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Pennsylvania, California, Arkansas Sign on as First Earth Hour States

State Capitol Domes to go Dark in Harrisburg, Little Rock

WASHINGTON, March 26, 2009 – Pennsylvania, California and Arkansas have joined the Earth Hour movement, becoming the first US states to pledge support for the global climate change event in which hundreds of millions of people around the world will turn off their lights this Saturday for one hour, at 8:30 pm, to cast a powerful, visual vote for action on climate change. 

Earlier today, the State of Arkansas announced it will be turning off the lights on the state capitol dome and the governor’s mansion in Little Rock for Earth Hour.  The dome on Pennsylvania’s capitol building in Harrisburg will also be going dark.

“Earth Hour is a symbolic event that demonstrates that everyone in every country must play a role in addressing the critical issue of climate change,” said Dr. Richard Moss, vice president for climate change at World Wildlife Fund, which is organizing Earth Hour.  “As state governments join with cities, national governments, international bodies, businesses and individual citizens to turn out the lights for Earth Hour, it symbolizes that action will be required at all levels – from local to global – to solve the climate crisis.”

Last Wednesday, March 18, Pennsylvania became the first Earth Hour state when its House of Representatives passed a resolution declaring 8:30 to 9:30 pm on Saturday, March 28, as “Earth Hour” in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  The California legislature followed suit this week with passage of an Earth Hour resolution on Monday.  In both states, the legislatures urged residents, businesses and state employees to participate in Earth Hour by turning off all non-essential lighting on homes, businesses and state buildings for the hour.

Pennsylvania State Representative Tim Briggs, who introduced his state’s Earth Hour resolution, said: “Fighting global warming will take a concerted effort at every level, from the family who separates out its recycling each week to the federal government working to cut carbon emissions nationwide.  We are all in this together and I’m proud that Pennsylvania continues to be a leader in the green movement.”

“By promoting the worldwide event and calling on all Californians to participate, we can further contribute to reducing greenhouse gases and help bring awareness to over 35 million Californians on how they can contribute to fighting global warming,” said California State Senator Patricia Wiggins (D), the sponsor of the California Earth Hour resolution. “I encourage everyone to join me in this effort and do all you can to promote this important, worldwide event.”

“We know that turning out the lights for one hour will not solve the climate change crisis,” said Moss.  “Earth Hour is a symbolic event, but symbols have played an important role in the political history of our country – from the Boston tea party to Dr. Martin Luther King’s march on Selma.  We hope that the symbolism of Earth Hour will likewise motive people to act.”

More than 2,600 cities in over 80 countries, including more than 220 cities in the US, will be participating in Earth Hour on Saturday.  Key landmarks going dark for the event include the National Cathedral in Washington, Broadway, Las Vegas strip, Niagara Falls, Empire State Building, Eiffel Tower and Elysee Palace in Paris, the Great Pyramids and Sphinx in Egypt, London Eye, and Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur.

 

About World Wildlife Fund and Earth Hour

Earth Hour (www.EarthHourUS.org) is a global initiative of WWF in which millions of people around the world will cast a vote in favor of action on climate change by turning off their lights for one hour on March 28, 2009 at 8:30 pm local time. By voting with their light switches, Earth Hour participants will send a powerful, visual message to their leaders demanding immediate action on climate change. WWF is the world’s leading conservation organization, working in 100 countries for nearly half a century. With the support of almost 5 million members worldwide, WWF is dedicated to delivering science-based solutions to preserve the diversity and abundance of life on Earth, stop the degradation of the environment and combat climate change. Visit www.worldwildlife.org to learn more.