Submitted by Margaret Schwender
Earth Hour 2016 Press Release
Climate change (global warming) is happening all around us and its pace is accelerating. From melting glaciers to increasingly intense weather patterns, climate change is already affecting life on Earth. In the Northwest, scientists recently found a link between the warmer ocean temperatures in 2014 and the massive die-off of sea stars due to wasting disease and a virus. If you have spent any time looking into Olympic peninsula and Pacific coast tide pools in the past three years, you may have noticed the devastating lack of colorful orange and purple sea stars.
According to two new studies, researchers have found a clear cause and effect relationship between global warming and sea level rise based on science—warm water expands; cold water contracts. Until the 1880s and the world’s industrialization, researchers found that the Earth’s sea level was actually on a downward trend. However, in the 20th century, sea levels on Earth are rising several times faster than they have in the past 2,800 years and are accelerating because of man-made global warming.
Despite using different methods to project future sea level rise, the two studies came to similar conclusions. If greenhouse gas pollution continues at the current rate, both studies project sea level increases of about 22 to 52 inches (57 to 131 centimeters). If countries fulfill the treaty agreed upon last year in Paris and limit further warming to another 2 degrees Fahrenheit, sea level rise would be in the 11 to 22 inch range (28 to 56 centimeters).
In a bold statement of collective concern for our planet, millions of people will unite by turning off their lights for one hour—Earth Hour—on March 19, 2016 starting at 8:30 pm local time. Starting in New Zealand, Earth Hour will follow the sunset around the world. The goal is to raise awareness of the negative impacts of global energy consumption on climate change.
Led by World Wildlife Fund, Earth Hour is the largest event of its kind in the world. International landmarks including the Golden Gate Bridge, Empire State Building, Eiffel Tower and the Great Pyramids as well as the city skylines of Las Vegas, Hong Kong and Tel Aviv will all turn off their lights.
But Earth Hour isn’t just for national landmarks and big cities—anyone can participate, whether it be individuals like you and me or schools, businesses, organizations, and our state and local governments. In one week, Mayor Amy Walen of Kirkland will proclaim 8:30 – 9:30 pm on March 19, 2016 as “Earth Hour” in Kirkland, and will call upon all residents and businesses to turn off their lights for one hour and join the City of Kirkland in pledging their support for climate protection.
Sustainable Kirkland is partnering with the City of Kirkland to ask you to join us by committing to turn off the non-essential lights in your building for Earth Hour.
By working together, our community can send a strong message that we care about the environment and support action to save our planet for future generations. As President Obama noted in 2015: “We are the first generation to feel the effects of climate change and the last generation that can do something about it.” For more information on supporting Earth Hour and listening to an inspirational video, go to http://www.earthhour.org.
We hope that you will join us and help make Earth Hour 2016 a success.
Vivian Weber & Members of Sustainable Kirkland
Sources of Information
Scientists now link massive starfish die-off, warming ocean
Seas are rising way faster than any time in past 2,800 years
WWF Earth Hour