Iconic buildings switch off lights for Earth Hour
ICONIC buildings and tourist attractions will be plunged into darkness for an hour on March 27 as part of a global campaign to combat climate change.
Leinster House, the Four Courts, Trim Castle and the Rock of Cashel will turn out the lights at 8.30pm as part of Earth Hour, now in its third year.
They will be joined in the lights-out event by some of the most famous buildings and monuments in the world including Sydney Opera House, London Eye, Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro and the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, in Dubai.
Started in 2007 by Australian environmentalists, the campaign has spread worldwide and last year one billion people from 81 countries participated.
By turning out the lights, campaigners say that millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide will be saved and people forced to think about their energy use.
Ireland produces almost 68 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year from transport, agriculture, home-heating and heavy industry.
Last year, 70MW of electricity was saved during Earth Hour in Ireland -- enough to power more than 40,000 homes and representing 2pc of total daily demand. This year, more than 1,000 cities from 106 countries, including Dublin, will take part.
Launching 2010 Earth Hour yesterday, Environment Minister John Gormley said he hoped people would make a decision to make permanent changes in how they use power by switching off lights and changing to low-energy lightbulbs.
"I'm hoping that people will not only turn off their lights for an hour, I hope people will make a decision to make a permanent change," he said.
"Through one simple action, we can deliver a powerful message about the need to reduce our carbon footprint and show the world that Ireland cares and wants to play its part in tackling climate change."
The event was launched at a special screening of the 'Age of Stupid' film which tells the story of a man living in the devastated future world of 2055, looking at old footage from 2008 and musing on how the knowledge and tools were available to stop climate change but went unused.
Tony Lowes of Friends of the Irish Environment, who is coordinating Earth Hour, said that countries as diverse as Nepal, Saudi Arabia and Mongolia were taking part.
"Earth Hour 2010 is anticipated to be one of the greatest civil actions the world has ever witnessed," he said.