Light up for Japan
Singapore, 6th April 2011
I read today about the initiative organised by the owners of the Empire State Building in New York. In support to Japan they approached a number of other world renowned sky scrapers to light up their building in the colours of the Japanese flag (red and white) to create more awareness of the plight of the Japanese following the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit the northern part of the country. I think we have all seen the images….the nuclear crisis that followed has not made things easier. Even more it makes us really think whether we need this kind of power generation in the future. I am not a supporter of nuclear energy and what is happening now in Japan seems to support the thought that we should look at other more sustainable (and environmentally friendly) ways for our energy needs!
There is an irony to the initiative. While well meant, the initiative is one that requires energy(lighting up the building), while right now, to my understanding, one third of Japan’s energy has been cut because of the nuclear crisis. It is anticipated that nearly double the energy capacity will be needed this summer. Right now the Japanese exercise constraint like Japanese can, with most non-essential lights and energy consuming equipment switched of, a sort of Japan Earth Hour++. I am sure that this tragic event is going to influence our future way of thinking about lighting and the use of energy in general. We as lighting designers certainly should take this to heart. I know we all do it as part of our professional ethics, but this kind of tragedies somehow put our focus right back to the essential issues concerning energy and its use…read waste.
From m information the buildings around Asia that participated in the event held earlier in the week, were the Macau Tower, the Menara Kuala Lumpur, the Namsam Tower, Seoul, the CN Tower ,Toronto, the Olympic Tower, Montreal and the Sky Tower, Auckland.
In Light Watch today I guess it would be appropriate to high light one of the grand dames of sky-scraper world the Empire State building. I had the occasion to visit the building a couple of years ago. Of course no visit is complete for us without a night time visit to the top!