Saturday, March 28, 2009

earth hour 2009

it's Earth Hour 2009.

for those of you who don't know, Earth Hour is an event started by Sydney, Australia in 2007 and is growing into a global phenomenon. Earth Hour asks that on March 28 of every year, at 8:30pm local time, people switch off their lights for 1 hour. the purpose is to spread the message of action on climate change, and to raise awareness of the issue around the world.

for 2009, the ulterior hope is that it will alert world leaders about the global scale of concern regarding climate change, and pressure them to produce substantive, productive policy as they prepare for the U.N. Climate Change Conference scheduled for December 7-18 of this year in Copenhagen (reference:

when first observed in 2007, Earth Hour had approximately 2.2 million participants in and around the Sydney area. in 2008, it reached out to involve an estimated 50 million people drawn from the full international community, including 400 cities such as Rome, New York, and San Francisco. for 2009, the goal is to expand the effort in an exponential leap and enlist 1 billion people to support the message.

you can learn more from the organization's web page:
there's also a Youtube channel:
just to show you how big this event has become, there is a formal video speech made by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon that i think is useful:

Earth Hour hasn't gotten much news attention in the U.S.--at least, it hasn't in the L.A. area (go of the most environmentally UN-friendly cities in America), but i managed to get notice of the 2009 event from BBC News. you can check out their article at:
i've also posted the full text of the article at the bottom of this post.

pursuant to the request at the end of the BBC article, i'll be spending the hour blogging.

and no, this doesn't have much to do with triathlon or endurance sports, but i figured this was post-worthy for the following reasons:
  1. there is an environmentally-sensitive movement in the triathlon/endurance sports community (one notable example is Christ Lieto's effort: it out, his effort is a much higher profile than mine);
  2. i think endurance sports, and endurance athletes, tend to be a little bit more socially conscious relative to the rest of society, and so want (and deserve) to be alerted to things to Earth Hour; and
  3. it's an important issue, and endurance sports (at least for me) is about engaging important issues, and learning just how it is that we are supposed to deal with them in ways that make life worth living...which is what i'm doing now.
pass the word on if you have the chance. let's help Earth Hour reach 1 billion people, and spread its message of awareness and call for action.

World cities begin big switch-off
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2009/03/28 10:06:07 GMT

Millions of people worldwide are being urged to switch off lights for an hour, in what is described as the biggest climate change protest ever attempted.

The initiative, Earth Hour, was begun in Sydney two years ago by green campaigners keen to cut energy use.

Correspondents say the aim is to create a huge wave of public pressure to influence a meeting in Copenhagen later this year to seek a new climate treaty.

Critics describe the event as a symbolic and meaningless gesture.

The switch-off is expected to take place in more than 3,400 towns and cities across 88 countries, at 2030 in each local time zone.

Earth Hour was launched in 2007 as a solo event in Sydney, Australia, with more than two million people involved. Last year's event claimed the participation of 370 cities.

This time Sydney was one of the first places to switch off. The BBC's Nick Bryant described a city where skyscrapers were hard to make out against the night sky.

Locations taking part this time include Edinburgh Castle in Scotland, the Bird's Nest Stadium in Beijing and the Egyptian Pyramids.

Fast-food giant MacDonald's has pledged to dim its "golden arches" at 500 locations, while celebrities such as actress Cate Blanchett and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have promised support.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon backed the initiative in a video posted this month on the event's YouTube channel.

"Earth Hour is a way for the citizens of the world to send a clear message," he said. "They want action on climate change."

People are invited to provide blogs and short video clips on how they spend their time.

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