On Saturday, hundreds of millions of people will take part in what could be the biggest global movement ever. Earth Hour — at 8.30 p.m. local time — is a unique opportunity for us all to demand action to combat climate change.
From London to Beijing, from Cape Town to New York, in more than a thousand towns and cities, citizens will send a clear signal to the world's leaders that they want to keep the lid on global warming.
Earth Hour is far more than a symbolic gesture. By switching off your lights for 60 minutes, you can let politicians and decision-makers know that you will be watching them closely — all the way to Copenhagen in December when they meet for crucial climate change talks.
You will be telling them they must agree a deal that will not only keep global warming below the critical 2°C threshold but will help kick-start a green global economy. On Saturday evening, people just like you will be asking their political leaders to do the right thing.
We're surrounded by gloom and doom. Economies are in meltdown, the environment is being wrecked and global warming threatens us all. It would be easy to bury our heads in the sand and hope it all just goes away. But the reality is that there is plenty of good news. Recent studies show it is entirely possible to avoid the worst effects of global warming using existing technologies.
Switching to clean, renewable energy, stopping the destruction of the world's great forests and investing in energy efficiency could cut damaging carbon emissions by nearly half in just thirty years. And what's more, we can afford it. The trillions of dollars currently being poured into stimulus packages are a fantastic opportunity to move to a low-carbon economy which will boost jobs and growth and put us on course to manage the worst effects of climate change.
Huge though it promises to be, Earth Hour is just the start of something much bigger. All those hundreds of millions of people — including you — who switch their lights off for sixty minutes will be part of a movement to secure a better future for our children and grandchildren. 2009 is a crucial year for the climate — and you can be part of it by switching off your lights for an hour on Saturday.