Later today, more than 70 countries around the world will observe Earth Hour. For 60 minutes, starting at 8:30 p.m. local time, about 1 billion people will turn off the lights around the world. Earth Hour 2009, sponsored by the WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature/World Wildlife Fund), will be observed in more than 2000 cities around the globe.
The purpose for the “rolling blackout,” if you will, is to raise awareness about global climate change. Earth Hour has been an annual event, falling on the last Saturday of March, for the past several years. This year, the UN will be going dark during Earth Hour, joining many other structures around the world that did so last year:
“Earth Hour 2008 was celebrated on all seven continents. Iconic landmarks all around the world turned off their non-essential lighting for Earth Hour which included the Empire State Building (New York City), Sears Tower (Chicago), Golden Gate Bridge (San Francisco), Bank of America Plaza (Atlanta), Sydney Opera House (Sydney, Australia), Wat Arun Buddhist Temple (Bangkok, Thailand), the Colosseum (Rome, Italy), Royal Castle (Stockholm, Sweden), London’s City Hall (England), Space Needle (Seattle, USA), the CN Tower (Toronto, Canada) and SM Mall of Asia & SM Science Discovery Center (Manila, Philippines).”
We’re publishing this post early on Saturday to get a head start on the global movement that was “born” in Sydney, Australia just 2 years ago. If you are on Twitter, we encourage you to post your activities with the tag #earthhour and/or #voteearth, so that WWF can properly account for the movement.
The estimates on the savings of energy and greenhouse gas emissions resulting from Earth Hour observations vary. Even the most conservative among them are impressive, however. As reported on Wikipedia:
“The best result was from Christchurch, New Zealand. The city reported a drop of 13% in electricity demand. Melbourne, Australia saved 10.1% of electricity. Sydney, being the city that participated both 2007 and 2008 Earth Hour, cut 8.4% electricity consumption. This is less than last year’s 10.2%, however Earth Hour executive director Andy Ridley made the claim that after factoring margin of error, the participation in this city is the same as last year. “
In my humble opinion, any time you have a billion people turning off non-essential electricity for an hour, its bound to make a positive difference. Now, if we could only implement this effort more often!
Have you set your clocks for Earth Hour yet? Time may be short, but its not running out yet!