Earth Hour 2009 setting new records in climate concern

Thursday, February 5, 2009
  • Already twice the participating countries of Earth Hour 2008
  • Archbishop Desmond Tutu leads call for action on climate change
  • Obama artist Shepard Fairey likens flicking switch to climate vote

With eight weeks still to go, citizens, businesses and public authorities in 375 cities across 74 countries have already committed to turning off their lights for one hour at 8.30pm on 28 March in a graphic show of support for decisive action on climate change.

The list of cities confirming their participation in Earth Hour 2009 includes 37 national capitals and some of the great cities of the world, including London, Beijing, Rome, Moscow, Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro, Hong Kong, Dubai, Singapore, Athens, Buenos Aires, Toronto, Sydney, Mexico City, Istanbul, Copenhagen, Manila, Las Vegas, Brussels, Cape Town and Helsinki.

The WWF-sponsored event continues to show amazing momentum, from being a Sydney, Australia awareness-raising event in 2007, to the astounding 371 cities across 35 countries total last year. As participation for Earth Hour 2009 storms past this level of municipal involvement in more than twice the number of countries, discussions are under way or nearing completion in hundreds of other cities.

WWF Director General, Mr James Leape, said he is optimistic about the campaign’s potential to drive key decision making on the issue of climate change.

“With hundreds more cities expected to sign up to switch off in the coming months, Earth Hour 2009 is setting the platform for an unprecedented global mandate for action on climate change,” he said.

Along with the great metropolises of the world, Earth Hour 2009 will also see the lights go out on some of the most recognised landmarks on the planet, including Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Table Mountain in Cape Town, Merlion in Singapore, Sydney Opera House, CN Tower in Toronto, Millennium Stadium in Cardiff and the world’s tallest constructed building Taipei 101.

A host of high profile ambassadors across the world have also lent their support to the campaign, most notably Nobel Peace Prize recipient Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Academy Award-winning actress Cate Blanchett.

Shepard Fairey, the artist noted for his graphic portrayals of Barack Obama during the recent US Presidential Election, has likened flicking the switch to casting a vote on climate change in artwork for the Earth Hour campaign.

Earth Hour Executive Director, Mr Andy Ridley, said the 2009 campaign as an opportunity for the people of the world to cast their vote on this important global issue.

"Earth Hour by its very nature is the essence of grassroots action. This is the opportunity for individuals, from all corners of the globe to unite in a single voice and demand action on climate change”, said Mr Ridley.

2009 is a critical year for action on climate change, with the world’s leaders due to meet at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December to sign a new deal to supersede the Kyoto Protocol.