Feb 26: Melbourne joins global launch of Earth Hour 2009

Victorian businesses and households will be encouraged to switch off their lights for WWF’s Earth Hour 2009 as part of an international effort to send a strong message on climate change to world leaders.

Lights will go out at Federation Square and other famous Victorian landmarks for one hour from 8.30pm to 9.30pm local time on Saturday March 28 next year.

WWF resource conservation program manager Andrew Rouse was joined by Melbourne Lord mayor Robert Doyle and Shane Wakelin at The Greenhouse, Federation Square for the Victorian launch of Earth Hour 2009.

Mr Rouse said Victoria, particularly Melbourne, would once again play a leading role to help WWF reach one billion people in 1,000 cities in what will become the largest ever global call to action on climate change.

“Melbourne will join other Australian capitals and major cities around the world to flick the switch in a strong visual message that tells our leaders: ‘We want strong action on climate change now’,” Mr Rouse said.

“But we not only need Melbourne’s commercial and landmark structures to participate, we also need households in Melbourne and major regional centres to come on board as well.

“At 8.30pm on Saturday March 28 WWF hopes to see buildings and households across Victoria switch off to help raise public awareness about the massive problem of climate change that is already on our doorstep.”

Earth Hour 2009 will target world leaders attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen next December, encouraging them to strike a new global deal on climate change.

“WWF will build a strong case for major international intervention in Copenhagen and Earth Hour will kick off a year-long campaign to garner widespread public support. This UN Climate Change Conference will be vital to the future of our planet,” Mr Rouse said.

Shane Wakelin, Earth Hour ambassador and former Collingwood AFL player said he was pleased to again be supporting Earth Hour.

“Earth Hour is an Australian initiative and gives us a wonderful global opportunity to influence attitudes on climate change and the environment for many generations to come”, said Mr Wakelin.

Professor David Karoly at the School of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne and member of WWF’s Climate Witness Science Advisory Panel supports the Earth Hour initiative to entrench lasting behavioural change.

“’One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind’ Earth Hour demonstrates what can be achieved through concerted community action, but it is only the start. We need to repeat Earth Hour every hour of the day, every day of the year, so that these actions are part of our normal lives”, said Professor Karoly.

The Earth Hour campaign, which began in Sydney in 2007, has grown significantly over the past two years and now has 62 countries signed up to flick the switch in 2009.

Confirmed cities include Los Angeles, Las Vegas, London, Rome, Manila, Mexico City, Vancouver, Dubai, Copenhagen, Oslo, Hong Kong, Cape Town and many other major cities around the world, as well as all of Australia’s capital cities.


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