EARTH HOUR.

So do you guys know what is EARTH HOUR? Let me explain here.

Earth Hour is an annual international event created by the WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature/World Wildlife Fund), held on the last Saturday of March, that asks households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights and electrical appliances for one hour to raise awareness towards the need to take action on climate change. It was pioneered by WWF Australia and the Sydney Morning Herald in 2007, and achieved worldwide participation in 2008.

Earth Hour will next take place on Saturday, March 28, 2009 at 8:30 pm, local time.

Earth Hour 2008

With 35 countries around the world participating as official flagship cities and over 400 cities also supporting, Earth Hour 2008 was a major success, celebrated on all seven continents. Iconic landmarks all around the world turned off their non-essential lighting for Earth Hour which included the Empire State Building (New York City), Sears Tower (Chicago), Golden Gate Bridge (San Francisco), Bank of America Plaza (Atlanta), Sydney Opera House (Sydney, Australia), Wat Arun Buddhist Temple (Bangkok, Thailand), the Colosseum (Rome, Italy), Royal Castle (Stockholm, Sweden), London's City Hall (England), Space Needle (Seattle), the CN Tower (Toronto, Canada) and SM Mall of Asia & The Giant Globe (Manila, Philippines).

The official website for the event, earthhour.org, received over 6.7 million unique visitors in the week leading up to Earth Hour. Other websites took part in the event, with Google's homepage going "dark" on the day Earth Hour took place.

According to a Zogby International online survey 36 million people participated in Earth Hour 2008, with an estimated 50 million doing the same around the world. The survey also showed there was a 4 percentage point increase in awareness of environmental issues such as climate change, directly after the event.

Scheduling

Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House were darkened during Earth Hour 2007.

Before 2008, San Francisco had been running a "Lights Out" program of their own that occurred in October. For 2008, it was being moved to March 29 to align with Australia's Earth Hour. This also happened to be the year that Earth Hour became an international event and San Francisco was asked to be a partner city in Earth Hour. Rather than have a competing event, San Francisco has supported Earth Hour and all Lights Out efforts have now moved to supporting the international Earth Hour event. Since Earth Hour for 2008 was on a Saturday, many high schools in the Greater Toronto Area participated by turning off half the lights in classrooms during the last hour of school on Friday, March 28, 2008. Although the tagline of Earth Hour 2008 was officially, "See the difference you can make," the official radio advertisement ended with the tagline, "Dark city, bright idea."


Energy saved

Colosseum darkened for Earth Hour 2008

According to WWF Thailand, Bangkok decreased electricity usage by 73.34 megawatts, which, over one hour, is equivalent to 41.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide. The Bangkok Post gave different figures of 165 megawatt-hours and 102 tonnes of carbon dioxide. This was noted to be significantly less than a similar campaign initiated by Bangkok's City Hall the previous year in May where 530 megawatt-hours were saved and 143 tonnes of carbon dioxide emission was cut. Toronto saved 900 megawatt-hours of electricity. 8.7% was saved if measured against a typical March Saturday night. Ireland, as a whole, had a reduction in electricity use of about 1.5% for the evening. In the three-hour period between 18:30 and 21:30, there was a reduction of 50 megawatts, saving 150 megawatt-hours, or approximately 6 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Golden Gate Bridge and Marin Headlands public open space in the background, before (insert) and during Earth Hour 2008

In Dubai, where external lighting on several major city landmarks was turned off and street lighting in selected areas was dimmed by 50%, the Electricity and Water Authority reported savings of 100 megawatt-hours of electricity. This represented a 2.4% reduction in demand compared to before the hour began.

The Sky Tower in Auckland, New Zealand, switched off its usual floodlighting during the Earth Hour, and re-lit afterwards.

The best result was from Christchurch, New Zealand. The city reported a drop of 13% in electricity demand. However, Transpower reported that New Zealand's power consumption during Earth Hour was 335 megawatts, higher than the 328 megawatt average of the previous two Saturdays. Melbourne, Australia saved 10.1% of electricity. Sydney, being the city that participated both 2007 and 2008 Earth Hour, cut 8.4% electricity consumption. This is less than last year's 10.2%, however Earth Hour executive director Andy Ridley made the claim that after factoring margin of error, the participation in this city is the same as last year.

The worst result was from Calgary, Canada. The city's power consumption actually went up 3.6% at the hour's peak electricity demand. In Calgary, however, where weather plays a large role in power consumption, the city experienced weather 12°C colder than the previous Saturday's recorded temperature.

Earth Hour 2009

Earth Hour 2009 is 8:30–9:30 March 28 2009. Currently, 80 countries and 1,500 cities are 'committed to Earth Hour 2009', a huge increase from people participating in 35 countries for Earth Hour 2008. 1 billion 'votes' is the stated aim for Earth Hour 2009, in the context of the pivotal 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference.

Interpretation

Overview of Sydney in Earth Hour 2008

The event was interpreted as tokenism, and some focused on the reduction of carbon emissions, whether the significant reduction in electricity consumption reported occurred at all, and questionable coverage of the event by the media conglomerate that sponsored it. It should be noted that the Earth Hour is very similar to the grassroots Earth Day Energy Fast, which from 1991 to 2007 proposed going completely without man-made energy each Earth Day. Earth Day Energy Fast was folded in 2007 since the campaign's founder claimed it was "too late" for such a campaign to have meaningful impact.

The United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Bali made clear that signatories to the Kyoto Protocol accept that greenhouse gas emissions reductions of from 25 to 40% are necessary by 2020 to reduce the impact of global warming which is causing sea level rise and numerous other problems. In that context Earth Hour is at worst tokenism or at best creating awareness to lead to further steps like switching to green power from sources such as wind power or solar power and away from electricity produced by burning fossil fuels like coal, natural gas and petroleum.

Measurement of reduction in electricity use

According to figures from EnergyAustralia, a local utility, mains electricity consumption for the 2007 event in Sydney was 2% lower during the Hour than would be expected given the time, weather conditions and past four years' consumption patterns. The Herald Sun equated this with "taking 48,613 cars off the road for 1 hour."Critics, most notably Columnist Andrew Bolt, labelled this as "A cut so tiny is trivial - equal to taking six cars off the road for a year". In context, the six cars equates to there being six fewer cars on the road at any given point of time in the day or night. In response to this criticism, the organisers of Earth Hour counter that "If the greenhouse reduction achieved in the Sydney CBD during Earth Hour was sustained for a year, it would be equivalent to taking 48,616 cars off the road for a year." and they also note that the main goal of Earth Hour is to create awareness around climate change issues and "to express that individual action on a mass scale can help change our planet for the better."and not about the specific energy reductions made during the hour being all that's required.

The 10.2% figure was itself challenged in a detailed analysis by David Solomon, a finance student at the University of Chicago. Solomon used eight years of electricity usage data to conclude that the Earth Hour-inspired drop was 6.33%, and that after other potential factors were taken into account, 2.10%, "statistically indistinguishable from zero."In some areas in the Northern Hemisphere, it will be twilight at 8 p.m., removing some of the advantages of the event.

David Soloman claims that 2007 Earth Hour cut Sydney's mains electricity consumption by 2.1%.Earth Hour 2008 was held internationally on 29 March 2008 from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. local time, marking the first anniversary of the event with many partner cities and individuals around the world participating.

VOTE EARTH by simply switching off your lights for one hour, and join the world for Earth Hour.

ONE HOUR ONE CITY MADE A POWERFUL STATEMENT ABOUT THE URGENT NEED FOR ACTION ON GLOBAL WARMING BY TURNING OFF ITS LIGHTS. SO PLEASE TURN OFF ALL NON-ESSENTIAL LIGHTS ON 28 MAR 09, 8.30PM LOCAL TIME FOR AN HOUR, YOU CAN STOP GLOBAL WARMING IN JUST A SIMPLE WAY!!


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