Antarctica to Pyramids -- lights dim for Earth Hour (Update)

Mar 28, 2009 By KRISTEN GELINEAU , Associated Press Writer
A combination photo of a night view of the site of the ancient Giza Pyramids before and after switching off the lights for the Earth Hour, in Cairo, Egypt Saturday March 28, 2009. From an Antarctic research base to the Great Pyramids of Egypt and beyond, the world switched off the lights on Saturday for the second Earth Hour, dimming skyscrapers, city streets and some of the world's most recognizable monuments for 60 minutes to highlight the threat of climate change. (AP Photo/Nasser Nouri)

(AP) -- From an Antarctic research base to the Great Pyramids of Egypt and beyond, the world switched off the lights on Saturday for Earth Hour, dimming skyscrapers, city streets and some of the world's most recognizable monuments for 60 minutes to highlight the threat of climate change.

Time zone by time zone, nearly 4,000 cities and towns in 88 countries joined the event sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund to dim nonessential lights from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

An agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012, is supposed to be reached in Copenhagen, Denmark, this December, and environmentalists' sense of urgency has spurred interest in this year's . Last year, only 400 cities participated; Sydney held a solo event in 2007.

In Bonn, WWF activists held a candlelit cocktail party on the eve of a U.N. meeting, the first in a series of talks leading up to Copenhagen. The goal is to get an ambitions deal to curb emissions of heat-trapping gases that scientists say are dangerously warming the planet.

"People want politicians to take action and solve the problem," said Kim Carstensen, director of the global climate initiative for WWF, speaking in a piano bar bathed by candlelight and lounge music.

Organizers initially worried enthusiasm this year would wane with the world focused on the global economic crisis, Earth Hour executive director Andy Ridley told The Associated Press. But he said it apparently had the opposite effect.

"Earth Hour has always been a positive campaign; it's always around street parties, not street protests, it's the idea of hope, not despair. And I think that's something that's been incredibly important this year because there is so much despair around," he said.

The Chatham Islands, a small chain about 500 miles (800 kilometers) east of New Zealand, switched off its diesel generators to officially begin Earth Hour. Soon after, the lights of Auckland's Sky Tower, the tallest man-made structure in New Zealand, blinked off.

At Scott Base in Antarctica, New Zealand's 26-member winter team resorted to minimum safety lighting and switched off appliances and computers.

In Australia, people attended candlelit speed-dating events and gathered at outdoor concerts as the hour of darkness rolled through. Sydney's glittering harbor was bathed in shadows as lights dimmed on the steel arch of the city's iconic Harbour Bridge and the nearby Opera House.

And in Egypt, the Great Pyramids darkened, as did the Sphinx.

To the West, floodlights at the Acropolis in Athens were switched off and an outdoor concert was staged on an adjacent hill, which many Athenians approached in a candlelight procession. The Athens International Airport switched off the lights on one of its two runways.

In that other great ancient city, Rome, the Colosseum and St. Peter's Basilica were plunged into darkness.

In Paris, the Eiffel Tower, Louvre and Notre Dame Cathedral were among 200 monuments and buildings that went dark. The Eiffel Tower, however, only extinguished its lights for five minutes for security reasons because visitors were on the tower, said WWF France spokesman Pierre Chasseray.

"Above all in the current economic crisis, we should send a signal for climate protection," said Klaus Wowereit, the mayor of Berlin, one in a handful of German cities switching off lights at city halls and television towers for Earth Day for the first time.

Meanwhile, the Swiss city of Geneva switched off the lights on theaters, churches and monuments. Among them were the Reformation Wall, where floodlights normally illuminate 10-foot (three-meter) statues of John Calvin and other leaders of Protestantism. The city's motto engraved on either side of the statues is: "After darkness, light."

All of Spain's 52 provincial capitals turned off some lights an hour after sunset, silhouetting unlit landmarks such as the royal palace and parliament in Madrid, the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, and the Alhambra palace in Granada against darkening dusk skies.

A key 2010 football World Cup qualifier against Serbia posed a dilemma for Romanians. "Shall we watch the match or turn off the lights?," the 7plus daily asked in its main front-page headline.

The U.N. headquarters in New York and other facilities were dimming their lights to signal the need for global support for a new climate treaty.

U.N. Secretary Ban Ki-moon called Earth Hour "a way for the citizens of the world to send a clear message: They want action on climate change."

China participated for the first time, cutting the lights at Beijing's Bird's Nest Stadium and Water Cube, the most prominent 2008 Olympic venues.

In Bangkok, the prime minister switched off the lights on Khao San Road, a haven for budget travelers packed with bars and outdoor cafes.

Earth Hour organizers say there's no uniform way to measure how much energy is saved worldwide.

Earth Hour 2009 has garnered support from global corporations, nonprofit groups, schools, scientists and celebrities - including Oscar-winning actress Cate Blanchett and retired Cape Town Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

McDonald's Corp. planned to dim its arches at 500 locations around the U.S. Midwest. The Marriott, Ritz-Carlton and Fairmont hotel chains and Coca-Cola Co. also planned to participate.

---

On the Net:

Earth Hour: http://www.earthhour.org

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's Earth Hour video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v9bm7yR0HcVY

Associated Press Writers around the world contributed to this report.
©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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User comments : 21

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Modernmystic
3.1 / 5 (17) Mar 28, 2009
BHAhahahahahahahahhahaa!

Welcome to politorg...

Where's physorg...must be around here somewhere....
ArtflDgr
3 / 5 (9) Mar 28, 2009
what a great way to see if the grid will take it, at the same time you could aerially determine who is on board and who isnt...
freethinking
3.3 / 5 (16) Mar 28, 2009
Wait, here in the US, Obamas supporters will note who is on board with the socialist control agenda and who isnt.
Seriously (the above post is only have seriouos) Im neither going to turn on lights or turn them off. Im just going to ignore the environmentalist idiots. Ill note who is brainwashed when I see them turn off their lights and make sure Im careful what I say to them lest they report me in the future for actually thinking.
Fazer
4.1 / 5 (14) Mar 28, 2009
Yes, and if it is a vote they want, then by all means vote. If you disagree with those sentiments, then turn all of your lights ON. Look at the symbolism of what they are suggesting - that man must turn off the lights, shut down civilisation, hide in a cave, and all for the shamefull act of being alive, of being an intelligent creature that seeks to thrive and build. No other creature on Earth is criticized for the act of living, well, except maybe viruses and dandilions and kudzu, hehe. Every living thing on Earth seeks to flourish and in the process to dominate the environment. Yes, we are having an impact on our environment, but to stop now and cower in a cave is exactly the wrong thing to do. We must thrive and move forward. Only then may we be in a position to truly help preserve the planet (if we so wish) by litterally engineering it back to health. I am proud to be alive, and I will do with my life as I wish. I don't waste things unnecesarily, that is just stupid, but don't try to shame me into hating myself for the act of living - if that is what you seek, then I will resist you with all of the strength and wits I can muster.
ealex
3.3 / 5 (8) Mar 28, 2009
I'm not really concerned with the politics of this, as much as with the psychological and practical downsides of the event.

First of all what this does is create a wrong focus on electricity as the main agent of bad environmental things going on in the world. As far as my knowledge goes, that is wrong, with industrial complexes, consumption excesses on other fronts and sheer human development taking the cake.

Second of all, events like this, while having a positive role of debatable magnitude in popularizing the issues of consumption excess and pollution, also have a detrimental effect. That effect, is the effect of the absolution of sins, much like the priest takes you into a confessional and gives you a penance, a lot of people are going to think:

"Hey I turned off the lights, I did my part!"

Then they are going to hop in the same gas-guzzler they've always been riding, use the same incandescent light bulbs they have been using, and they will be even less inclined to think about it, because, hey, they already did something about it.

Maybe I'm just a psychological pessimist, but I think there could be other way more practical means of getting people to enact individual actual USEFUL change, instead of just promoting the same type of lazy-ass absolution by flipping a light-switch.

As far as real practical effects of this event. There are none. Not on a real scale. The carbon dioxide not dumped into the air during this time will be, compared to what the industrial complexes pour in one day, a drop in an ocean.
brant
3.8 / 5 (13) Mar 28, 2009
Turn off the sun if you really want to make a point about the earth going through natural warming and cooling cycles.
barkster
3.6 / 5 (12) Mar 28, 2009
I did my part... and flushed my toilet for a full hour.
RAL
3.8 / 5 (13) Mar 28, 2009
What a preposterously stupid thing to host at PhysOrg, which seems to be fleeing daily from actual science for this kind of trite nonsense.
bluehigh
3.1 / 5 (15) Mar 29, 2009
LOL - we let the car idle with the air-con on for an hour, put the xmas tree lights on the deck AND for good measure lit some candles, a kerosene heater and a couple of fans. Watching the traffic lights change and the floodlights on the building sites had us all in fits of laughter. A couple of prank calls to the TV stations suggesting they turn off tramsmitters or at least put a message on the screen suggesting people turn off the TV was met by outrage. I look forward to the same reason for a "turn on the lights" party again next year.



To quote Homer Simpson (talking to a distressed Santas Little Helper) - "What is it boy? A hurricane, a fire ... um er - A Hippy"?



freethinking
3.5 / 5 (11) Mar 29, 2009
At 8:30 we went for a drive to see how many crazies there were. What we found is that none of our neighbors had their lights out which suprised me as some are quite indoctranated environmentalists. I saw some houses lite up almost like they were protesting.
dachpyarvile
3 / 5 (10) Mar 29, 2009
You might have driven past my house, then! :)

I had my children go through the house turning on every light we could find--including some we haven't used for quite a while--turned on every outside security light, desk lamps, closet lighting, oven lamps in both the conventional and microwave oven, televisions, all computer equipment, etc., etc.

I then took another opportunity to speak to them of the environmentalist's foolishness, debunked AGW further and then instructed them on the foolishness of such behaviors as trying to get billions of people to shut off their lights for an hour for something that has yet to be proven, as the hypocrisy of those who push for more solar to cut back on CO2 when the gases being released into the atmosphere in the manufacturing process and cleaning of solar panels are as high as 17000 times worse than CO2 molecule for molecule!

It was a good hour with the children... :)
Doug_Huffman
3.1 / 5 (9) Mar 29, 2009
What does it say of PhysOrg.asm that this drivel is post as science or technology or news worthy of our attention. The readership is merely grist for their clickthrough mill - 'cept those of us with AdBlock Plus.

I'll bet a nickel that PhysOrg.asm will try to become pay-per-view in the forseeable future and we'll just have to move on.
MarkTwain
1.6 / 5 (7) Mar 29, 2009
The gesture to turn off the lights around the world is a great idea. The hour long event will not solve the worlds problems alone, but I don;t think that is it's intentions. Instead, I believe it is a symbol. When there is so much arguing out there, it is nice that someone offered something simple that we can all be involved in. And what is wrong with people geting together for something bigger than themselves.

You don't have to hug trees to know that things are getting really bad out there. Just as you do not need to see anymore to know that Obama is no different than Bush. We will never get anywhere if we continue to let others lead our lives. If you truly want any say in your future; I suggest you start to speak up.

As far as the idiot comments offered by most on this post. If you would have shut off your lights, and look up into the sky, you would have seen quite the display of stars. But you were too busy being childish by turning ON all your lights.I will be glad when the likes of people like you drop off this planet.
Ant
3 / 5 (6) Mar 29, 2009
Too little, Too late
dachpyarvile
3 / 5 (8) Mar 29, 2009
The gesture to turn off the lights around the world is a great idea. The hour long event will not solve the worlds problems alone, but I don;t think that is it's intentions. Instead, I believe it is a symbol. When there is so much arguing out there, it is nice that someone offered something simple that we can all be involved in. And what is wrong with people geting together for something bigger than themselves.


I think turning off the lights for something unproven and falsifiable is a waste of time and a FOOLISH idea. In the meantime, the enviro-people are setting the stage to do far more damage to this planet than CO2 ever could. They have encouraged technology that releases gases with up to 17,000 times the heat-trapping potency of CO2 molecule for molecule with their push for solar technology, They then add to this by pushing hydrogen technology to increase levels of H2O vapor into the atmosphere in addition, H2O being also a very potent greenhouse gas. They work to push wind power, which does not reduce CO2 emissions and actually goes to destruction of wildlife habitat and habitants. The list could go on...

don't have to hug trees to know that things are getting really bad out there. Just as you do not need to see anymore to know that Obama is no different than Bush. We will never get anywhere if we continue to let others lead our lives. If you truly want any say in your future; I suggest you start to speak up.


Having lived near Obama a few years, I know things about him that many who elected him do not know but will soon find out. He has just got started! :)

far as the idiot comments offered by most on this post. If you would have shut off your lights, and look up into the sky, you would have seen quite the display of stars. But you were too busy being childish by turning ON all your lights.I will be glad when the likes of people like you drop off this planet.


Unfortunately, there was too much smog to see too many stars where I live so my lighting made little difference to the view.

As to being foolish, consider what we did as a symbol as well. It was a symbol that we are not going to fall for the nonsense of the IPCC and the AGW/AGCC camp. They have not proven their claims as to what CO2 is doing and they themselves are the biggest hypocrites on the planet. Al Gore, for example, uses more electricity in a month than the average household uses in an entire year! They push for technologies that will do far more damage to the planet than CO2 ever will. They buy carbon offsets from companies they own or in which they are part owners.

If we drop off the planet anytime soon it will be caused by the very people claiming they are trying to save the planet! O! The irony of that!
mikiwud
2.6 / 5 (10) Mar 30, 2009
It's all in the name EnviroMENTALIST.
Those who turned off their lights are laying on their backs with feet in the air shouting "I am ready, TAX ME!". SHEEPLE. It is so sad, nay, pathetic.
MarkTwain
1 / 5 (4) Mar 30, 2009
What One Man Can Do

You have convinced me that you are in the loop with politics; and with Obama as a friend to boot. Furthermore, look how really smart you are, reading a science blog, and the vital information you provide for us here in this blog. Are you, can you fly; are you Superman?

Try interpreting your environment a little more objectively. Then if you only surround yourself with people who do not question you; well, you then live in a bubble. And all the foolishness that comes out of your mouth is only there to concinve others of your importantce. But as a felloow who happens to share this wonderful earth, well with you. I ask you to be somewhat accountable for your actions, thus realizing who we affect other people, and our one only earth. This includes the untastful comments here on this blog from you which only confuse those who want to make the appropriate changes.

I would take people who care, are remorseful, willing to learn; any day over the ones who think they know it all, and do no wrong.

For those reading this other than, well you know who you are; If you want to know about politics, Take a look at what our public servants do,and not what they say. You will know more about the book, by first researching the author. Obama voted for evrything along the years that has led us to the mess. Think of it as a wish list for big buissnes. And no, Obama has been in long enough to see what his first steps were; the same financial people, the same war people, the entire Clinton administration, the same war, new wars, torture, and spying.. I guess I, and allot of others who have their eyes open, have seen enough. In fact, if there was one branch of government that was honest, none of the others would be a problem.

As far as the environment. It is a feedback system. And just like man has a comfortable zone in which the body preferes to function (temp/acidity/moisture/etc.), so does the Earth. Just like the human body which deviates from the norm, called stressors; acts violently to reach back to homeostasis. So does the Earth. What do you think a Hurricane is. A last ditch effort to move a massive amount of heat away from the area, and preferable to an area that is cooler. Ocean currents, and wind move temps around to aquire a more balanced temp on Earth as a who;le. the sun hits our planet at angles, and straight on. Hence the equator ios always the warmest. The cooler top, and hotter center (equator) merge to offer this solution.

Steven Hawkins, along with most other astrophysists only bet a single dollar on theroems due to their awareness to all the variables, and our subjectiveness.

It is amazing how much we all fool ourselves due to the amount of pretence glowing from our skin. But for a moment, we should wonder what is real.

How did Gearge Carlin learn so much about people? he gave up the rich gig from the Ed Sullivan Show, and played in small towns where he actually interacted with the common folk. He then listen to horriible stories, and then thought about it later. Thought about it enough to summarize what was to be learned from the story. Then he made it a joke so others would listen. He was brilliant. Moral of the story, get out of your bubble of self preservation, interact with the ones around you, and then do something to help.

Another person to model off of would be Buckminster Fuller. He lived civics everyday of his life. He was also inventing all sorts of stuff too. John Denver was his best friend, and he wrote a song for him titled, " What Can One Man Do"
Modernmystic
2.5 / 5 (8) Mar 31, 2009
What One Man Can Do



You have convinced me that you are in the loop with politics; and with Obama as a friend to boot. Furthermore, look how really smart you are, reading a science blog, and the vital information you provide for us here in this blog. Are you, can you fly; are you Superman?



Try interpreting your environment a little more objectively. Then if you only surround yourself with people who do not question you; well, you then live in a bubble. And all the foolishness that comes out of your mouth is only there to concinve others of your importantce. But as a felloow who happens to share this wonderful earth, well with you. I ask you to be somewhat accountable for your actions, thus realizing who we affect other people, and our one only earth. This includes the untastful comments here on this blog from you which only confuse those who want to make the appropriate changes.



I would take people who care, are remorseful, willing to learn; any day over the ones who think they know it all, and do no wrong.



For those reading this other than, well you know who you are; If you want to know about politics, Take a look at what our public servants do,and not what they say. You will know more about the book, by first researching the author. Obama voted for evrything along the years that has led us to the mess. Think of it as a wish list for big buissnes. And no, Obama has been in long enough to see what his first steps were; the same financial people, the same war people, the entire Clinton administration, the same war, new wars, torture, and spying.. I guess I, and allot of others who have their eyes open, have seen enough. In fact, if there was one branch of government that was honest, none of the others would be a problem.



As far as the environment. It is a feedback system. And just like man has a comfortable zone in which the body preferes to function (temp/acidity/moisture/etc.), so does the Earth. Just like the human body which deviates from the norm, called stressors; acts violently to reach back to homeostasis. So does the Earth. What do you think a Hurricane is. A last ditch effort to move a massive amount of heat away from the area, and preferable to an area that is cooler. Ocean currents, and wind move temps around to aquire a more balanced temp on Earth as a who;le. the sun hits our planet at angles, and straight on. Hence the equator ios always the warmest. The cooler top, and hotter center (equator) merge to offer this solution.



Steven Hawkins, along with most other astrophysists only bet a single dollar on theroems due to their awareness to all the variables, and our subjectiveness.



It is amazing how much we all fool ourselves due to the amount of pretence glowing from our skin. But for a moment, we should wonder what is real.



How did Gearge Carlin learn so much about people? he gave up the rich gig from the Ed Sullivan Show, and played in small towns where he actually interacted with the common folk. He then listen to horriible stories, and then thought about it later. Thought about it enough to summarize what was to be learned from the story. Then he made it a joke so others would listen. He was brilliant. Moral of the story, get out of your bubble of self preservation, interact with the ones around you, and then do something to help.



Another person to model off of would be Buckminster Fuller. He lived civics everyday of his life. He was also inventing all sorts of stuff too. John Denver was his best friend, and he wrote a song for him titled, " What Can One Man Do"



If you're trying to make a point in that morass of text take a lesson from Carlin...learn to summarize...
dachpyarvile
3.3 / 5 (7) Mar 31, 2009
While we are on the subject of moralizing on civics, etc., I thought I would mention that I was flipping through some old material from the 1930s early this morning and came across something interesting. During the 1930s we had drought conditions on the planet and some areas experienced heat waves.

Of course, the levels of CO2 were lower then than now, so it is of interest that the politicians of today claim what they do, particularly Al Gore in the debacle of a film, "An Inconvenient Truth."

At any rate, here is something I stumbled onto concerning polar bears on page 17 in the September 6, 1930 issue of The Literary Digest:

"Polar Bears Like Heat

Sympathy is wasted on them in torrid summer weather, according to Frank Thone, writing in Science News-Letter, a Science Service publication (Washington). He quotes George Jennison, a well-known and widely experienced English zoologist, as follows:

The public err profoundly with regard to polar bears. They are pitied in hot weather, while a severe spell of frost always calls forth the remark that the polar bears will enjoy themselves; actually they do not like the cold. They rarely enter the water between October and February, and, on the other hand, nothing pleases them so much as hot weather, when they will lie flat with all fours extended, enjoying the blazing sunshine. In the Arctic, radiation from the white snow is extreme and the heat terrific. Carl Hagenbeck has seen polar bears stretched out to enjoy sunshine that gave leopards heat apoplexy."

I thought that was pretty funny and something I just had to share. Perhaps we should remember this the next time we see photos of polar bears floating around the arctic on chunks of melting ice. :)
Velanarris
4.4 / 5 (7) Mar 31, 2009
FYI Twain:



The grid didn't spin down any power plants. Whether your lights were on or off the juice kept flowing, and you wasted it. With your lights off, this meant only one thing....

You're willing to do what the organization proposed without any evidence or personal benefit administered.

You're now on par with the NAZIs. Grats.
Nartoon
3 / 5 (4) Apr 04, 2009
The Eco Nazi's just want us to get used to turning off the lights for the day they turn them off forever. Luddites!

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