On Saturday, March 31st, millions of people around the globe -- 135 countries and territories across every continent -- will observe Earth Hour 2012 responding to a growing international movement of positive change in environmental attitudes.
Indigenous peoples have long been characterized by their love of nature. “Today’s concern about environmentalism and conservation are inspired by views which were, and still are, hallmarks of Native American life,” according to the official website of the American Indian Heritage Foundation.
Ironic to discover then that despite the Native American mantra that focuses around respect for nature, that only one tribally-owned facility has indicated it will join iconic sites like Buckingham Palace, the Eiffel Tower, and the Golden Gate Bridge in the worlds’ largest display of environmental action.
When the lights go down over Arizona’s Sonoran Desert that evening, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa tribally-owned Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort (a GeoGreen Resort) will be the only known Indian Country location to participate.
“The resort will turn down interior and exterior lighting and turn on an evening of celebration by pausing to cherish the Earth’s precious resources and taking a public stand for global sustainability. We’re proud to cast our vote for action on climate change,” said resort spokeswoman Stephanie Heckathorne.
Earth-friendly events range from the resort’s team of Adventure Club specialists and volunteers from the Arizona Science Center conducting hands-on activities for fun-lovers of all ages to learning about the universe via two state-of-the-art astronomy club telescopes.
Tribal member Tim Terry, Earth Hour’s Storytelling Artisan, will conduct a bonfire storytelling session titled "Jevad" ("Earth" in the Pima language) discussing his Indian community’s respect for the environment. “This program continues to surpass expectations as we share our culture with guests while imparting a message about caring for Mother Earth,” he says.
Adds Heckathorne: “These collective efforts are becoming meaningful as more and more supporters take a stand. One hour with the lights off won’t stop glaciers from melting, but it will help spread the message that we need to protect our Earth.”