Sydney's Harbour Bridge and Opera House temporarily went dark today as nations across the western Pacific turned out the lights for Earth Hour 2010.
Earth Hour 2010 begins
Sydney's Harbour Bridge and Opera House temporarily went dark today as nations across the western Pacific turned out the lights for Earth Hour 2010 to call for action on climate change. The symbolic one-hour switch-off, first held in Sydney in 2007, has become an annual global event and organisers World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said they expect this year's to be the biggest so far. The remote Chatham Islands was the first of more than 100 nations and territories to turn off the power at 8.30pm. local time, in a rolling event around the globe that ends just across the International Dateline in Samoa 24 hours later.
Event co-founder Andy Ridley said that 126 countries and territories had so far signed up, with thousands of special events scheduled, including a lights-out party on Sydney's northern beaches and an Earth Hour 'speed dating' contest. From a boat on Sydney harbour, one witness said the city was already in darkness hours before the event, low clouds and a near full-moon adding an eery feeling to the nation's largest city.
In the Chatham Islands, diesel generators that supply power locally were switched off. Other early participants included New Zealand, Fiji and Tuvalu, where driving was halted temporarily. The number of participants is significantly up on 2009, when 88 countries and territories and more than 4,000 towns and cities took part. Organisers have estimated between 500 million and 700 million people were involved last year.