Earth Hour Live

Tonight, millions of people are joining together, and turning off their lights to help make a difference and raise awareness about the issue of global warming. See how the world is taking part, with these live news feeds and images from participating cities. Don't forget to share your Earth Hour moments too. Remember - turn off your lights!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The WWF coordinated Earth Hour event has spurned the interest of not only the local individuals and businesses but the various secondary and primary s

25 March 2008. SUVA: As the rest of Fiji gears to turn off their lights for one hour on the 29th March in solidarity for Earth Hour and reducing carbon emissions globally, Visoqo Village will be showing their support by turning their lights on using renewable energy.

Visoqo Village is on the northern province of Macuata, Vanua Levu the second largest island in Fiji. For this isolated village in the north, basic lighting has been long overdue. With the support of the Macuata Soqosoqo ni Vakamarama (Macuata Women’s Association) and UNDP- GEF Small Grants Programme, this community will finally experience the novelty of turning on their lights with a switch, but doing one better by going solar.

This is a pilot project for the Macuata Soqosoqo ni Vakamarama primarily targeted at encouraging sustainable community development and livelihoods through the provision of renewable energy.

Sereana Cokanasiga, fundraiser for the association said, “The women of Macuata got together in 2005 as part of its attempt to focus and maximize their impact with community development within the Macuata Province.

For the first time this meeting got all the leading traditional women leaders from the twelve districts to develop a ten year strategy to identify and prioritise the main development areas it should be working on. This included areas like education, conserving natural resources, improving community infrastructure and so on, but the underlying point was to enhance sustainable development and eradicate poverty within local communities in the province.

As part of the process, the women from the 12 districts in Macuata prioritized things that were most in need of development.

Visoqo Village the target area for the renewable energy project is located in the district of Namuka currently listed as one the four least developed districts in Macuata. Majority of the villages in Namuka district (together with Udu, Cikobia and Dogotuki), face similar problems relating to the non existence of electricity, poor water access, lack of basic communications and either poor or non existent transport and road systems.

Mrs Cokanasiga added that, “with the rising cost of fuel globally and in Fiji there will definitely be a financial constraint on many rural communities such as Visoqo. This is an unavoidable situation because we are not a fossil fuel producing nation. The burden of keeping up with fuel costs is usually expressed unfortunately in unsustainable natural resource exploitation, a contributing factor to poverty.

“What the Macuata Soqosoqo ni Vakamarama is trying to emphasize is that we need to encourage and invest more in renewable energy, it is non polluting and is far more beneficial to rural communities in the long run.”

“We also thought that the launch of the solar project in Visoqo this week should tie in to Earth Hour as part of our small contribution to the global effort for Climate Change Awareness. An effective way to reduce carbon emissions is to promote renewable energy, which is essentially what this project is about and what our association supports” she said.

Earth Hour aims to demonstrate the connection between energy usage and climate change. It is about simple changes that will collectively help cut peoples greenhouse gas emissions.

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