WASHINGTON, DC, March 4, 2009 - World Wildlife Fund announced today that the District of Columbia has signed on to be an official flagship city for Earth Hour 2009, a global climate change event in which tens of millions of citizens, businesses and government leaders from all corners of the world will turn off their lights to make a statement about the urgent need for action on climate change.
Beginning at 8:30 p.m. on March 28th, the District will turn off non-essential lighting on many buildings and landmarks, including facilities owned by the local government. More than 950 cities in 80 countries have committed to turning out for Earth Hour. In the US, the District joins Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New York and San Francisco in dimming its skyline to cast a vote for action on the climate crisis.
"The way we light our buildings is a major factor in any city's carbon footprint," said George S. Hawkins, director of the District Department of the Environment. "Earth Hour is a symbolic but important step in showing the world we're serious about the climate."
"This will be a pivotal year in the future of our planet as we look to Congress, President Obama and global leaders to take immediate and decisive action on climate change," said Dr. Richard Moss, Vice President and Managing Director of WWF's Climate Change Program. "Having our Nation's Capital go dark for Earth Hour will send a powerful message to the world that the US is ready to assume a leadership position in solving one of the most serious challenges facing our planet today. By turning out the lights, the people of Washington will be casting a vote in support of the future of the Earth."
During Earth Hour 2009, lights are slated to go out on some of the world's most iconic buildings and landmarks including:
· The Las Vegas Strip
· Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco
· Sears Tower in Chicago
· Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame in Paris
· Sydney Opera House
· Christ the Redeemer in Brazil
· Niagara Falls
· Coliseum in Rome
· Stockholm Castle
· Burj Dubai
WWF officials stressed the importance of safety during Earth Hour, noting that all lighting related to public safety will remain on.