Panamanians joined more than a billion people around the world to mark Earth Hour on Saturday.
The campaign was initiated by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF), and people from over 4,000 cities in countries and territories around the world ,switched off their lights for one hour between 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on Saturday.
In Panama, apart from those who Marked Earth Hour by switching off lights, TV’s and even computers at home there was a public awareness ceremony at Panama La Vieja, where the lights illuminating the cathedral ruins were doused accompanied by a counts down by the crowd, and hundreds of attendees, undeterred by eco-skepticism sat in the dark looking at the moon or the name Panama spelled out with candles. Companies Like HSBC, La Prensa,and McDonalds also participated in the program supported locally by , the City of Knowledge, the National Environmental Authority, MarViva, the National Association for Environmental Conservation, the Office of the First Lady and the General Secretariat of Energy.he City of Knowledge, National Environmental Authority, MarViva, the National Association for Environmental Conservation, the Office of the First Lady and the General Secretariat of Energy.
Earlier the crowdfronting the old cathedral listened to speeches from the organizers and to music and song from local bands and entertainers, including, a subtle touch, a band made up of garbage collectors. No high level politicians, made it to the podium but the local representative was there to encourage the crowd to follow the Three R’s of the environmental movement, Reduce, Re-use and Recycle
City mayor Bosco Vallarino was also missing, which surprised no one in light of the city’s garbage problems and his thumbs down reception when he appeared on stage at Panama’s Jazz Festival.
At 8:30 p.m. local time Saturday, the remote Chatham Islands off the coast of New Zealand became the first of 125 countries and territories across the world taking part in the global "lights out" event, setting in motion a 24-hour wave of hope and action on climate change.
In Beijing at 8:30 p.m. local time, the Forbidden City went dark for the "Earth Hour" for the first time. Joining the ancient royal palace are the modern architectural marvels, the "Bird Nest" and the "Water Cube," both Olympic venues. Hundreds of people held out glowing sticks to form a head-down arrow and the English letters "CO2," voicing their call to reduce carbon-dioxide.
In Sydney, Australia, where the WWF program originated, thousands watched as the lights on the famed bridge and Opera house went out (see pictures sent by Megan-Myfanwy Young to Newsroom).
Europe's best known landmarks — including the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Big Ben Rome's Colosseum and the Leaning Towerof Pisa— fell dark
In the United States, the lights went out at the Empire State Building in New York, the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., and the Coca-Cola headquarters in Atlanta, among many other sites in the Eastern time zone.The lights stayed on at the White House, U.S. Capitol and the Lincoln and Washington monuments, though they were switched off at the Smithsonian Institution and the National Portrait Gallery.
"We have everyone from Casablanca to the safari camps of Namibia and Tanzania taking part," said Greg Bourne, CEO of WWF in Australia, which started Earth Hour in 2007 in Sydney before it spread to every continent.
"It's saying to our politicians — you can't give up on climate change," said WWF spokeswoman Debbie Chapman in the U.K.
Buckingham Palace and the British Parliament building were went dark to support the campaign, along with other famed London landmarks including St. Paul's Cathedral and the Royal Albert Hall, as well as Edinburgh Castle in Scotland
A multi-religion community in Manila, Philippines gathered to share prayers, and reflections at which priest John Leydon told participants that their presence ``signifies your love for our planet and that you're we're willing to do your share for its long-term survival.”
With only the bright moon and candles as the sources of illumination, inter-faith prayers were recited for Mother Earth.
Photo credit : http://myfanwy.posterous.com