WASHINGTON, December 10, 2008–World Wildlife Fund today officially kicked off Earth Hour 2009 announcing that Chicago, Homer Glen, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, and San Francisco would lead the list of U.S. cities committing to go dark for one hour on March 28, 2009 at 8:30 p.m., uniting with tens of millions of citizens, businesses and government officials from all corners of the world in a call for global action on climate change.
From Amman to Warsaw, the skylines of 74 cities in 62 countries will go dark for one hour as individuals, businesses, government buildings, schools and major landmarks turn off non-essential lighting in what will be the largest climate event in history. The list of participating cities includes Auckland, Cape Town, Copenhagen, Dubai, Helsinki, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Kuala Lumpur, Lisbon, London, Manila, Mexico City, Moscow, Oslo, Rome, Singapore, Sydney, Tel Aviv and Toronto, with more expected to sign on in the weeks ahead.
WWF officials said Earth Hour will seek to reach more than a billion people across a thousand cities.
“As lights go out in cities around the U.S. and the world on March 28th, Earth Hour will provide world leaders with an unmistakable mandate to negotiate a new international climate change agreement,” said WWF President and CEO Carter Roberts. “The climate crisis threatens the ability of our planet to support its inhabitants, and it has never been more urgent that the voice of the people be heard on this issue. Earth Hour not only focuses global attention on the need to find solutions to climate change, but demonstrates the power that each of us has to make a difference in the future of our planet.”
WWF is working closely with its flagship city mayors and top local officials to ensure the impact of Earth Hour 2009 goes far beyond the initial 60 minutes of awareness, contributing to substantial, long-term action against climate change.
“We are proud to be a flagship city for Earth Hour 2009,” said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “We cannot afford to ignore the impacts of climate change. The simple act of turning off the lights is a powerful symbol of our commitment to fight global warming. I’ll be turning off the lights in my own home and I encourage everyone to do the same.”
Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman and Clark County Commission Chairman Rory Reid, whose district includes the famously bright lights of the Las Vegas strip, expressed their joint commitment to dimming the lights for Earth Hour next March.
“I’m encouraging all our casinos and two million residents to dim their lights in support of Earth Hour…to be part of the solution,” said Chairman Reid.
“We hope that Las Vegas will serve as an example of sustainability for the 40 million visitors who pass through our great city each year, and for millions more around the world,” said Mayor Goodman.
“Earth Hour provides a chance for everyone in Nashville to come together at one specific time and make a statement about how serious the issue of climate change is and how now is the time to take action to address it,” said Nashville Mayor Karl Dean in reaffirming his city’s participation in the historic event.
"A true global movement, Earth Hour makes us aware that climate change is the single most serious threat to the ecosystems of this city, the country, and the entire world," said, Marcelo Ebrard, Governor of Mexico City. "The only city in the country with a climate action program is Mexico City. It is our mission to provide a good quality of life for Mexico City's nine million citizens not only for today, but for future generations."
During Earth Hour 2008 on March 29 more than 50 million people in 400 cities on all seven continents turned off their lights as major icons also went dark, including the Sydney Opera House, Bangkok’s Wat Arun Buddhist temple, the Coliseum in Rome, Stockholm’s Royal Castle, London’s City Hall, New York’s Empire State Building, Sears Tower in Chicago and the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Corporations also showed their support, with the Coca-Cola billboard in Times Square going dark and Google turning its homepage black for an entire day in tribute.
In 2009, WWF will also welcome back several flagship cities that participated in 2008—the inaugural year of Earth Hour USA. These include Chicago, Homer Glen, IL, representing small towns in America, and San Francisco.
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom said his city was looking forward to being part of Earth Hour in 2009, after the success of the event in 2008. “It was remarkable to see how, by working together, government, businesses and individuals could make a real difference through the very simple act of turning out their lights,” said Mayor Newsom. “We look forward to making Earth Hour 2009 an even greater success.”
Esurance will again serve as a national partner for Earth Hour.