Christchurch beacon of inspiration as city powers-down for Earth HourPeople across Christchurch switched-off in a big way for Earth Hour last night! Hundreds of New Zealanders gathered in Cathedral Square as Mayor Bob Parker switched off the lights of the Cathedral at 8pm, and the city powered-down for Earth Hour.
Meanwhile thousands more across the city switched off their lights enjoying candle-lit celebrations at home, and at the many bars and restaurants that took part in Earth Hour.
Power company Orion confirmed Christchurch saved 12.8% electricity during Earth Hour – an astounding achievement which Chris Howe, Executive Director of WWF-New Zealand said was proof of the difference individuals can make when they act together:
“Christchurch has really set a high standard for the rest of the world to live up to as Earth Hour rolls out around the world tonight. New Zealand can be inspired by what Christchurch has done tonight, it proves that if we act together, small actions really do make a difference, and that’s what Earth Hour is all about. It’s an awesome achievement and we want to say thank you to everyone in Christchurch and across New Zealand who took part in Earth Hour – it’s an amazing commitment to the fight against climate change.”
Andrew Holden, Editor of The Press, media partner of Earth Hour said: “The point of Earth Hour was to raise awareness about climate change and give the community the chance to get involved in the solution. Saving 12.8 per cent electricity is a remarkable demonstration that proves people of Christchurch want to ensure they have a sustainable lifestyle for a great city.”
The atmosphere in Cathedral Square was buzzing with positivity, and a sense of pride in Christchurch being the first city in New Zealand to commit to Earth Hour was highlighted by Mayor Bob Parker. Families brought their children down to the event, some as young as four, to see the lights go down, with one commenting:
“The kids were really excited about staying up to come here. It was a good way to get them to see the film (The 11th Hour)…. It’s a way of getting people along to increase awareness… the boys have been hearing lots about it at school.”
“The atmosphere there was fabulous,” said Earth Hour youth ambassador, Susan Smirk who was in the Cathedral Square at the lights went down. “People were really enjoying it. It felt very much like a community event, there were a whole load of different people, and they all came prepared to hear the message, sat on the floor or on camping chairs. There’s definitely that sense of people wanting to hear how they can make a difference which is brilliant.”
People across New Zealand took part in Earth Hour, with Wellington and Auckland both dimming lights on landmarks. The lights of Auckland’s Sky Tower were switched off for Earth Hour, and city council buildings switched off for Earth Hour too.
Christchurch is the first city, alongside Suva, Fiji, to celebrate Earth Hour 2008. Earth Hour will roll through 14 time zones in cities around the world with over 370 cities taking part, official Earth Hour cities are:
- San Francisco
- Santa Cruz
- Suva and Lautoka
- Tel Aviv
About Earth Hour Christchurch
Earth Hour is a community event, led by WWF-New Zealand and The Press, and supported by Christchurch City Council, Environment Canterbury and Orion Energy, amongst others. It has the backing of ChristChurch Cathedral and the Employers Chamber of Commerce. All people and businesses can take part in Earth Hour by switching off their lights for one hour at 8pm on 29 March 2008. During Earth Hour people and businesses are also invited to turn off appliances from standby.
WWF is the world's largest and most experienced independent conservation organization. It has close to five million supporters and a global network active in more than 100 countries. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the planet's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature.
What’s Your Next Step?
Earth Hour is just the beginning. You can find out how to live Earth Hour everyday at http://www.earthhour.org or by taking the What's your next step? sustainability challenge at http://www.sustainability.govt.nz. The campaign challenges New Zealanders to take action to live more sustainably – from small easy steps that can begin today, to those that may take more time and investment.