"Use 60 minutes of darkness to help the world see the light," urges Ban Ki-moon | WWF
"Use 60 minutes of darkness to help the world see the light," urges Ban Ki-moon

Posted on 25 March 2011

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon leads a host of world and civic leaders supporting Earth Hour 2011 as a powerful symbol of a shared wish for a sustainable and secure future.
New York: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon leads a host of world and civic leaders supporting Earth Hour 2011 as a powerful symbol of a shared wish for a sustainable and secure future.

“All over the world individuals, communities, businesses and governments are creating new examples for our common future – new visions for sustainable living and new technologies to realize it,”  Ban Ki-moon said.

“Tomorrow, let us join together to celebrate this shared quest to protect the planet and ensure human well-being. Let us use 60 minutes of darkness to help the world see the light.”

Messages of support for Earth Hour 2011 have also come from a host of world and civil leaders, including Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, UK Prime Minister David Cameron, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

“Climate change is the greatest human induced crisis facing our world today. It is totally indiscriminate of race, culture, class, nationality or religious belief. It affects every living organism on the planet – including all of us,” Archbishop Emeritus Tutu said.

“Through the symbolic act of switching off our lights for one hour on Saturday 26 March from 8.30 – 9.30pm we will collectively send our clarion call for change around the globe. ‘Please, political leaders and captains of industry, we implore you. Take action against climate change NOW.’”

Hundreds of millions of people in 133 countries and territories across the globe are expected to switch off their lights at 8:30pm local time tomorrow, Saturday 26 March. In a series of video messages posted to YouTube, world leaders have pledged their support for the world’s largest voluntary environmental action.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos invited Colombians to turn off the lights for one hour on Saturday March 26 at 8:30pm, and to take action for the environment every day, every hour.

“We cannot put off any longer saving the planet nor cut back on our efforts to ensure its sustainability,” President Santos said.

“These 60 minutes without lights, between 8:30 and 9:30 at night, will be a symbolic act but also a reminder that every day, every hour in our normal lives we can turn off the lights we don’t need, disconnect those appliances when we’re not using them, save water and think on how to save the planet.

“It will be an hour without lights, but with stars, a lot of stars. One hour for our planet, the first of many.”

UK Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to make the coalition Britain's "greenest-ever government" in the fight against climate change.

"Sharing responsibility holds the key to fighting climate change," Mr Cameron said. "It will be the choices we make as individuals which will mean the difference between success and failure.

"That's what Earth Hour is all about - millions of people all over the world coming together to switch off their lights, tackle climate change and protect our natural world. It is a huge symbol of global solidarity, an inspiring display of international commitment."

Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard has lent her voice to Earth Hour by vowing that she and her government will go beyond the hour by, “doing everything in my power to deliver a carbon price”.

“I believe 2011 is the year Australia will choose action,” Prime Minister Gillard said from Parliament House Canberra, one of the landmarks that will go dark for an hour this Saturday. “Everyone taking part in Earth Hour this year is helping make sure this is so.”

“The simple and powerful idea of switching off lights for an hour to drive action on climate change began in Sydney and has been embraced around the world,” Gillard said. “Earth Hour has become a special symbol of determination of so many people to make a difference.”

-ends-

Notes to editors
Earth Hour 2011 will take place at 8.30pm, Saturday, 26 March, 2011.

Full statements from the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu are included below. Video statements from Julia Gillard, David Cameron and Juan Manuel Santos can be viewed on YouTube:

David Cameron: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5gXXqNlMbA
Julia Gillard: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TM048ag2UZc
Juan Manuel Santos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LaBpF5aH1Cc


THE UN SECRETARY-GENERAL’S MESSAGE FOR EARTH HOUR 2011

Tomorrow, hundreds of millions of people around the world will observe Earth Hour. By switching off their lights for 60 minutes at 8.30 p.m. local time, each of these men, women and children will send a powerful message that they want to change what's happening to our world.

As in previous years, UN communities around the world will take part. Here in New York, all our buildings will go dark – including our main headquarters which is currently closed for renovation.

It is more than half a century since our striking monument to world peace and cooperation rose on the East River. This New York landmark is now receiving a much-needed overhaul. When completed, the new LEED-certified UN Headquarters will use less energy and water, and create less waste. It will be an example of modern sustainable architecture at its best.

All over the world individuals, communities, businesses and governments are creating new examples for our common future – new visions for sustainable living and new technologies to realize it. Tomorrow, let us join together to celebrate this shared quest to protect the planet and ensure human well-being. Let us use 60 minutes of darkness to help the world see the light.


STATEMENT BY ARCHBISHOP EMERITUS DESMOND TUTU

Climate change is the greatest human induced crisis facing our world today. It is totally indiscriminate of race, culture, class, nationality or religious belief. It affects every living organism on the planet – including all of us.

Earth Hour is an opportunity for us to act together, the people united from all corners of the globe to send a powerful message on climate change. Enough is enough! Let us stop the destruction!

Through the symbolic act of switching off our lights for one hour on Saturday 26 March from 8.30 – 9.30pm we will collectively send our clarion call for change around the globe. “Please, political leaders and captains of industry, we implore you. Take action against climate change NOW.”

Later this year South Africa hosts the crucial COP17 climate change conference. Let’s show the world what we can do.

Earth Hour is calling on all of us to “go beyond the hour” and commit to an on-going act to benefit the environment. Each little bit counts. It could be as simple as wearing an extra jersey in winter, rather than switching on a heater. Or boiling just enough water for that cup of hot chocolate, instead of a full kettle. Or planting a tree.

I encourage you all, wherever you are and whatever your means: Switch off your lights and switch on to the meaning of Earth Hour. Join this global call by the people, for the planet.

God bless you.
ENDS

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon makes remarks during the special observance of the International Day of Peace: "Peace - A Climate for Change", at UN Headquarters in New York.
© UN Photo / Evan Schneider