Israel shuts off lights for Earth Day
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Israel shuts off lights for Earth Day

Symbolic blackout part of traditional international awareness initiative

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

The Knesset prepares to dim its lights for an hour Monday as part of Earth Day 2013 (photo credit: Courtesy/Knesset)
The Knesset prepares to dim its lights for an hour Monday as part of Earth Day 2013 (photo credit: Courtesy/Knesset)

Israelis joined the rest the world in dimming their lights for an hour Monday night to mark environmental awareness for Earth Day.

As part of an initiative promoting environmental awareness, 26 cities and towns throughout the country turned off all their lights for one hour, starting at 8 p.m.

Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Netanya and other cities started the nationwide blackout at 8 p.m., and were gradually joined by Ashdod, Modiin (8:10 p.m.), Jerusalem, Herzliya, Ashkelon (8:20 p.m.), Petah Tikva and Haifa (8:30 p.m.).

The staggered timing of the blackout aimed to prevent a power surge at the end of the hour, which would have caused pollution and be counterproductive to the message sent to the public.

Similar power shutdowns were set to place in dozens of countries, including New Zealand, France, the United States and Brazil.

A large ceremony took place at the Ariel Sharon Park, formerly the country’s largest garbage dump site and now a green lung overlooking Tel Aviv.

Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz handed out a special prize to people who contributed time and effort toward reducing pollution and nature preservation.

Running for over 40 years, Earth Day is used by countries around the world as a day of awareness toward threats to the natural world. The organizing website calls on people to do something for the planet, either by volunteering or by pledging funds to plant a single tree.

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