For Earth Hour 2011, the Australian and UK Prime Ministers, Julia Gillard and David Cameron, have both recorded video messages (embedded) endorsing Earth Hour, and unsurprisingly, have used the opportunity to push their governments’ low carbon policies and initiatives.
Earth Hour 2011: Australia
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has said the simple and powerful idea of Earth Hour is a wonderful example of Australian creativity and confidence at its best. Earth Hour began in Sydney in 2007 and has grown to become an international phenomenon.
Gillard has used her Earth Hour 2011 video message as an opportunity to point out that for Australia, climate change will mean more extreme bushfire conditions and droughts, increased cyclone intensity, and bleaching of coral reefs.
Gillard has also asserted that “acting now (on climate change) is the best way to set our country on the path to a high skill, low carbon future.” Gillard has said that her commitment to going beyond the hour for Earth Hour 2011 is that she will,
“do everything in my power to deliver a carbon price. I believe 2011 is the year Australia will choose action”
There is currently a heated debate going on in Australia about this very issue. The outcome is likely to make or break the current minority government.
Australian government buildings will have lights switched off for Earth Hour this Saturday night, from 8:30pm.
Earth Hour 2011: United Kingdom
British Prime Minister David Cameron has said he sends his very best to WWF’s Earth Hour, and has asserted that he wants his government to be “the greenest government ever”.
He has outlined some of his government’s initiatives to that end, including investing in carbon capture and storage pilots and offshore wind projects, insulating homes, and starting work on a green investment bank to spur private sector cleantech innovation.
Cameron also points out that,
“government cannot meet the challenge of climate change on its own. As well as a low carbon government, we need a low carbon society.”
He points out that Earth Hour is a huge symbol of global solidarity, and an inspiring display of international commitment.
Earth Hour 2011: Official Video
Earth Hour 2011 is this coming weekend, on Saturday 26 March at 8:30pm local time.
I’ll be taking part, again. The main thing I’m going to do to go beyond the hour this year, amongst other things, is to continue to develop this very blog further :)
You’ve got to hand it to Earth Hour, as well as growing to the level where the event is being used by heads of state to help garner popular support for their own low carbon policies, they do produce inspiring videos:
Disclosure: I worked for Earth Hour Global on social media for the Earth Hour 2009 campaign, and for the Vote Earth campaign in the lead-up to the Copenhagen climate conference.