WASHINGTON, December 18, 2007 - WWF today announced the official launch of Earth Hour, a global initiative in which cities and communities will turn out their lights to symbolize their leadership and commitment to finding solutions for climate change.
Cities from across Europe, North America, Asia and Asia Pacific, including Chicago, Copenhagen, Manila, Melbourne, Portland, Sydney, Tel Aviv and Toronto were named the flagship participants in the WWF-led event taking place on March 29, 2008, with more cities expected to join in the days ahead.
"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," said WWF Director General James Leape.
"During Earth Hour, governments, businesses, community leaders and individuals will be turning out their lights and switching on their support for actions that can help make a difference in the most significant challenge facing the world today. While we expect the government leaders here in Bali to make courageous decisions that are needed to save our planet, Earth Hour reminds us that each of us can be part of the solution to climate change," Leape said.
WWF's inaugural Earth Hour took place in Sydney, Australia in March this year with more than 2.2 million people participating in an effort that darkened such iconic structures as the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge and resulted in a 10 percent drop in energy usage - double what had been predicted.
"Earth Hour is an opportunity for individuals, governments, businesses and communities around the world to unite for a common purpose, against a common threat that affects us all," said Carter Roberts, president and CEO of WWF-United States. "Think how we spend the more than 8,700 hours that make up a year. Turning off the lights for just one hour shows we can adjust the way we lead our lives; we can make the small sacrifices necessary to stabilize our climate before it's too late."
"An important part of Chicago's efforts to be the most environmentally-friendly city in the world is to understand the effects of climate change on our city. Programs like Earth Hour 2008 remind us that we all share the responsibility for global warming, and we all can be part of the solution," said Chicago's Mayor Richard M. Daley.
"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," Leape said. "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."
For more information about Earth Hour 2008, visit www.earthhour.org.
Mayors from other flagship cities issued the following statements in support of the event:
Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of Sydney (Australia)
"In March 2007, 2.2 million Sydneysiders began the Earth Hour journey, and now it is time to take Earth Hour to the rest of the world," said Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore, urging her fellow mayors throughout the world to join the Earth Hour initiative. "From rural towns in the outback to highly populated iconic cities - everyone can take simple steps to make Earth Hour happen."
Ritt Bjerregaard, Lord Mayor of Copenhagen (Denmark)
"It is very important to give a signal to people that you can make a difference and help us to shut down the lights to reduce the amount of CO2. In Copenhagen, people will be thinking about climate change and how they can help the situation. I hope that all cities, all over the world will be part of it. Our cities inhabitants take climate change seriously. Maybe there are a few politicians who are not taking it seriously and who are not willing to go into a different type of agreement, but our citizens are serious and will show them on the day."
John So, Lord Mayor of Melbourne (Australia)
"I am proud to announce that the City of Melbourne will join Sydney and Brisbane in the fight against global warming, by being part of Earth Hour in 2008. One small contribution from each and every person is a pledge to reduce emissions by five per cent. That is the message of Earth Hour. I urge the people of Melbourne to get behind Earth Hour and let the world know Melbourne is serious about being an environmentally responsible city."
David Miller, Mayor of Toronto (Canada)
"I am proud to announce that the city of Toronto will continue our fight against global warming by being part of Earth Hour in 2008. Every resident, every business and every government has a duty to fight global warming because reducing the world emissions is a shared responsibility. I believe where nations fail to lead, cities can and must lead. In the city of Toronto we have very aggressive goals to reduce global warming and stop climate change. The Earth Hour project is a very exciting way to raise awareness of this critical issue. I encourage all Torontonians at 8pm on March 29 to turn off their lights. Because we all know that changes to everyday behaviors is the only way we can succeed."
List of Cities Participating in Earth Hour (as of December 18, 2007):
- Aalborg, Denmark
- Aarhus, Denmark
- Brisbane, Australia
- Canberra, Australia
- Chicago, IL USA
- Copenhagen, Denmark
- Manila, Philippines
- Melbourne, Australia
- Odense, Denmark
- Portland, OR USA
- Suva, Fiji
- Sydney, Australia
- Tel Aviv, Israel
- Toronto, Canada