Giovanni TrapattoniGoogle Images

Irish soccer fans have been presented with a tough choice for Saturday night – save the planet or save the European Championship dream!

Giovanni Trapattoni’s Ireland side take on Macedonia in a vital Euro qualifier in Dublin smack, bang in the middle of International Earth Hour.

Environmentalists have appealed to Irish consumers to switch off all electricity for an hour on Saturday night to join global demonstrations showing concern for the environment.

But Irish organizers have admitted that the big soccer match at the Aviva Stadium – floodlit by the way – could throw a major spanner in their works with up to a million expected to watch the game on television.

“We think many people will probably not turn off the TV for the match, but they may like to make some gesture, turn off all other lights, electrical equipment in the house,” said celebrity builder and environmentalist Duncan Stewart.

“We also ask that people turn off their lights and walk out of their homes and communicate with everyone else on our streets – even in country areas – to show we care about the environment.
“The hour is largely symbolic. For me it means that once a year, for one hour, we celebrate our environment and the need to protect our environment.”

The new Irish government is supporting the International Earth Hour campaign on Saturday.

Government Buildings and Leinster House, the Custom House and the Four Courts will go dark for Earth Hour while six cyclists will power an open-air cinema in Dublin at the top of South King Street.

Tony Lowes of Irish Earth Hour co-ordinators Friends of the Irish Environment said: “In 2010, hundreds of millions of people across the world took part in Earth Hour, but switching off the lights was only the beginning.

“This year Earth Hour asks people to commit to an action, big or small, that they will sustain for the future of the planet.”