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How the Travel Industry Will Mark Earth Hour

TravelPulse logo TravelPulse 2019-03-29 Mia Taylor
a close up of an animal: Globe On Moss In Forest © RomoloTavani/ iStock / Getty Images Plus Globe On Moss In Forest

This Saturday, famous monuments across the world, including the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building and the pyramids in Egypt, will go dark at 8:30 p.m. local time.

The darkness is part of a worldwide movement known as Earth Hour that has been steadily picking up momentum since being launched in Sydney 12 years ago.

By some accounts, Earth Hour has become the world's largest grassroots movement for the environment, inspiring millions of people around the globe to take action to help save our planet and nature.

This year people in 180 countries and 7,000 cities will take part in the annual event, which is coordinated by the World Wildlife Fund and other volunteer organizations and primarily involves switching off electricity for one hour on March 30, at 8:30 p.m. local time.

In addition, each year, people, businesses, and landmarks host related activities in support of this critical movement including holding discussions, engaging in environmental projects and more.

The focus of Earth Hour 2019 is "#Connect2Earth" a message that aims to build mass awareness about why nature is important and hopefully create an unstoppable movement to protect it.

“We're the first generation to know we are destroying our planet. And we could be the last that can do anything about it,” states the official Earth Hour website.

Sid Das, director of digital engagement for WWF International, penned a blog post on the Earth Hour website to explain the importance of the movement.

“The question I get asked most often is ‘What does switching off your lights for one hour actually achieve?’” said Das. “And I always say that it shows the world that millions of people worldwide care about climate change and nature loss, and everyone has a role to play in tackling these issues. These two threats create our planet’s biggest environmental challenge yet."

Many throughout the travel industry, who recognize the significant impact travel has on the planet’s climate and its future will also host Earth Hour events.

From hotels to tour operators, numerous companies have planned activities to acknowledge the importance of serving as environmental stewards for planet Earth.

Kimpton’s Topaz Hotel in Washington DC, for instance, will turn off the building’s main exterior lighting, dim the interior lobby and reception desk lighting to mark Earth Hour. It will also offer an Earth Power Wine Hour from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. during which the hotel will serve complimentary eco-friendly wines and light bites as an extension of the property’s signature nightly programming.

By hosting the special wine hour, the hotel hopes to encourage guests to gather in the property's public spaces and turn off their guest room lights, thus further reducing the Topaz's energy usage and environmental impact in honor of Earth Hour.

What’s more, the wines offered to guests for the special Earth Hour activation are from featured partners who have been thoughtfully selected because of their dedication to environmental and community stewardship.

“Washington is a very environmentally conscious city, and since Topaz opened in 2001, we’ve been committed to numerous eco-friendly practices. Any chance to add something to these practices that improve both our guests’ experience and minimize our overall environmental impact is a win for all,” Raeshawna Boone-Scott, the property’s general manager, told TravelPulse. “Celebrating Earth Hour is the perfect opportunity to call attention to our environmental commitment, include our guests in the process and take part in something bigger than ourselves by bringing awareness to the Earth Hour efforts happening across the globe.”

A handful of Hilton properties around the globe will also be hosting Earth Hour activations. The Hilton Hua Hin Resort & Spa in Thailand, for instance, will shut down its lobby lights during the designated time frame. In addition, during this special hour the resort’s restaurant, The Market, will invite guests to join in the celebration with a special “lights out dinner” offer. Participants can enjoy traditional recipes and local favorites available at the buffet under the warm, cozy glow of candlelight. More information about the dining event can be found here.

At the Hilton Dubai Jumeirah, the property will support awareness of climate change by switching off the lights in all of the property's public areas including the lobby and all restaurants. Guests will be invited to join in the fun by attending events like a candlelit concert under the stars or a “Taste In the Dark" event where a variety of healthy food options will be served.

The Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL), South Asia’s largest hospitality company has also announced that it launched a “Waste to Innovation Challenge” across its 149 hotels in support of Earth Hour. As part of the challenge, hotels will compete with each other to come up with innovative ideas to convert waste generated within each property into valuable products. The most impactful and sustainable initiative will be judged for potential scaling across the company.

“IHCL has been participating in Earth Hour for many years with great enthusiasm," said PV Murthy, IHCL's executive vice-president and global head of human resources. "This year’s initiative aptly reflects our commitment towards environmental stewardship by integrating sustainable practices as part of our daily operations through innovative ideas. We are also proud to announce that within a year, we have eliminated two million plastic straws from our ecosystem since our commitment to the cause.”

Kind Traveler meanwhile will participate in Earth Hour 2019 on March 30 by matching donations to any of the more than 60 charities represented on its ‘Give + Get’ hotel booking and education platform

Travelers who use the platform get exclusive rates and special perks when they contribute a $10 nightly donation to a charity that positively impacts the destination they’re traveling to, or to any charity on Kind Traveler.

The donation matching campaign will run for 24 hours, beginning at 8:30 pm PST March 30 and ending on March 31 at 8:30 pm PST.

Some of the charities travelers can support via Kind Traveler in order to create a positive impact on the environment include the Arbor Day Foundation, Animal Defenders International, The Gentle Barn, Surfrider Foundation Miami Chapter, Manta Trust, The Everglades Foundation, Russian Riverkeeper, The Ocean Institute, Marine Mammal Care Center Los Angeles, Pacific Marine Mammal Center, and more.

“With more species going extinct now, more than any other time in history and the acceleration of climate change affecting our planet, any and all actions that cultivate awareness and spark conversations around the urgent need to protect our planet are extremely important,” Jessica Blotter, Kind Traveler’s founder, told TravelPulse. “WWF’s Earth Hour is an excellent way to remind travelers of the positive impact they can create by aligning purpose with purchase when booking Kind Hotels on Kind Traveler.”

Even if you can’t take part in any of these travel industry offerings, you can still play a role in Earth Hour. The WWF Earth Hour website lists a variety of ways to participate individually.

You can also sign up for WWF's Mobile Action Team to receive updates about the event and a text reminder to turn off your lights tomorrow. You can also text EARTHHOUR to 43144 to join.

As Das explains in his blog on the Earth Hour website, we all can have an impact on the future of the planet.

“It is easy to put your hands up and say the stakes are stacked against us, or they are too high to try, but each of us who participates in Earth Hour has decided their ambition is higher, which is what I believe changes the game entirely,” wrote Das. “Together, we are participating in creating a new future that will change the world we live in for generations to come."


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