There were celebrations beneath The Kelpies today, as WWF Scotland presented Scottish Canals, in partnership with Falkirk Council and Falkirk Community Trust, the Earth Hour Public Body Runner-Up Award for 2015.
The award recognises the public commitment made to the global WWF Earth Hour movement over the past year. The lights illuminating the internationally-renowned landmarks The Falkirk Wheel and The Kelpies were turned off, helping to put a spotlight on the issues facing the planet and remind us that, together, we have the power to make change happen.
Emilie Devenport of WWF Scotland, disguised as the WWF Panda, presented the award to Dr. Olivia Lassiere, Heritage and Environment Manager, Scottish Canals; Councillor Dr Craig Martin, spokesperson for the Environment, Falkirk Council and Ben Mardall, Team Leader at The Helix, Falkirk Community Trust.
The Falkirk Wheel, connecting the Forth & Clyde and Union Canals, is the world’s only rotating boat lift and one of Scotland’s busiest tourist attractions, welcoming over 600,000 visitors last year. The colossal Kelpies are the world’s largest pair of equine sculptures and stand guard over the new section of the historic Forth & Clyde Canal. They are the centrepieces of The Helix project, driven by a partnership of Falkirk Council and Scottish Canals and supported by the Big Lottery Fund. The Helix is managed by Falkirk Community Trust.
Lang Banks, Director of WWF Scotland, said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be able to recognise Scottish Canals, in partnership with Falkirk Council and Falkirk Community Trust, for all their efforts in support of our annual Earth Hour initiative. This award clearly demonstrates the massive commitment of the organisations to tackling climate change and protecting our brilliant planet. We look forward to working with our award winners again for Earth Hour 2016.’
Over the last decade, WWF’s Earth Hour’s unique display of darkness has become a global phenomenon with hundreds of millions of individuals coming together each year. In 2015, a record-breaking 172 countries and some of world’s most famous buildings including Big Ben, Hong Kong’s skyline and the Sydney Harbour Bridge joined the global celebration. In the UK alone, over 10 million people took part, along with over 4,800 schools, 200 landmarks and thousands of businesses and organisations.
Dr. Olivia Lassiere, Heritage and Environment Manager at Scottish Canals, said: “We are delighted to receive this award, and proud to take part in WWF’s Earth Hour. We’re excited to be involved in such a great and inspiring event, highlighting that everyone can make a difference to help protect our planet – we all have a key role to play.
“Operating the 137 miles of its network presents Scottish Canals with a number of unique environmental opportunities and challenges, and we recently launched a comprehensive environment strategy which outlines our current and ongoing commitment to environmental management. This will play a key role in working towards the Scottish canals acting as catalysts for sustainable development in communities across Scotland.”
Scottish Canals, Falkirk Council and Falkirk Community Trust will again be proud to switch off the lights at The Falkirk Wheel and The Kelpies, from 8.30pm to 9.30pm on Saturday 19 March 2016, joining millions across the world to celebrate WWF’s Earth Hour.
Councillor Dr Craig Martin, spokesperson for the Environment, Falkirk Council, said: “Using the Kelpies is a great way to capture the public’s imagination and encourages them to take part. We’d urge everyone across our communities to join in this great event and celebrate Earth Hour across the planet.”
Falkirk Community Trust are also marking Earth Hour with a unique event – they hope to set a new Guinness World Record for the ‘most people performing a yoga pose outside’ at The Kelpies, at 9pm.
Ian Scott, Chairman of Falkirk Community Trust, said: “We are delighted to be involved in such an innovative approach to celebrating Earth Hour. We are hopeful we will make another entry into the Guinness Book of Records as well as supporting this extremely good cause.”