This Saturday, join thousands of communities around the globe by switching off your lights for an hour – it’s a great way to raise awareness, and build momentum towards the 350 Day of Action this 24 October. Earth Hour began in Sydney in 2007, when 2.2 million homes and businesses switched off their lights for one hour. This year, our Caribbean partners, the Caribbean Youth Environment Network will be participating in Earth Hour to show their commitment to the fight against climate change, and their support for 350ppm – read on to hear about how climate change is impacting the Caribbean region, and their plans for this weekend:

The Caribbean territories spend approximately US$500,000 an hour in energy produced from oil, which is used when we turn on a light, drive in our cars and go about our everyday living. The burning of fossil fuels in the region collectively emits around 2200 tons of invisible carbon dioxide gas every hour. These emissions equate to about the average weight of 440 elephants or 1100 standard size automobiles.

Carbon dioxide is the culprit for causing global climate change. The warming effect of carbon dioxide contributes to sea level rise as well as more frequent and intense hurricanes. The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) reports that climate change is likely to impose serious economic consequences for the Caribbean. These impacts range from the destruction of coastal buildings and roads to crop failure as well as increased medical expenses resulting from the occurrence of diseases such as dengue fever.

That is why on, March 28th, 2009 at 8:30pm (in your territory) the Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN) is encouraging householders, hoteliers and business persons to participate in “Earth Hour”, an international effort to increase awareness about climate change. By turning off all non-essential lighting and electrical appliances for one hour participants will save money on their electricity bill and also help to save the planet by reducing carbon emissions.

The Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN) is a regional youth organisation that engages in the promotion of environmentally sound practices around the region. This year the Network is focusing on combating climate change. The CYEN is working in conjunction with an American-based international climate change organization, to promote the effort in the Caribbean.

Earth hour began in Sydney Australia in 2007 and has become a global movement with an estimated one billion participants. Global landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Rome’s Coliseum and the Sydney Opera House will all stand in darkness this year.

For further information please contact Mariama Branker at tel: 246 4376055 or by email [email protected].