Following the great success of ‘Earth Hour’ on 28th March where all lights were extinguished for one hour at 20:30, the Mayor of Warsaw has decided to move the city in one bold move to the leading edge of the fight against climate change.
It was during her time as Vice-President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development that Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz developed a very strong will to fight the problems that are contributing to global climate change. No doubt this desire was heartily encouraged by her husband, Professor Friedrich Waltz, who has spent many years as one of the world’s leading academics involved in understanding climate change and how best to deal with it.
It came as no surprise then that she encouraged Warsaw to switch off all lights, indeed to save generally as much energy as possible, between the hours of 20:30 and 21:30 last Saturday. What has come as something of a shock though is today’s announcement that this is to be repeated every weekend for the remainder of 2009 and on both Saturdays and Sundays during the summer months when Warsaw is less busy!
While many are praising her bold move as not only being good for the planet but also “putting Warsaw on the map”, others are, quite rightly, raising the many problems such a decision is likely to cause. Why only Warsaw, for example, why not at least have a rotation system between the major cities in Poland? What about road safety and other safety concerns when the whole city is plunged into darkness on a regular basis, looting for example? What about compensation for the businesses that will be losing sales not just for one hour a year but every single weekend!! Do I hear the lid being removed from a super-size can of worms?
Is this just another case of lunatic management in our capital city or is this the first brave, bold and sensible move we’ve seen from city hall for quite some time?