On March 28, 2009 at 8:30 p.m. local time, join millions of people around the world in making a statement about climate change by turning off your lights for Earth Hour.
Millions of people worldwide are being urged to switch off lights for an hour, in what is described as the biggest climate change protest ever attempted.
The initiative, Earth Hour, was begun in Sydney two years ago by green campaigners keen to cut energy use.
Correspondents say the aim is to create a huge wave of public pressure to influence a meeting in Copenhagen later this year to seek a new climate treaty.
Critics describe the event as a symbolic and meaningless gesture.
The switch-off is expected to take place in more than 3,400 towns and cities across 88 countries, at 2030 in each local time zone.
Earth Hour was launched in 2007 as a solo event in Sydney, Australia, with more than two million people involved. Last year's event claimed the participation of 370 cities.
Full story [BBC]
EARTH Hour organisers have pleaded with Queenslanders to ensure the battle against climate change is not a one-night wonder.
Tens of thousands of people across the state flicked the switch last night, turning off lights and other electrical appliances to help highlight the threats posed to the planet by global warming.
More than 6000 people and 800 businesses signed up to the event in Brisbane – one of 26 official flagship Earth Hour cities around the world. But many more in the capital and other Australian towns and cities also pulled the plug.
In Sydney, the harbour bridge and its neighbouring Opera House dimmed from flood-lit tourism icons to still-recognisable silhouettes while in Melbourne, icons including Flinders Street Station, Federation Square, Eureka Towers Skydeck and the Rialto Towers were blacked out.
World Wildlife Fund climate change policy manager Kellie Caught said it was a great effort. But the hard work was just beginning.
"Earth Hour is not a one-off event," she said. "Hopefully, it is something that will encourage people to be more conscious about the use of energy on a daily basis."
Read full story [Sunday Mail]
TORONTO -- Millions of people across Canada and around the globe are expected to turn out their lights Saturday evening to raise awareness about pollution and global warming in an initiative known as Earth Hour.
The World Wildlife Fund effort that began in Sydney, Australia last March 29 now appears to have caught the imagination of people in dozens of countries, nowhere more so than in this country.
"This has really just blown up across Canada,'' said Tara Wood, spokeswoman for the fund in Canada.
"Canada is really going to be the shining star in this global effort.''
Initially, the fund's idea was to test the Canadian waters in one city -- Toronto -- to see how the effort should be rolled out in future years. That proved impossible.
"There was no way to control it once people got wind of this really cool lights-out event,'' Wood said.
"It's been truly phenomenal.''
What began as a simple attempt at bringing climate change down to the living-room level has snowballed, burying those who argue Earth Hour is mere tokenism that will do little to cut greenhouse gas emissions or that participating businesses are only interested in their cash registers.
More than 240,000 people and almost 18,000 businesses in countries as far-flung as Botswana, Vietnam and Denmark have all signed up as participants this year via a website groaning under the strain.
But the number of people marking the event that runs from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. local time is expected to be far higher.
About 55,000 Canadians have registered, just behind the United States and ahead of Australia. But 70 per cent of Canadians polled recently said they planned to mark the hour.
Municipalities from Charlottetown and Ottawa to Toronto and Vancouver, from Corner Brook, Nfld., and Melfort, Sask., to Lasalle, Que., and Terrace, B.C., are all recognizing Earth Hour.
In all, about 150 communities across Canada have signed on.
Read full story [CTV]
At 8 p.m. Saturday citizens of Atlanta will join millions of people around the world in turning off nonessential lights for one hour. Earth Hour is a bold statement in support of action on climate change. On this historic evening, the city of Atlanta will demonstrate to the world how, by working together, each of us can begin to make a positive impact on this global issue.
Many will hear about this initiative and question why we are doing it. And while people may disagree about issues involving the environment, this event will at the very least open a dialogue and let us air our opinions for discussions on solutions for environmental problems we face today and in the future.
It also gives us an opportunity to talk with friends, families and co-workers about ways we can work together to conserve energy and natural resources. One of the goals of Earth Hour is to have participants commit to longer-term benefits, such as replacing older lights bulbs throughout their homes with highly efficient compact fluorescents, and to commit to reducing energy consumption on a daily basis.
The United States is the world's leading emitter of carbon dioxide —- more than 20 tons per person every year —- from sectors ranging from energy to agriculture to transportation. While there are many reasons for the U.S. leading in this category —- the size of our economy, goods and services produced, etc. —- efficiency must be a key component of any legitimate climate strategy. Individuals accomplish efficiency, and Earth Hour is a way you can participate.
Read full story [AJC]
The Stiles Corp. will be turning out the lights at its two Orlando properties on Saturday as a part of the World Wildlife Fund's global 2008 Earth Hour.
From 8 to 9 p.m. companies, governments and individuals are being asked to turn off non-essential lighting and appliances to show support for the global climate change movement.
The lights will go out at well-known landmarks, including Sears Tower in Chicago, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and the Bank of America Plaza in Atlanta.
Read full story [Orlando Business Journal]
The average American produces about 20 tons of the major greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) every year. That might sound like a lot — and Americans do have among the biggest carbon footprints in the world — but the entire world emits around 27 billion tons of CO2 each year, through transportation, electricity use, deforestation. Look at those numbers for a moment, and you'll realize there's very little that any of us can do on an individual level to stop climate change. Live like a monk, take away your 20 tons — stop breathing if you'd like — and you'll barely scratch the surface.
It's numbers like those that can make Earth Hour so easy to criticize. Starting at 8 p.m. on Saturday in Christchurch, New Zealand, citizens from around the world will shut off their lights for an hour, to draw attention to the connection between energy use and climate change. From New Zealand, the event will move westward with the sun to Australia, Manila, Dubai, Dublin, New York, Chicago and finally end in San Francisco, where both the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge will go dark for an hour. Earth Hour is being sponsored by the World Wildlife Federation (WWF), and its head Carter Roberts says the global event "will make a statement about our commitment to solve the climate change problem and symbolize the commitment that people will make throughout the rest of the year." (Hear Roberts talk about Earth Hour on this week's Greencast.)
Earth Hour won't suffer for a lack of gimmicks. Servers wearing glow-in-the-dark necklaces will sell eco-tinis at bars and restaurants in Phoenix. A local yoga house in Michigan will offer sessions by lamplight, and the Sheraton Hotel in Chicago will have check-in by candlelight. Watching the lights wink off in major metropolitan areas might look impressive, but it's worth asking: What's the point? As Roberts himself notes, the energy saved by turning off your lights for an hour "won't make an enormous difference." So, if it won't cut carbon emissions, why bother then with Earth Hour, or Earth Day or Earth Live, last year's daylong concert for the environment?
Because climate change is essentially a political problem, and the language of politics is symbolism. Just because an act is symbolic doesn't mean it empty. The only way to truly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to take the pressure off global warming, is an international regime that puts a cap and a price on climate pollution. And the only way that will happen is if politicians around the world become convinced that climate change is an issue that matters to people, one that will make them change the way they live, buy — and vote. "Unlike most of the issues that we grapple with, climate change is global," says Roberts. "The pressure is on us to do the right thing." If shutting off the lights for an hour on Saturday night and doing yoga in the dark makes that political support, well, visible, then Earth Hour will have been worth it.
Read full story [Time]