Use 'Earth Hour,' save planet
From Sydney to Seoul, London to Lima, and Dubai to Davis Station in frozen Antarctica, hundreds of millions of people were expected to switch off their lights yesterday to mark "Earth Hour".
The movement that began in Sydney in 2007 to raise awareness about climate change now brings together people from around the world to turn the lights off for 60 minutes to reduce energy consumption.
"It's an hour in one day of the year," Earth Hour co-founder and executive director Andy Ridley told AFP.
Meanwhile, Australia's Opera House was the first of many global landmarks to go dark yesterday.
"The amount of power that's saved during that time is not really what it's about. What it is meant to be about is showing what can happen when people come together."
Ridley said 134 countries or territories were on board for the event, with many groups expected to use the hour to also pay tribute to Japan which this month suffered a 9.0 magnitude quake and tsunami.
Ridley said hundreds of millions of people took part in 2010 and he was hopeful of the same response this year when landmarks such as the world's tallest building Burj Khalifa in Dubai, Times Square New York, the London Eye and Brazil's Christ the Redeemer statue go dark to mark the hour.
Designed as a symbolic act to make people aware of everyday energy use, Earth Hour has evolved into a global movement, and this year will take place from 8:30pm local time around the world.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged people to celebrate the 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," he said of the event, which kicks off in the Pacific, takes in Fiji, New Zealand and Australia, before rolling to Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas.