By David Beard
Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, San Francisco -- but not Boston, at least so far -- are committed to turning off non-essential nighttime lighting in downtown skyscrapers and other buildings for Earth Hour '09 on March 28, the World Wildlife Fund says.
The organization says that over 400 cities eventually joined up last year for the one-hour show of support for global action on climate change.
Just because Boston is not among the initial list of supporters does not mean that it will not join, Dan Forman, a Wildlife Fund spokesman, said ahead of the group's official announcement Wednesday.
"We're putting up a comprehensive 'kit' for people to lobby local officials to include their community in the event,'' Forman said.
The 2008 event, dramatic but occasionally criticized as a symbolic gesture, involved communities with tens of millions of people ''going dark.'' Forman said communities serving 1 billion people will be included in this year's event, which he called as "the largest climate event in history.''
Other participating cities include Auckland, Cape Town, Copenhagen, Dubai, Helsinki, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Kuala Lumpur, Lisbon, London, Manila, Mexico City, Moscow, Oslo, Rome, Singapore, Sydney, Tel Aviv and Toronto.
Forman spoke in an interview hours after President-elect Obama met with former Vice President Al Gore and said America must move swiftly on cllimate change. "The time for delay is over, the time for denial is over," Obama said.
Yesterday, a series of mayors echoed his words.
“We cannot afford to ignore the impacts of climate change,'' Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, whose city is joining Earth Hour this year, said in a statement. "The simple act of turning off the lights is a powerful symbol of our commitment to fight global warming. I’ll be turning off the lights in my own home and I encourage everyone to do the same.”
Mexico City's 9 million residents will see their buildings dimmed beginning at 8:30 local time like other cities worldwide, said the region's governor, Marcelo Ebrard.
"Earth Hour makes us aware that climate change is the single most serious threat to the ecosystems of this city, the country, and the entire world," Ebrard said in a statement.Go here for more information.
Readers, should Boston participate in Earth Hour this year? Will you? Did you last year? What do you think of the event? Let us know in our comments section.
About the green blog
Helping Boston live a greener, more environmentally friendly life.
Christopher Reidy covers business for the Globe.
Doug Struck covers environmental issues from Boston.
Glenn Yoder produces Boston.com's Lifestyle pages.
Eric Bauer is site architect of Boston.com.
Bennie DiNardo is the Boston Globe's deputy managing editor/multimedia.
Dara Olmsted is a local sustainability professional focusing on green living.