Sunday, March 29, 2009

Earth Hour – Huge Success

Bob Reaume sent me a Tweet this earlier today and it seems that we shared something common for Earth Hour. We were both at sports bars at the time of "Earth Hour". At the exact stroke of 8pm, out went the lights… darkness… except for the cool glow of the HD Plasma screens. What, sacrifice NCAA Hoops or the tragedy that is the Toronto Maple Leafs.

… But for environmental activists, the message was clear: Earth Hour was a huge success.

"The world said yes to climate action, now governments must follow," the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said a day after hundreds of millions of people worldwide followed its call to turn off lights for a full hour.

WWF called the event, which began in Australia in 2007 and grew last year to 400 cities worldwide, "the world's first-ever global vote about the future of our planet."

Leo Burnett Sydney's Earth Hour initiative for WWF, won one of four Titanium awards handed out at Cannes last year. Rolled out in Sydney for the first time, Earth Hour 2007 had 2.2 million Sydneysiders turn off their lights for an hour as a stand against global warming, cutting the city's energy consumption by 10.2%, the equivalent of taking 48,000 cars off the road for one hour.

Over 2,200 Sydney based companies took part, including McDonald's, which switched off its golden arches; Coke, which screened Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth; Energy Australia, which co-sponsored advertisements on metrolites; and Guinness, which gave out free beers at bars.

Says Leo Burnett national creative director, Mark Collis: "Earth Hour was a unique moment in time which we hope to make a permanent date on the world calendar. Opening the brief up to all agencies in this way is equally unique and exciting."
Negotiators from 175 countries gathered Sunday in Bonn for the latest round in an effort to craft a deal to control emissions of the heat-trapping gases responsible for global warming.

Earth Hour officially began when the Chatham Islands, 500 miles (800 kilometers) east of New Zealand, switched off its diesel generators. At Scott Base in Antarctica, New Zealand's 26-member winter team resorted to minimum safety lighting and switched off appliances and computers.

In Australia, Sydney's glittering harbor was bathed in shadows as lights dimmed on the steel arch of the city's iconic Harbour Bridge and the nearby Opera House.

As the sun moved west, the Great Pyramids and Sphinx in Egypt darkened. So did the Acropolis in Athens and the Colosseum in Rome.

In Paris, the Eiffel Tower, Louvre and Notre Dame Cathedral were among 200 monuments and buildings that went dark. The Eiffel Tower, however, only extinguished its lights for five minutes for security reasons because visitors were on the tower.

The celebration then crossed the Atlantic, where crowds at New York's Times Square watched as many of the massive billboards, including the giant Coca-Cola display, darkened. The Majestic Theater marquee at the home of "The Phantom of the Opera" went dark, along with the marquees at other Broadway shows.

Mikel Rouse, 52, a composer who lives and works nearby came to watch.

"C'mon, is it really necessary? ... All this ridiculous advertising… (What, what, what??? Easy there cowboy)... all this corporate advertising taking up all that energy seems to be a waste," Rouse said.

Earth Hour:

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's Earth Hour video:

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