Monday, March 31, 2008

San Francisco Join's Earth Hour — WWF's Global Energy Saving Promotion

When we leave our offices after a long day of greening the promotional world, we shut down our computers and turn out the lights. The evening ritual is really pretty easy, and it makes our monthly energy bills a little more bearable.

Many of our neighbors downtown have opted to maintain a tradition of leaving their offices illuminated at night. San Francisco's glowing skyline makes for a romantic view, but it's largely unnecessary and the power plants that keep those pretty lights shining produce greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

This weekend San Francisco was among 35 major cities worldwide to participate in Earth Hour, a worldwide campaign sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund to highlight the threat of climate change. This great grassroots program encouraged individual households, corporations and government offices to go dark for at least an hour. According to WWF officials, up to 10 million people participated. Lights were dimmed from the Golden Gate Bridge (see inset), to the Sydney Opera House, to Rome's Colosseum, to Buddhist Temples in Thailand.

During the event here in San Francisco, more than 6,000 free compact flourescent lightbulbs were given away to promote the importance of energy efficiency. Nice little swag tie-in. Eco-conscious Bay Area based search engine, Google, found a way to promte Earth Hour to millions of visitors worldwide. All day long, Google users encountered reverse type against a black background and these words: "We've turned the lights out. Now it's your turn."

Some were skeptical about the effectiveness of an event encouraging people to turn out their lights for an hour. Indeed, the energy savings is a drop in the bucket. But the event is a wonderful way to get people involved and raise awareness about the links of excess energy usage to producing greenhouse gases. Besides, sometmes it's fun to be in the dark. We applaud the WWF and all participants for a world class sustainable promotion that created a great vibe, generated buzz, and didn't require any cheap plastic giveaways.