Countdown to Earth Hour - Saturday 27 March

22 March 2010

With less than a week to go till Earth Hour, Wellington is gearing up for the hour-long black-out that will help show our support for global action on climate change.

Wellington City Council is supporting the World Wide Fund for Nature's big switch-off - which happens at 8.30pm on Saturday 27 March - and encouraging local people and businesses to turn off their lights and appliances for the hour.

The Council's Portfolio Leader for Climate Change, Councillor Ray Ahipene-Mercer, hopes people will enjoy a candlelit hour and take the time to think about some of the small changes we can all make to reduce our impact on the planet.

"Wellingtonians do walk, we're great users of public transport and many people are involved with planting, bush restoration and coast and stream care projects ­- but there is always more most of us can do to reduce our energy use, waste or water consumption.

"Earth Hour is now a massive world event with more than one billion people in 1000 cities expected to take part," he says. "I hope Wellingtonians will support it and get into the spirit, because it helps highlight the importance of collective action. Together we can all make a difference."

The Council will turn off non-essential lights in its buildings and facilities and close swimming pools at 7.30pm so the facilities can be shut down in time for Earth Hour. For safety reasons, traffic lights and street lights will be operating and some lights will be required in the Town Hall and Michael Fowler Centre where a kapa haka event will be taking place.

The Beehive, Parliament buildings and St Gerard's Monastery are among the larger buildings expected to switch off.  The lights at the top of the Majestic Centre will be off, along with those outside the Railway Station. Train services will run as usual. Hummingbird, Logan Brown and Sweet Mother's Kitchen are among the restaurants offering candlelit dinners and The Uke Stars and others will be performing in Civic Square from 7.00pm to 9.30pm.

Cr Ahipene-Mercer says the Council is determined to help ensure Wellington becomes a truly sustainable city and will be seeking feedback next month on its draft 2010 Climate Change Action Plan - a plan that will help the Council build on the great things that have been done so far. The plan proposes Council leadership and community action, as well as some new initiatives that will help the city plan and prepare for the impacts of climate change and reduce its emissions.