In 2009, 62 countries including India will switch their lights off for one hour in support of Earth Hour, WWF's climate change initiative that invites voluntary participation from individuals, businesses, governments and communities to show their support for action on climate change.
In 2008, more than 50 million people around the globe participated in the project that began in 2007 in Sydney, Australia, with a participation of just 2 million (See: London plunges into darkness to raise awareness on global warming). In 2009, Earth Hour, aims to have 1 billion people in 1,000 cities switch off their lights.
The campaign, which hopes to reach out to more than one billion people in 1,000 cities around the world, asks individuals, businesses and governments to switch off lights for just one hour on Saturday 28 March 2009 at 8:30 pm to create a platform to support action on climate change.
India will also join in Earth Hour 2009 in the global fight against climate change. As one of the most pressing challenges, climate change is in no way less alarming than the evident threat of terrorism that the nation is currently reeling under. Lights will be dimmed on buildings and pivotal landmarks in key cities of India on 28 March 09 and thousands of people in several cities of India will be coming together to participate in the Earth Hour campaign.
Earth Hour aims to demonstrate unprecedented solidarity and provide a visual global mandate that will mount pressure on world leaders meeting in Copenhagen in December 2009 to strike a new global deal on climate change.
The lights-out initiative, which began in Sydney in 2007 as a public awareness raising campaign, has grown significantly over the past two years and now has 71 cities ready to flick the switch in 2009. Cities already committed include Los Angeles, Las Vegas, London, Hong Kong, Sydney, Rome, Manila, Oslo, Cape Town, Warsaw, Lisbon, Singapore, Istanbul, Mexico City, Toronto, Dubai and Copenhagen.
At 8.30 pm on Saturday 28 March, the world will witness some of the most recognisable landmarks throughout dim the lights in support of decisive action on climate change.
Icons switching off include England's National Football Museum, the world's tallest hotel building in Dubai – the Burj Dubai, the world's tallest tower - the CN Tower in Toronto and Quirinale in Rome, the official residence of the President Giorgio Napolitano of Italy.
''When leaders gather in Copenhagen in December 2009 to negotiate a new deal on climate they must feel that the eyes of the world are upon them." director general of WWF International Jim Leape said, "Earth Hour provides an opportunity for the public to send a powerful signal that they are watching and expect action.''
Executive director of Earth Hour Global, Andy Ridley, said, ''Recent events have shown that the world can unite in a time of crisis. The global economic crunch is an example where, when it matters, decisive multi-lateral action by powerful nations has been shown to be achievable.''
Ridley also said 2009 was the planet's 'destiny year', with critical decisions needed to be made at the Copenhagen meeting on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
''2009 is the year we decide the future of the earth. It is the year the world finally agrees on a plan to massively reduce carbon emissions across the globe. This is the time to invest in new ways of doing business in a new low carbon economy. We must all step over the line together. The sum of our actions today can change history and secure the future of our planet.''
The extensive WWF conservation network also has more than 30 teams working in countries such as Brazil, Greece, India, Peru, Spain, Switzerland and France, ready to support a local Earth Hour roll out.
One of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organisations, with almost five million supporters and a global network active in more than 100 countries, WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.