Earth Hour Finds a Sweet New Groove in Desaru Coast

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The Earth Hour initiative, which began in a single city in 2007, now serves as a global call to action.

Earth Hour began as a single-city initiative in Sydney, Australia back in 2007 and has since grown into an impressive global movement for the environment with millions of people participating in over 188 countries and 18,000 participating landmarks. It is a global call to action to every individual, business, and government throughout the world to shine a light on climate change and biodiversity loss, making it relevant to people by highlighting the consequences and encouraging action. It’s a call to take responsibility for our environmental impact and join a growing international community who is committed to leading global environmental change.

Tamarind seeds for planting offered to guests at Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast

One of the more prominent industries to embrace Earth Hour is the travel and hospitality sector. All across the world, for one hour – from 8:30 to 9:30pm local time – many hotels, resorts, and tourist attractions go dark, at least in their public spaces! It’s a nice gesture resulting in a bit of energy savings and an increased awareness among guests and staff.

But for some properties, it goes beyond that. One brand had it baked in to their ethos right from the start. Hard Rock International – a truly global venture with hotels, shops, casinos, and of course the iconic Hard Rock Cafe outlets located in 69 countries – adopted the motto “Save the Planet” as part of the brand’s identity upon its founding in 1971. Hard Rock works to improve lives, help communities, and sustain the earth, infusing the power of music into everything they do. 

Save the Planet… everyone’s efforts matter!

Here in Malaysia, the brand can be found represented by hotels and cafes from nearly one end of the Peninsula to the other, from the sandy shores of Batu Ferringhi in Penang, to Kuala Lumpur, down to Melaka, and to the sprawling resort destination of Desaru, Johor.

On Saturday, March 27, they all participated in Earth Hour. The Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast was among all of the world’s Hard Rock Hotel locations joining millions of people across the globe in turning off the lights for the 2021 Earth Hour movement, illuminating a powerful message about environmental awareness and action.

Pledging to do their part

The Hard Rock Hotel in Desaru scheduled an impressive slate of activities for guests covering the whole weekend of Earth Hour (March 27-28), but beyond that, this hotel puts the ideas and challenges of Earth Hour into real practice… and they do it year-round.

Taking its cue from the brand’s pillars of music and philanthropy, this year’s hotel tagline ‘Raise Your Voice for Nature’ will see a different perspective where guests will be creating innovative music with recycled materials. All adults and children are invited to become eco-rock stars by learning to make rhythmic sounds with their recycled or upcycled instruments.

Groove to the Green Beat workshop, using recycled or repurposed ‘instruments’

In addition to music, a range of environmentally friendly activities will be offered to guests, including energy-saving measures, tech-free activities, and nature experiences. Guests are also invited to plant a bay leaf tree at the lovely Riverside Walk by the hotel, which holds significance to birds who can come to feed when the tree bears fruits. In the process, the birds also help disperse the seeds to enrich the ecosystem.

A freshly planted bay leaf tree sapling

Such support can only be sustained by businesses with leaders who really believe in the philosophy, which is most definitely the case with South African-born General Manager Murray Aitken, who cites Hard Rock’s eco-minded brand ethos as a principal reason he joined the company.

“It’s a privilege to support such a powerful movement with simple strides to keep our commitment to ‘Save the Planet’, while moving forward with more sustainable initiatives that will make a big difference within our community,” Mr Aitken explained, adding that it’s great to observe an hour of environmental awareness, but the real goal is to change people’s mindsets and habits through educational campaigns and responsible, meaningful initiatives.

General Manager Murray Aitken fully supports the hotel’s eco-initiatives

One such initiative that is highly visible at the hotel is its conspicuous absence of plastic water bottles. According to Mr Aitken, the hotel has saved a total of 2,706,230 bottles through its removal of single-use plastic water bottles from its rooms. The typical plastic bottles were replaced with stainless steel water flasks, which guests can refill from 25 water dispensers around the hotel, with most of the hotel’s 365 rooms offering a dispenser just steps away.

That’s a truly stunning accomplishment that really didn’t take a huge effort – just the desire and the will to make a positive change. Again: over 2.7 million plastic bottles, kept out of landfills, streams, and our planet’s oceans.

Refillable stainless steel bottles are sterilised and reused. This single dispenser has prevented nearly 67,000 plastic water bottles from entering the ecosystem.

If every hotel in the world enacted measures like this, what a huge impact it would make! It’s encouraging to see more hotels and resorts moving away from tiny disposable bathroom amenities and single-use plastic bottles; every little bit helps! We applaud Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast for taking small steps and making a big difference.

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