Earth Hour is all about the simple changes everyone can make. Run by WWF, the global conservation organization, Earth Hour was initiated in Australia on March 31, 2007. Earth Hour moved 2.2 million people and 2,100 businesses in Sydney to turn off their lights for one hour.
This collective effort reduced the city's energy consumption by 10.2 percent for one hour, which is the equivalent effect of taking 48,000 cars off the road for an hour.
With Sydney icons like the Harbour Bridge and Opera House turning their lights off and unique events such as weddings by candlelight, the world took notice.
This year Earth Hour is going global.
Andy Ridley, executive director for Earth Hour said, "Powering down a city's skyline and some of the world's most iconic structures and premier properties is a highly calculated and intricate process, and allowances need to be made to account for safety."
The Smith Family enjoys Earth Hour 2007 under the Sydney Harbour Bridge at Milson's Point. (Photo by Jamie Williams)
"On behalf of the WWF International network, I want to commend and thank the mayors and officials in our flagship cities for playing a leadership role in supporting this unique global event and demonstrating their commitment to fighting climate change," says WWF Director General James Leape, praising mayors in the all the cities that have signed up to go dark for Earth Hour.
Some of the Earth Hour flagship cities are - Atlanta, San Francisco, Phoenix, Bangkok, Ottawa, Vancouver, Montreal, Dublin, Sydney, Perth, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, Adelaide, Copenhagen, Aarhus, Aalborg, Odense, Manila, Suva, Chicago, Tel Aviv, Toronto and Christchurch. They all will switch off for Earth Hour on Saturday March 29, at 8 pm local time.
From Sydney's Harbour Bridge and Opera House to San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, world famous skylines will disappear for one hour - Earth Hour. Among those switching off will be the tallest building in North America, the 110 story high Sears Tower in Chicago, and the CN Tower in Toronto.
In the Philippines, Pasay City Mayor Wenceslao Trinidad agreed to turn off all lights along Manila's historic Roxas Boulevard seaside strip to show support.
Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore told a breakfast of corporate leaders March 11, "Earth Hour started in Sydney, it's now gone global, and it has firmly established Sydney's credentials as a green leader."
"Earth Hour resonated strongly with our sustainability agenda," said Mayor Moore. "The Stern Report and Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth helped thrust the issue of climate change very much to the forefront of public consciousness, and we saw Earth Hour as an event which could really galvanize action right across the community."
"We saw it as much more than a one off event, and much more than mere symbolism," the mayor said. "We thought it offered a real opportunity to change people's thinking and generate long term behavior changes."
The mayor is encouraging all City of Sydney tenants and residents to take action and make every hour Earth Hour by reducing energy consumption in their day-to-day activities.
In support of Earth Hour, more than 3,500 businesses across Australia and internationally have so far signed up and will be doing their part and turning off their lights. McDonald's Australia has committed to turning off its Golden Arches nationally. David Jones will turn off the lights in its 36 department stores.
Says Leape, "Earth Hour will send a strong signal that people all around the world are deeply concerned and expect their leaders to take action before it's too late. Climate change is a global challenge that requires global solutions and it's clear that the people of this planet are ready to get involved and find the answers."
Sign up for Earth Hour at: www.earthhour.org.
Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2008. All rights reserved.