China's Landmark's go Dark for Earth Hour



Posted on 28 March 2009

Beijing, China - The iconic Bird's Nest and Water Cube were blanketed in darkness tonight for an hour as their lights were switched off to raise awareness about the need for action on climate change.

The landmark structures were part of a series of prominent buildings in the Olympic Park area that went dark from 8.30pm in a dramatic display of support for the global Earth Hour lights off initiative. In the flagship Beijing event, the lights were first switched off at Ling Long Tower, followed by Pangu Plaza, the Olympic Park streets, the Bird's Nest, and the Water Cube.

Not to be outdone, Shanghai matched the capital抯 commitment by switching off the iconic Oriental Pearl Tower, Shanghai World Financial Center, and district and municipal government buildings across the city. The Power Valley JinJiang International Hotel in Baoding and the Drum Tower in Nanjing likewise flicked the switch.

At a special Earth Hour event on the top floor of the Pangu Plaza hotel, partners and the media looked across the Olympic Green as some of China's biggest icons went black. WWF China country representative Dermot O'Gorman said the statement for action on global warming was being made "loud and clear" in China.

"What's most impressive about Earth Hour in China is how many ordinary people across the country have signed up to switch off their lights. This sends a powerful message to the world that people in China want action on climate change now," he said.

"We are excited to see that the Earth Hour is supplementing the government's efforts in raising environmental awareness and energy-saving know-how among the public, and find that the enthusiasm we're seen from ordinary people around China for Earth Hour has far exceeded our expectations."

In addition to the darkening of landmark buildings, individuals, groups and businesses found many innovative ways to participate in the world's first global election between Earth and climate change.

Restaurants played host to romantic candlelight suppers, lights were dimmed at bars for Earth Hour themed parties, while astronomy groups relished the rare opportunity to stargaze in a darkened sky.

WWF's Earth Hour asks people, businesses, governments and communities to turn off their lights between 8.30pm and 9.30pm on March 28, to demonstrate their concern about global warming.

Earth Hour ambassador Li Bing Bing said switching off lights for one hour sent a strong signal that we all care about the vital issue of global climate change.

When the event started in Sydney in 2007, 2 million people switched off their light s. This year, more than 3,200 cities and towns from 84 countries are taking part in Earth Hour, including the Chinese cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Baoding, Dalian, Shunde, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Hong Kong, Macau, Harbin, Changchun and Changsha.

They will join in global solidarity with 67 national capitals and some of the world's most prominent cites, including London, Paris, Hong Kong, Dubai, Cape Town and Mumbai.

Major global icons that will switch off range from ancient wonders like Egypt's Great Pyramids and the Acropolis in Athens, to modern marvels such as the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur and New York's Empire State Building.

Earth Hour's open-source nature has been a driving force behind the campaign, achieving 1.1 million online social network friends. Earth Hour videos are being viewed online every 0.8 seconds.

Notes to editors:

B-roll and Earth Hour still images in China can be found at http://www.divshare.com/folder/372918-503

For more information please contact:

Chris Chaplin Communications Officer, WWF-China
+86 10 6511 6237, cchaplin@wwfchina.org

About Earth Hour
Earth Hour is a global WWF climate change initiative. Individuals, businesses, governments and communities are invited to turn out their lights for one hour on Saturday March 28, 2009 at 8:30 PM to show their support for action on climate change. The event began in Sydney in 2007, when 2 million people switched off their lights. In 2008, more than 50 million people around the globe participated. In 2009, Earth Hour reached close to 4,000 cities in 88 countries.

About WWF
WWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with almost five million supporters and a global network active in more than 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.