Saturday, March 29, 2008
Christchurch celebrates Earth Hour!
People across Christchurch switched-off in a big way for Earth Hour tonight! 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 13.1% 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 13.1 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.