East meets West for Earth Hour in over 500 cities

Posted on 19 February 2009

The global call to action on climate change has been answered from east to west as a record 538 cities and towns in 75 countries sign up to turn their lights off at 8.30pm on 28 March for Earth Hour 2009.
  • Number of cities and towns signed up to Earth Hour 2009 exceeds 500
  • 75 countries now committed
  • Global brands pledge support for the lights-out campaign

The global call to action on climate change has been answered from east to west as a record 538 cities and towns in 75 countries sign up to turn their lights off at 8.30pm on 28 March for Earth Hour 2009.

East meets west for Earth Hour as icons such as the Merlion in Singapore, Hong Kong’s Symphony of Lights and the Shanghai Hong Kong New World Tower, unite with some of the Western world’s most famous landmarks, including Paris’ Eiffel Tower, Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Sydney’s Opera House, Table Mountain in Cape Town, CN Tower in Toronto and Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Casino, to go dark.

Earth Hour Executive Director Andy Ridley said the global growth in support for Earth Hour has been phenomenal.

“In 2007, Earth Hour was held in one city, Sydney. A year later, the number of cities had skyrocketed to 371. With six weeks to go before Earth Hour 2009 we are well over the half-way mark towards our goal of 1,000 cities and towns.

“Earth Hour is bringing together the diverse peoples of the world in a truly universal and unifying way. From Auckland to Hawaii and Cape Town to St Petersburg, people are coming together to vote with their light switch for action on climate change,” said Mr Ridley.

As the campaign continues to gather pace, some of the world’s best known brands are leading the call for action from the business community.

“The business community has an incredible ability and responsibility to engage employees, customers and suppliers to create a sustainable future for our planet,” Mr Ridley said.

HSBC is supporting Earth Hour by pledging to turn off lights in offices in 33 countries around the globe. Swedish furniture giant IKEA is running Earth Hour awareness campaigns in its stores, not only in its home country but as far away as China.

Global leader in commercial real estate services, CB Richard Ellis, is encouraging lights-out participation in the more than 2.0 billion square feet of buildings it manages in more than 50 countries. Leading professional services firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers, is providing consultants across Asia Pacific and other territories.

Boutique companies are getting involved in creative ways, such as luxury travel business Abercrombie & Kent, which will be ensuring Earth Hour is celebrated in some of the most remote parts of Africa, including on wildlife reserves and on the Nile.

“With the support of businesses, countries and citizens globally, Earth Hour 2009 can reach out to one billion people voting with their light switch on 28 March for action on climate change,” said Mr Ridley.

--ends--

Notes to editors:
• B-roll and Earth Hour still images can be found at www.earthhour.org/mediacentre
• Please refer to backgrounder for a full list of cities and icons already committed to Earth Hour 2009

For more information please contact:

Andrew Sedger
Earth Hour Global
T: +61 2 8202 1224 / M: +61 (0) 438 387 792
E: asedger@wwf.org.au

Billy Gentle
Earth Hour Global
T: +61 2 8202 1243/ M: +61 (0) 410 161 789
E: bgentle@wwf.org.au


About Earth Hour
Earth Hour is a global WWF climate change initiative. Individuals, businesses, governments and communities are invited to turn out their lights for one hour on Saturday March 28, 2009 at 8:30 PM to show their support for action on climate change. The event began in Sydney in 2007, when 2 million people switched off their lights. In 2008, more than 50 million people around the globe participated. In 2009, Earth Hour aims to reach out to 1 billion people in 1,000 cities.
A 15m high inflatable bucket with water running from a tab, which WWF-Brazil's Freshwater team managed to place in front of the world famous "Christ the Redeemer" statue high above Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on World Environment Day, 5 June 2005.
© WWF / WWF-Brazil/Adriana Lorete