran to answer your question.

  5. It's funny to see people like Kuribee reduced to outright slander when they realize their tin-pot regime is about to fall.

  6. @Kuribee on Sat, 23rd Mar 2013 10:48 PM

    I can understand the frustrations when you realize that you have been misled all along, by your ignorant parents (who themselves were misled), to follow a nowadays-useless set of rules, under the pretext of divine guidance. You see, when a Arabic-scholar realizes what he has studied (hell, sacrificed) all his life, presumably to get to heaven faster, at the expense of earthly pleasure, he will never want to let that go, while at the same time be fuming inside.

    But, the sad part is, even when they that it is a farce, they would never acknowledge the mistake, (like all Maldivians, never wishing another any good), he will be intent on creating an important persona himself.

    If He exists, it will certainly be not the One Seyku Ilyas has his mind on.

  7. Maldivian don’t have to waste their time on earth ours, carbon foot print or green eco system. We entire Maldives don’t leave carbon foot print even millimeter size that can even be felt in the global ecosystem. If the Global warming is going to sink our Islands, we must make use of the time left for us and Make Maldives sinking paradise, let our people enjoy and live the fullest time we have like in Titanic movie.

    I think we can achieve this by electing flamboyant Anni, we can start a new beginning to get a good ending.

  8. Scout leads the nation?
    So what. Maldives has more serious societal issues than chanting global environmental mantras that the 'Minivan' crowd are well know for. Regards to

  9. It's great to see all those efforts aimed at protecting the environment and the world around us. I also actively participate in the so called Greenest City 2020 Action Plan whose aim is to eliminate the negative impact that our actions often have on the environment. And I'm very proud my native Vancouver has become the Earth Hour capital city for this year. 🙂


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