Saturday, March 29, 2008

A movement that spans the world

FELLOW electricians Justin McInerney and Tony Bautista have never met, and probably never will, but the pair are playing their part in Earth Hour tonight.

Eighteen hours apart and on opposite sides of the world they will throw the levers that turn off the lights above their cities' great bridges, as the event sweeps through 35 nations at eight o'clock local time tonight.

In San Francisco, Mr Bautista will turn off the lights above the Bay Bridge, the busiest in the US. It will signal the 60-minute shutdown across the city, from the Golden Gate Bridge, to City Hall and at least 70 buildings in San Francisco's financial district, as well as other tourism landmarks.

In Sydney, the darkened Harbour Bridge will be joined by the Opera House, dozens of city skyscrapers and hundreds of thousands of homes.

Mr McInerney said he was proud to flick the switch that dims the bridge's non-essential lights.

Earth Hour will bring millions of people around Australia and the world together to make a statement about climate change when they turn out their lights from 8pm to 9pm.

From Brighton Pier in England to England to the Tivoli amusement park in Copenhagen, politicians, business people, celebrities, communities, families and individuals have signed up to what is becoming a world movement. In 10 countries, 26 cities have registered as official partners.

In Chicago, the Sears Tower will turn off its lights while in downtown St Louis, the Mayor, Francis Slay, has proposed hosting a candlelit dinner at J.Bucks restaurant to mark the night.

The Grammy award winner Nelly Furtado will perform at an unplugged concert in Toronto. Up to 10,000 are expected to attend.

In Sydney, the Premier, Morris Iemma, will take part in an official Earth Hour event at Mrs Macquaries Chair, where he will be joined by the federal Minister for Climate Change, Penny Wong, the federal Environment Minister, Peter Garrett, the federal Opposition Leader, Brendan Nelson, and the Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore.

At Sydney Theatre Company, the curtain will go up at 6.30pm, an hour and a half early, for the opening night of The Year Of Magical Thinking so director Cate Blanchett can deliver on a commitment to Earth Hour at 8pm.

Around the country, hundreds of businesses and agencies are joining the event. The Australian Federal Police, for one, will be switching off its lights, computers and electronic equipment - but will maintain essential policing.

Earth Hour began in Sydney last year after a brainstorming session at World Wide Fund for Nature's regional headquarters. It is supported by Fairfax Media, publisher of the Herald.

The WWF hopes the symbolic event will send a signal to next year's United Nations meeting in Copenhagen, where it is hoped a new global climate change agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions will be signed.


Miss Lai Lai said...

I'll be turning off everything at home, including my dear computer which is mostly on when I am at home.

That'll give me an excuse to go out won't it?

have a good weekend Ecky!

Anonymous said...

hm, is it a parallel of the world silent day? or something else?
i almost turned everything off on world silent day. i kept the heater on, as i might sick if i turned it off :D

Momisodes said...

I had no idea about this event!! But we took part since we were not home and never turned anything on. WE were driving around with out of town guests :) What an amazing idea.