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LIGHTS OUT! Georgia celebrates Earth Hour

By Etuna Tsotniashvili
Monday, April 2
Alongside global icons such as the Eiffel Tower, the Pyramids of Egypt, Buckingham Palace, Brazil’s Christ the Redeemer statue, and Sydney Opera House, Georgia’s landmarks stood in darkness as a powerful symbol of environmental action on Saturday night.

At 8:30 pm, key buildings and public spaces in Georgia’s three largest cities – Tbilisi, Batumi, and Kutaisi – went dark for 60 minutes. The cities were expressing their support for Earth Hour, the largest environment-themed voluntary action, telling the world that the climate challenges faced by our planet are so significant that change needs to be on a global scale.

In conjunction with Earth Hour, a show was put on at the Round Garden in Tbilisi, organised by the Ministry of Environment Protection, the UN in Georgia and the Caucasus Environmental NGO Network.

“In the 1990s, we lived in darkness for years, cordially helping our planet. Today, [Earth Hour] is very symbolic and participating in the action means that our country is a part of the civilized world. We should stand together and struggle against the challenges which damage the Earth,” Goga Khachidze, Minister for Environment Protection told the media.

“Earth Hour is one of the most massive people’s environmental actions throughout the world and United Nations traditionally joins the hour every year. Our headquarters in New York and Geneva and the offices in many world countries are going dark for an hour. It is a symbolic action which shows that we can change the world for a better place to live,” Sophie Tchitchinadze of UNDP Georgia told The Messenger.

“Every year, on the last Saturday of March, when we celebrate Earth Hour, we should remind ourselves that the Earth is our home and it needs care from us,” Deputy Head of UNDP in Georgia Sophie Kemkhadze said.

On the same day, the Sheraton Metechi Palace in Tbilisi and Sheraton Batumi celebrated the day with green cocktails to send a powerful global message about environmental awareness and caring for the planet. Andreas Heidingsfelder recently appointed General Manager of Sheraton Metechi Palace hosted the event.

“For four years Sheraton Metechi Palace hotel has organized an event dedicated to Earth Hour. I am very glad that it has caused a big stir in our country and every year new companies and organizations join our event," remarked Nino Isakadze, Sheraton Complex Sales and Marketing Administrative Manager.

Georgia is participating in Earth Hour for the fourth time this year, with a campaign that brings together civil society, businesses, international organizations, government agencies, students, and individual citizens.