Friday, March 27, 2009

Turn out the Lights

In what promises to be the largest demonstration of public concern about climate change ever attempted, tomorrow, citizens around the world are encouraged to turn out the lights for an “Earth Hour” on Saturday, March 28, at 8.30 p.m. Billions could be flipping the switch with you across the globe.

This year, Earth Hour has been transformed into the world’s first global election, between Earth and global warming.

For the first time in history, people of all ages, nationalities, races and backgrounds have the opportunity to use their light switches as their votes – Switching off your lights is a vote for Earth, or leaving them on is a vote for global warming. I urge you, of course to VOTE EARTH and help reach the target of 1 billion votes, which will be presented to world leaders at the Global Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen 2009.

A year ago, I encouraged you to do the same thing and an estimated 50 million people worldwide joined in turning off their lights. This year, U.N. headquarters in New York will turn off the lights, along with landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris or the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Here in Kansas City the lights on City Hall and the Convention Center space stations will be turned off. Special thanks to Cathy Jolly and the City Council for leading the effort at the City.

I have asked that the federal buildings in Missouri’s Fifth District turn off their lights during this year’s Earth Hour, and the General Services Administration has answered the call. Federal property managers will turn off as many lights as possible from 8:30 to 9:30. Only in cases where the lights are on for security measures or building safety will they be left on.

I am very proud our GSA will cast its vote for the Earth, and prouder still of their commitment to energy efficiency. According to Charlie Cook at our GSA, their energy conservation program began in 1973. Since then, cost-avoidance and energy-conservation measures have delivered more than $2.25 billion in savings nationwide. Between 1985 and 2005, GSA successfully reduced energy consumption in federal buildings by 30 percent, and their efforts are continuing. The ARRA committed $4.5 billion for GSA to spend on turning existing federal facilities into high-performing green buildings.

So, remember to cast your vote for the Earth tomorrow and turn off your lights from 8:30-9:30 p.m. Thank you!