Hawaii County Observing Earth Hour Tonight

Media Release:

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Hawai’i County residents will join tens of millions of people around the world this Saturday, March 28, to demonstrate concern about the future of the planet with one simple yet remarkable act.

Canberra Earth Hour 2008

Canberra Earth Hour 2008

At 8:30 p.m., people will turn off their lights for one hour – Earth Hour – as a reminder that by working together, we all have a role to play in solving one of the most critical issues of our times.

County of Hawai’i Mayor Billy Kenoi supports the effort of student leaders at the University of Hawaii at Hilo who are coordinating the implementation of Earth Hour locally, and the Mayor encourages the entire Island of Hawai’i to participate in Earth Hour 2009 by turning off all non-essential lighting between 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Earth Hour Executive Director Andy Ridley is encouraging people to participate in any way they choose and to think beyond the one hour. For some suggestions, visit the official Earth Hour website, www.earthhour.org.

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“There are no hard and fast rules surrounding participation in Earth Hour,” Ridley said. “We only ask that you flick that switch and have fun doing whatever you choose to do during that time.

“Families with young children should feel free to turn their lights off earlier than 8:30 p.m. and for those having too much fun in the dark during the hour, don’t feel you have to limit yourself to one hour and switch back on at 9:30 p.m.”

More than 50 million people participated in Earth Hour 2008, with lights dimming at Sydney’s Opera house, Rome’s coliseum, New York’s Empire State Building and San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. This year’s participation is expected to be even larger.

Crystal Richard, assistant editor at Ke Kalahea, the UH-Hilo student newspaper, and one of the local coordinators of the event, is asking businesses, stores and restaurants to darken their buildings and neon signs and to have a candlelight dinner featuring fresh “cold” dishes on their menus for one hour. “I am also asking that each individual household participate and use the hour to talk about ways to save energy on a daily basis, or to simply look up at the stars and enjoy the darkness.”

The County of Hawai’i is already a leader in generation of alternate energy production, with 32 percent of its electricity coming from renewable sources, and by increasing its mass transit ridership by 20 percent.

The County also became the 500th member in a growing network of local governments committed to advancing climate protections and sustainability by joining ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability USA (www.iclei.org/). As a member of ICLEI, the County will build on existing efforts, sharing challenges and tips for success with other local governments and utilizing ICLEI’s staff expertise and innovative tools to continue to implement energy efficiency and renewable energy measures to reduce operating costs and minimize the County’s impact on the planet.

“We are proud to welcome Hawai’i County as the 500th ICLEI member in the United States and look forward to the unique perspective they will bring to our growing local government network,” said Michelle Wyman, ICLEI USA executive director.

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