Tens of millions switch off worldwide for ‘Earth Hour’: organisers
SYDNEY (AFP) — Tens of millions of people switched off lightbulbs this weekend as part of a global campaign to throw the spotlight on climate change, organisers of the Australian-led ‘Earth Hour’ initiative said.
From Sydney to Asia, Europe, Canada and the US, “many tens of millions” of people flicked the switch on Saturday night, plunging cities, towns and homes into darkness, chief of environmental group WWF-Australia Greg Bourne said.
The event, which was first held in Sydney last year, saw the lights dimmed in major cities at 8:00 pm local time, with skyscrapers, public monuments and private homes plunged into darkness.
Bourne said the response from around the world had been astounding.
While 26 cities are officially signed up for ‘Earth Hour’, Bourne said the campaign had already stretched well beyond that and that the intention was for the voluntary, 60-minute blackout to be even bigger in 2009.
“In pretty much every country in the world, someone has signed up. Whether it be one, two, three or 3,000 individuals,” he told AFP.
“Basically every continent including Antarctica had some involvement and what I think will happen next year is that we will get deeper and deeper involvement in Asia, in Russia.
“We’re pretty certain, that when we do it next year, China will become very much more involved,” he added.
Earth Hour organisers asked governments, businesses and individuals to switch off the power for one hour on Saturday to save energy and thereby produce fewer greenhouse gases.
Bourne said the campaign was less about making a real reduction in energy usage, and more about increasing public awareness about energy efficiency.
He said indications were that the event had been a success in not only Sydney, where the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House faded into relative darkness, but around the world.
“We had 2.2 million last year; I reckon by the time we finally count it up, we will have about 100 million people involved around the world,” he said.
Energy Australia, which supplies much of Sydney’s electricity, said a drop of about 8.4 percent in energy usage had been recorded in the city during the hour, equivalent to 1.6 million light bulbs being switched off.
A national poll of some 3,400 people taken on Saturday and Sunday indicated that 58 percent of people living in major Australian cities had participated in the event by switching off lights or other appliances.
Meanwhile power consumption in Christchurch, the only New Zealand city participating in the global event, plummeted nearly 13 percent during the voluntary switch-off, figures released Sunday showed.
In Ireland, the initiative was led in the capital by the Dublin City Council, which turned off all non-street lighting on 13 of the 14 bridges in the city. It also turned off all the lights in City Hall and civic buildings.
Cities involved in ‘Earth Hour’ include Aalborg, Aarhus, Adelaide, Atlanta, Bangkok, Brisbane, Canberra, Chicago, Christchurch, Copenhagen, Darwin, Dublin, Hobart, Manila, Melbourne, Montreal, Odense, Ottawa, Perth, Phoenix, San Francisco, Suva, Sydney, Tel Aviv, Toronto and Vancouver.
I’m usually not a joiner, but this is worth it. Bet you can’t guess what I’ll be doing in the dark for an hour.
On March 29, 2008 at 8 p.m., join millions of people around the world in making a statement about climate change by turning off your lights for Earth Hour, an event created by the World Wildlife Fund.
Earth Hour was created by WWF in Sydney, Australia in 2007, and in one year has grown from an event in one city to a global movement. In 2008, millions of people, businesses, governments and civic organizations in nearly 200 cities around the globe will turn out for Earth Hour. More than 100 cities across North America will participate, including the US flagships–Atlanta, Chicago, Phoenix and San Francisco and Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.
We invite everyone throughout North America and around the world to turn off the lights for an hour starting at 8 p.m. (your own local time)–whether at home or at work, with friends and family or solo, in a big city or a small town.
What will you do when the lights are off? We have lots of ideas.
Join people all around the world in showing that you care about our planet and want to play a part in helping to fight climate change. Don’t forget to sign up and let us know you want to join Earth Hour.
One hour, America. Earth Hour. Turn out for Earth Hour!