Last week, Viet Nam News asked readers for their opinions about Earth Hour, which takes place from 8:30 to 9:30pm this Saturday, and ways to celebrate the event. Many respondents said that it was a good idea to remind people of the needs to save energy and protect the environment. Some added, however, that more positive action was needed, not just an hour in the dark. Here are some of the responses:
Jane Park, American, Ha Noi
I don't celebrate Earth Hour, but I don't think it's a bad idea. I think it's more about the impact of the message this event sends to everyone, rather than the actual conservation of energy achieved in 60 minutes. I would try to observe the concept if I was reminded when it occurred.
In recent years, Viet Nam has seen a wave of budget airlines appearing and disappearing due to limited conditions allowing for competition in the aviation market, exacerbated by high inflation and rising fuel costs.
Viet Nam is projected by the International Air Transportation Association to have the world's third largest growing international market and second largest growing domestic market by 2014.
Potential for low-cost carriers is huge as the country only has a 17 per cent low-cost carrier penetration rate, one of the lowest in Asia and the world.
Low-cost airlines have not reached their full potential in Viet Nam, and travellers often complain of Viet Nam's budget airline services, dubbing them "delayed airlines".
Have you had experience travelling on any of the low-cost carriers in Viet Nam? Were the experiences positive or negative? Why do you think budget airlines are more popular in other countries, especially in Europe, where a large percentage of travellers choose budget airlines as their first choice?
Emails should be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org – or by fax to (84-4) 3 933 2311. Letters can be sent to The Editor, Viet Nam News, 11 Tran Hung Dao Street, Ha Noi. Replies to this week's questions must be received by Thursday morning, April 5.
I think Earth Hour is effective in promoting people's awareness, even if it may touch only a couple of people. The more it is talked about, the better. The hour of conservation may not reduce consumption much, but it can certainly have the power to circulate the idea get people thinking about what small actions, such as turning off the lights when you leave a room, can do.
I suggest other ways to promote Earth Hour would be to get people to refrain from using washing machines, dishwashers and the television - or leave the house and spend an hour in the park!
Rika Matsumoto, Japanese, HCM City
Earth Hour reminds people of the need to save energy and protect the environment. Of course an hour in the dark won't solve much, but it is a good reminder.
I heard some TV channels, such as the National Geographic and Cartoon Network, even halted transmission for an hour - and some well known American buildings turned all their lights off.
I celebrated Earth Hour last year. I just went up to the roof and looked at the skies and enjoyed a little chit-chat with a close friend. I plan to celebrate the event this year by staying at home, switching off all the lights and playing games on my mobile phone (well it is still energy consuming but at least the lights and other electric appliances are off).
This year, the slogan of Earth Hour is "I will if you will", calling for the society's common efforts in saving energy. But I will turn off the lights even if other people don't.
One hour may not help much, but it's better to do something than never do anything.
Nguyen Thi Hong Dung, Vietnamese, Ha Noi
My friends and I have participated in this campaign since 2010. And I'm looking forward to taking part in the event this Saturday.
In 2010 and 2011, my friends and I disseminated the message of Earth Hour by offering leaflets for students at our university and introduced the campaign via Facebook. Besides turning off non-essential lights and electronic appliances for an hour, we also went for a walk and watched the lights go out.
We bought candles and had a small ceremony lighting them. We each spoke of a wish we had for the Earth. We also played cards and discussed the good things we could do for the planet. Despite some benefits that Earth Hour brings, it also faces many criticisms.
But I think it does raise awareness of sustainability issues. There should be more to it than switching off lights for an hour once a year. I think we should ride bicycles around the city, go for a walk in the park or plant trees as well as turning off the lights. We could also organise activities to get rid of garbage on the streets, on the beaches, in schools, or anywhere we live.
Kim Ki-Young, Korean, HCM City
I support Earth Hour, but I understand why some are against it. It must cost a lot of money to print out all the banners and advertisement and to broadcast programmes about it on TV. And I, too, am not comfortable with people lighting up candles, which results in carbon dioxide emissions.
But the efforts are worthwhile. It's not about switching off lights for an hour, it's about taking some actions to save energy every day. If some criticise the event but still remember to save energy and protect the environment, that's fine.
Dang Thanh Hang, Vietnamese, HCM City
I remember when Earth Hour was first introduced in Viet Nam. People talked about it everywhere. There were articles on newspaper and magazines as well as writing contest revolving around environment issues. There were also makeshift clubs recruiting members to take part in the event.
And when that day came, the streets were crowded with families, lovers and groups of friends going out to enjoy the only night without light in the bustling HCM City. Some cafes, using Earth Hour for their marketing strategy, invited customers to come to enjoy a special candle-lit music night. One of my friends told me she got a romantic love proposal by the glowing candles as the lights were turned off in the Opera House.
To be honest, I have not taken part in Earth Hour in recent years since I feel it's rather superficial and just an excuse for celebration. But maybe I'm just too conservative. As long as we do not go against the original meaning of Earth Hour by increasing toxic emissions with over-use of candles and motorcycles, it's fine to celebrate it. — VNS