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Planeta Azul staff

As the lights come back on in the Cook Islands, the 134th country to celebrate Earth Hour 2011 – a record breaking year for the annual lights-out event – the global community has shown it is united in commitment to a sustainable future.

MEXICO CITY, Mexico; March 28, 2011.- Around the world, Earth Hour was embraced by the global community, transcending race, culture, age and economics as individuals took leadership in their communities in the pursuit of a cleaner and safer planet.

In 2011, Earth Hour asked the hundreds of millions of people taking part in the one hour switch-off to take the next step and go beyond the hour, using Earth Hour to commit to ongoing action for the planet.

“The Beyond the Hour call to action has been unanimously answered by people worldwide,” said Andy Ridley, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Earth Hour. “From school children in Singapore, to Heads of State from the UK, to Australia, Pakistan and Colombia, people have shown that Earth Hour has evolved beyond lights-out.

“This year’s event has illustrated without question what can be achieved when people unite with a common purpose and rally to action.”  

The Crown Casino Hotel, Melbourne, Australia.

As Earth Hour progressed towards the conclusion of the 2011 lights off event across the planet the Americas celebrated the arrival of the global movement with a plethora of lights-off events across the region. Brazil continued the stronger showing for Earth Hour in emerging economies, as the wildly successful call for action on the environment continued to roll around the globe.

Hundreds of millions in thousands of cities, towns and communities in a record 134 countries were expected to have participated by the time the lights out and pledge action beyond the hour completes its passage from New Zealand on one side of the International Date Line to the former New Zealand dependency of the Cook Islands on the other.

Brazil set its own record with 124 cities taking part this year compared to the still creditable 98 of 2010. This included around 2/3 of the state capitals and coverage across all 5 Brazilian regions. More cities and towns are likely to reveal Earth Hour activities in the coming days.

A huge and emotional event involving more than 3,000 was held in Rio, in front of Arcos da Lapa, a colonial era aqueduct which faded into darkness for the event for the first time.  Popular Brazilian singer Toni Garrido warmed up the crowd for addresses from Brazil Environmental Minister, Izabella Teixeira, and Rio de Janeiro Mayor, Eduardo Paes.

The leading landmark to fade into the night sky was Rio’s Christ the Redeemer statue, but it was accompanied by more than 300 others including the Copacabana Beach it looks down on, the National Congress (Brasilia), Estaida Bridge (São Paulo) and the Amazon Opera House (Manaus). Generous corporate support from Banco do Brasil, Coca-Cola, TIM, HSBC and Rossi supported the events. 

In Juazeiro do Norte in north eastern Seará state, the leading attraction to go dark was the 27m statue of Padre (Father) Cicero, built in 1969 and the central focus of what is considered a major pilgrimage centre and grassroots religious centre. 

Celebrations in Mato Gross do Sul, home to the Pantonal wetlands, kicked off in the state capital, Campo Grande.  In the Praça (plaza) do Rádio a countdown led by the city mayor, Nelson Trad Filho marked Campo Grande’s third participation in Earth Hour.  Capoeira circles, a samba school and a local band accompanied the switching off of various icons including the historical building Morada dos Baís. Companies also took their own initiative in switching off.

For the third year in a row, the Amazonas Theatre, one of the biggest icons of the city of Manaus, State of Amazonas, switched off its lights for an hour, as did many other “manauaras”, symbols like the Praça da Saudade, the Amazonas Shopping and the State Prosecutor building. In the centre of the capital, artists recited poetry and short stories, and performed musical pieces. According to Michelle Andrews, the objective was to revive old Amazonian ways. “Like small talk on door steps, an exchange of ideas under candle light on a sidewalk,” she said.

Capital Rio Branco and the towns of Xapuri, Santa Rosa do Purus and Sena Madureira in environmentally conscious Acre State took part officially in the Earth Hour movement. In Rio Branco, the state government palace had the lights turned off for one hour. 

Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Before and after Earth Hour 2011.

“It is not a matter of saving energy, but thinking about what we have been doing to the world”, said state secretary for the Environment, Edgard de Deus, saying Acre’s participation in Earth Hour shows a concern of the local society about conservation and environmental issues.

Celebrations in Xapuri including turning out the lights of the house where rubber tapper, environmentalist and union leader Chico Mendes was assassinated in 1988 for fighting deforestation. His life may have been extinguished but his example inspired a generation who have had a gradual but profound impact on deforestation levels and human rights across Brazil.

Elenira Mendes, daughter of Chico Mendes, was pleased that her father was honoured as part of the global lights-out event. “It’s a unique symbolism, of great importance. My father, who has shown to the world the Amazon and the importance of the forest, would be very happy to know that our house has been part of this worldwide movement,” she said.

So succesful were the efforts of Brazil, that the Twitter hashtag #horadoplaneta (Portugese for Earth Hour) began “trending” globally during that time.

Girl Scouts across the United States of America – from Louisiana to Missouri to Utah and Indiana – led the action for Earth Hour. In Los Angeles, local troops gathered for a candlelit vigil while 500 Colorado Girl Scouts created a giant glowing ‘GS’ on the steps of the State Capital Building in Denver.

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Publicado por en marzo 28 2011. Archivado bajo Internacionales. Puedes seguir las respuestas de esta entrada por el RSS 2.0. Los comentarios y pings están cerrados por el momento.

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