UN Participates in Earth Hour, Cape Town Wins City Challenge Award
29 March 2014: The UN switched off all non-essential lighting at its Headquarters in New York, US, from 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm Eastern Daylight Time in observance of this year's Earth Hour. Other UN offices in Geneva, Switzerland, and around the world also participated, turning off lights to reduce carbon emissions and call the world to action on climate change.
Earth Hour took place from 8:30 pm - 9:30 pm local time, worldwide, on Saturday, 29 March 2014. The UN has embraced the event as an example of how collective action can curb greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is calling on individuals, governments and businesses to turn off their lights for Earth Hour and take further actions to minimize their ecological footprints. The UN Headquarters is one of many international landmarks participating in this symbolic event, demonstrating their commitment to action on climate change.
In related news, Cape Town won the Global Earth Hour Capital 2014 award for outstanding sustainability efforts. The Earth Hour City Challenge is organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). Commenting on the award, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres, Gino Van Begin, Secretary-General of the global cities network ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, UN Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change Michael R. Bloomberg underlined that Cape Town is the first city from the south to receive this award.
The annual observation of Earth Hour dates to 2007, when the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) organized a lights-off event in Sydney, Australia. The event has spread to over 150 countries with millions of people participating. The date is traditionally chosen to coincide with the March Equinox (marking the beginning of autumn in the Southern Hemisphere and spring in the Northern Hemisphere). With the sunset occuring almost simultaneously in both hemispheres at this time, the visual impact is of the event is magnified. [UN Climate Change Blog Post] [Earth Hour Website] [Joint UNFCCC, ICLEI and Bloomberg Philantropies Press Release] [Earth Hour City Challenge] [UN Press Release]