احنا في وسط غزة الشركة مطفية الكهرب من الساعة 3 العصر للان احتراما لكوكب الارض
(Translated: We’re in the middle of Gaza with no electricity since 3pm till now, In respect to planet earth :D)
Global warming emissions resulting from energy production have become a serious problem for the environment due to the growth of the world’s population. During the course of their day to day activities, people consume food, fresh water, minerals, wood, and energy. However, during the production of these daily necessities, a significant amount of pollution is created, which results in the depletion of our resource base. Raising awareness about this crucial issue, and reducing the unnecessary waste of resources, is the main reasoning behind the invention of the ‘Earth Hour Campaign’.
Propelled by World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the Earth Hour 2012 took place for the fifth consecutive year after its launch in Australia in 2007. As diverse as its participants were, they all stood behind one goal: By turning off all lights and other electronic devices, the energy consumption should be rationalized to set an example about the importance of protecting natural resources and environmental conservation to society…
Moreover, with the theme “I will, if you will”, Earth Hour’s YouTube platform alone generated around 4 million hits over the weekend. Thereby, more than 4400 challenges were accepted by a staggering 150,000 people committed to go beyond the hour and thinking green by recycling or doing other good deeds in the spirit of sustainability. Nowadays, a campaign such as this can attribute its tailwind to the social web: news spread quickly due to the use of platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and other Forums or Blogs to extend the involvement and run the campaign. The hashtag #EarthHour even made it to the trending topics in UAE on March 31st.
Overall, this year, the campaign was a huge success globally with more than 6,525 cities, towns and municipalities in 150 countries and territories participating. Similar to the last years, the UAE and other Middle East countries joined the world’s largest environmental movement. The Earth Hour campaign, in the UAE organized by Emirates Wildlife Society in association with WWF (EMS-WWF) took place on March 31 from 8:30 to 9:30 pm. In Dubai, the main centre in Deira and numerous other iconic buildings and landmarks, like the Burj Khalifa, switched off their electricity for one hour. “The most valuable is nothing other than our nature. We should adopt whatever methods are possible to educate public the importance of preserving environment and the value of natural resources” said Eng. Salem Mismar, Assistant Director General, Dubai Municipality.
This year Dubai achieved a record saving rate of 216,000 KW/h and 130,000 kg carbon emission, and a 6% increase in saving compared to 2011- according to Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) who led the Earth Hour celebrations in the Emirate.
“The response from the community was amazing. Without a doubt, it showed that great things can be achieved when people come together for a common cause” commented Simran Vedvyas, a volunteer for Earth Hour Dubai in Gulf news.
But Dubai was just an example, a vast majority of countries located in the Middle East participated in the event and saved a huge rate of energy: e.g. Oman with 53,430 KW. And also the citizens of Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and many more showed a big interest by switching off their lights at home or joining a local event on the streets.
These achievements are important, as a great man once said: “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”. Especially in the UAE, the fast transition from traditional economy to a modern, highly urbanized country affected the environment massively. Although the UAE is constantly working on advancing the environmental situation, the ecological footprint of an average UAE resident had been the highest in the world according to the WWF Living Planet Report 2008. That is why campaigns like the Earth Hour are considered very important to fast developing regions.
The bulk of social media users thought so as well; with a substantial amount of engagement on social media, the topic was widely spread and discussed within the days leading to and after Earth Hour. During the captured time period (from 29/03/2012 to 02/04/2012), the major share of buzz (MENA region) was on the day of the event (March 31st) with 5733 out of 9209 mentions and the bulk of the comments and posts were formulated in Arabic with 79% (English: 21%).
Over all, Twitter held the largest share of conversation, in comparison to all other social media platforms (7285 out of 9209 mentions) on this event. Hashtags in English as well as in Arabic such as #EarthHourUAE, #EarthHourDubai, #EarthHourJO, #EarthHourKSA, #ساعةالأرض, #ساعة_الأرض #ساعة_الأرض_السعودية were used to promote the event or display one’s personal feeling about it.
For the sole purpose of promoting the Earth Hour event, many Twitter accounts were created; in the Arab world for example: @EarthHourUAE, @EarthHourJordan, @EarthHourSaudi, @IksWill, @EarthHourCasa, @EarthHourAmman, and @EHMorocco. Furthermore some users were pushing the event by exchanging their profile pictures with the logo of the Earth Hour event and encouraging others to do the same.
(Translated: Change your Twitter profile picture to the Earth Hour logo, to help raise the awareness of this international event)
The majority of tweets regarding the campaign in the Arab world came from UAE, especially Dubai. But not only individuals talked about the event – there were also enterprises and government agencies involved, such as Dubai Public Prosecution, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, who were highly engaged in the event .
(Translated: Public Prosecution is inviting you to participate in the activities of Earth Hour event, next Saturday, at the Boulevard Plaza Tower beside Burj Khalifa)
The general sentiment towards the event was positive, as users showed great support by counting down to the event hour, sharing pictures of last year’s Earth Hour, and encouraging other users to support the event.
Some users were particularly innovative and creative in promoting the Earth Hour, e.g. by writing a poem about the spectacle and how it can benefit society.
Certainly there were also neutral tweets that basically consisted of links to pages and websites promoting the event just as environment related issues in general followed by the event hashtag.
However, there were some negative tweets about the event, expressing criticism on the idea of the event and claiming the need for a more effective long term solution.
Aside from engagement on Twitter, various Facebook pages were created to promote the event; some in English (Earth Hour Qata, Earth Hour Libya, Earth Hour UAE, Earth Hour Egypt…), and others in Arabic, such as: (ساعة الارض Earth Hour, Earth Hour Jordan ساعة الارض الأردن…). Furthermore there were more than 11 Facebook events established for the Earth Hour in Arabic, with about 1529 people attending. For the keyword “ساعة الأرض” (Earth Hour), there were about 866 comments posted on Facebook during the monitoring period.
The Social Media Milieu experienced continuous amounts of buzz over the period : Overall, 27 Videos were uploaded during the captured period, with a view rate up to 81,767 views and about 664 comments discussing these videos.
In comparison to other platforms, users of Message Boards and Forums showed less interest in the topic. But the interaction that took place showed the same outcome, people were mainly promoting the event and its benefits, sharing videos and photos.
“Social media is not just connecting the world but is becoming the primary organizing tool for citizens to take action. People from over 150 countries across the globe are harnessing the power of online platforms to physically care for the future of the planet,” Earth Hour Co-Founder and Executive Director, Andy Ridley said.
Just a few days after the event, the NRDC, Opower and Facebook confirmed the launch of an app “to help social media users lower their energy use by competing” on the social network. “Motivating consumers to take action—something that has traditionally been a challenge—is the key to unlocking this potential,” NRDC said in a statement. The extent of engagement in social networks during this time showed that people are concerned about their environment, thinking outside the box and focusing on the future.
The Earth Hour was a phenomenal success – not only in the real world but also on social media. Thus, apart from the electricity and carbon emissions savings, it also reminded a lot of people of what is going on outside their offices or homes.
The Buzz Report monitors trends and themes that dominate current discussions on various Social Media platforms. This explicit search was conducted about the Earth Hour 2012, covering the Middle East. The mentioned posts and comments were captured in both English and Arabic from the 29th of March 2012 until the 2nd of April. The keywords for the search were: “EarthHourDubai”, “Earth Hour”, “@earthhour” ,“Earth Hour 2012”, “EarthHourJo”, “EarthHourJordan”, “EarthHourSaudi”, “EarthHour”, “EarthHourBahrain”, “EarthHourUAE”, “EarthHourDubaiStyle”, “EarthHourAbuDhabi” and “EarthHourEgypt”, all in different spellings and as well the correspondents in Arabic.
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