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Earth Hour 2009 Success

April 1st, 2009 · 1 Comment

Earth Hour 2009 Success

Earth Hour 2009 at the Empire State Building

The official data from the organizer World Wildlife Fund (WWF) isn’t in yet, but by all appearances, Earth Hour 2009, “the world’s first global vote about the future of our planet,” was a resounding success.

Yvo de Boer, the United Nation’s top official on climate change, speaking in Bonn on Sunday, said

I wouldn’t be surprised if that was actually the largest public demonstration that there has ever been on an issue like this.

Climate change experts and government officials from 175 countries held a summit in Bonn last Sunday aimed to reach an agreement to control worldwide emissions of heat-trapping gases exacerbating global warming.

Earth hour last Saturday officially began 8:30 pm local time in the remote Chatham Islands in the Pacific, and marched triumphantly across the globe – time zone after time zone – blanketing huge areas in total darkness.

The goal for this year’s Earth Hour was to encourage 1 billion people to participate and “cast their votes” by turning off unnecessary lights 8:30pm local time last Saturday. It is estimated that this year’s event is far bigger than the celebrations last year where approximately 53 million people in 371 cities in 35 countries participated.

Across the globe, landmark after famous landmark – the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Pyramids in Egypt, St.Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican – went without lights for one full hour last Saturday. The event was celebrated in all continents, including Antarctica, where a scientific research team from New Zealand also turned off unnecessary lights during the event.

Here in the US, famous landmarks like the Empire State Building in New York and Washington, DC’s Capitol Dome, also turned off or dimmed their lights, marking Earth Hour. Millions of residences in the biggest cities across the country – New York, Chicago, Miami, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, to name a few – also went without lights.

The global action last Saturday is perceived by many to be an indication that awareness of climate change and the desire to take action is gaining tremendous momentum throughout the world.

According to US WWF president Carter Roberts:

The true power of Earth Hour can be seen in the tremendous opportunity for individuals, communities, businesses and governments around the world to unite for a common purpose, against a common threat which affects us all. As the world witnessed Saturday night, the simple action of turning off lights can inspire people around the world to take action and to make a serious long-term commitment to living more sustainable lives.

Climate change advocates and other officials see the success of Earth Hour 2009 as a mandate from citizens across the world to their respective governments to actively participate and support global initiatives on climate change.

Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations said:

Earth Hour is the largest demonstration of public concern about climate change ever attempted…a way for citizens of the world to send a clear message they want action on climate change.”

As of this writing, The United States government has not ratified the Kyoto Protocol, an international environmental treaty establishing legally binding commitments of signatory countries for the reduction of greenhouse gases.

Across the web:

Credits:

  • Two photos of the Empire State Building taken one minute apart, at 8:29 PM EST and 8:30 PM EST, March 28, 2009, courtesy of Darren Philip and used under the Creative Commons license – Some Rights Reserved.

Tags: News

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Adjuvant chemotherapy // Apr 1, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    Impressive – unfortunately I only heard about Earth Hour after the fact. But it looks like it’s spread far and wide.