Earth Hour Clocks Global Success
The worldwide event to call attention to climate change puts up its strongest numbers in the three-year history of Earth Hour. From the remote Chatham Islands in the southern Pacific Ocean to Sydney's Opera House to the Eiffel Tower to the Empire State Building to Seattle's Space Needle, lights dimmed for 1 hour in a symbolic call to change the Kyoto Protocol.It began over the remote Chatham Islands in the southern Pacific Ocean and from there-time zone by time zone-Earth Hour 2009 marched around the globe March 28, with hundreds of cities and communities and millions of individuals dimming their lights to call attention to climate change. In all, nearly 1,000 global landmarks went dark for an hour, including New York's Empire State Building, Paris' Eiffel Tower, the dome of St. Peters in the Vatican and the Christ the Redeemer statue on Mount Corcovado overlooking the city of Rio de Janeiro.
While Earth Hour sponsor World Wildlife Foundation did not have all the data yet, it predicted that participation in the third annual event exceeded 2008, when some 53 million people in 371 cities in 35 countries participated. The 2007 inaugural Earth Hour was limited to Sydney, Australia.
WWF officials called Earth Hour, "The world's first-ever global vote about the future of our planet." Yvo de Boer, the United Nations' top climate change official, said Earth Hour marked a global momentum to seek climate change mandates in the Kyoto Protocol, including controlling heat emissions. World leaders are scheduled to meet in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December to hammer out more climate change controls.
"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," said U.S. WWF President and CEO Carter Roberts. "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."
City after city in the United States dimmed their lights as Earth Hour moved across the continent. Joining the Empire State Building in New York was the iconic Chrysler Building. Even some neon signs in New York's Times Square and Broadway's theater dimmed their lights. Across the river in New Jersey, the lights went down for an hour at Thomas Edison's laboratory in West Orange.
In Washington, where climate change advocates have high hopes for the Obama administration's position on climate change, the Capitol Dome darkened as organizers held a candle-light procession.
On and on it went, with Chicago; Dallas; Houston; Las Vegas; Miami, Fla.; Nashville, Tenn.; Salt Lake City, St. Louis; and Tucson, Ariz., all marking Earth Hour. On the West Coast, the Space Needle in Seattle and the Santa Monica Pier & Ferris Wheel and Nokia Plaza in Los Angeles dimmed their lights.
Earlier, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had described WWF's Earth Hour as "the largest demonstration of public concern about climate change ever attempted."
"Earth Hour is a way for the citizens of the world to send a clear message they want action on climate change," said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. "[Earth Hour is] the largest demonstration of public concern about climate change ever attempted."
BlackBerry manufacturer Research In Motion launched a special Website, accessible only through certain BlackBerry devices, supporting Earth Hour. Owners of the BlackBerry Bold, Storm, Curve, Curve 8900, Curve 8800 and Pearl smartphones were able to access the site, which allowed users to access the latest news and videos about Earth Hour.