Earth Hour Live

Tonight, millions of people are joining together, and turning off their lights to help make a difference and raise awareness about the issue of global warming. See how the world is taking part, with these live news feeds and images from participating cities. Don't forget to share your Earth Hour moments too. Remember - turn off your lights!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Suva city leads global climate campaign

14 February 2008 - Suva will join major cities around the world on March 29 at 8 p.m. when it turns off its lights for one hour – an event known as Earth Hour – to symbolize that governments, businesses and people can make a difference in the fight against global warming.

Earth Hour began last March in Sydney in 2007 when 2.2 million people and 2100 Sydney businesses turned off their lights for one hour. The event is going global this year, and includes more than 20 cities, including Tel Aviv, Copenhagen, Chicago, Toronto, Manila and Tel Aviv.

The Lord Mayor of Suva, Honourable Ratu Peni Volavola said, “We urge our fellow citizens to not waste electricity and to show that our city is committed to the fight against climate change. As a nation of islands we are more vulnerable to rising sea levels, particularly for smaller islands and atolls, where rising sea levels are felt more acutely, causing alarm to so many people.”

The mayor added, “I’m proud that the people of Fiji will join this international event, and I encourage all businesses and residences to participate. Although our emissions are perhaps a “drop in the ocean” compared to those of more developed and bigger countries, our actions will remind them that if we can make this commitment, then it is all the more reason why they also commit themselves to this noble cause. After all, we share the same planet."

Ashwini Prabha, the WWF SPPO Communications Coordinator, said the response from the businesses asked to participate so far has been good. “The businesses we’ve contacted have been very enthusiastic, and we are reaching out to as many companies as we can.

The event will include a public ceremony in Suva city that will be both informative and entertaining, said Ms. Prabha. “People in Sydney at last year’s Earth Hour really enjoyed themselves,” she said. Restaurants organised candlelit dinners, people took picnics in places where they could enjoy seeing the spectacle of the city’s lights going off when the event started. We expect the people of Suva will add their own Pacific flair to the event to make it a memorable occasion.

Suva is the only city in the Pacific Islands Region that is participating in the event, said Ms. Prabha. Since Suva will be the first city in the world to turn off its lights for the event,” she said, “we expect it will draw good attention from the world’s media, making people around the world more aware about the threats of climate change to Pacific Island countries, as well bring good publicity in general to the city and Fiji.

She added that Earth Hour 2008 is just a start. We expect this will be an annual event, with more cities in Fiji, the Pacific and the world joining in. And with the awareness and excitement created, governments, businesses and people will be taking positive steps in everyday life to prevent the climate changes that threaten our islands, our lives, and our identities.

Dale Withington, the WWF South Pacific Programme Representative said that Earth Hour 2008 will spread the message that tackling climate change is a shared global responsibility.

Pacific Island countries emit only a very small percentage of such gases globally, but we all have to do our part,” he said. “If people are in a sinking boat, everyone bails the water, some with big buckets, some with cups, and some with their hands. Everyone has to contribute to make a difference. In regards to dealing with the threat of climate change, some of the countries with the largest buckets, so to speak, are not yet doing enough. But events such as Earth Hour create a lot of awareness and enthusiasm and moral pressure for change.

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