CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today that the State of Illinois will participate in Earth Hour from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday. Earth Hour is a public awareness event created by World Wildlife Fund that encourages businesses and residents to join in turning off the lights for one hour on March 29th, 2008, to demonstrate that “individual action on a mass scale can help change our planet for the better.” More than 30 cities on six continents around the world are participating in Earth Hour. Chicago was chosen as the flagship Earth Hour city in the United States, and we will be joined by Atlanta, Phoenix, and San Francisco, as well as Copenhagen, Toronto, Melbourne, Brisbane, Bangkok, Dubai, Dublin, Christchurch and Tel Aviv globally.
“Earth Hour’s purpose is to highlight the difference all of us – from large organizations to individual people – can make regarding the problem of climate change. We will be joined by the City of Chicago and hundreds of local businesses, residents, and organizations in conserving energy and demonstrating our commitment to combating climate change”, said Gov. Blagojevich. “Our hope is that people will see how easy it is to take action against climate change and join us in celebrating Earth Hour. By working together and thinking of ways to change our habits in the long-term to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, each one of us can make a positive impact to help combat the effects of global warming.”
“By supporting Earth Hour, the State of Illinois is sending a powerful message to the world about its commitment to finding solutions to climate change,” said Carter Roberts, president and CEO of World Wildlife Fund. “We very much appreciate Governor Blagojevich’s support of Earth Hour, an event which symbolizes that by working together we can make a difference in the fight against climate change.”
As part of Earth Hour, the State of Illinois will turn off the lights in state-occupied buildings in Chicago, including the James R. Thompson Center, the Michael Bilandic Building and 401 S. Clinton. This includes all non-essential and decorative outside lights. Elevators, security lights, hallway lights, stairwell lights, emergency lights and safety lights will not be turned off. All street lights and lights vital to public safety will remain on. American, State and POW Flags flying outside the James R. Thompson Center and the Michael A. Bilandic Building will remain lit – allowing the flags to continue to fly.
In addition, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has placed posters in rest areas urging the public to join the Earth Hour effort by turning off non-essential electrical items, such as lights and appliances.
“As human beings, we all have a responsibility to preserve our world for future generations,” said IDOT Secretary Milton R. Sees. “As a Department, we recognize that responsibility and are participating in Earth Hour and Earth Day events, as well as continuing our green initiatives. We urge everyone to do their part and protect our environment.”
The State of Illinois has initiated year-round efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fight climate change. Gov. Blagojevich’s Green Government Initiatives have saved the state millions of dollars and reduced the amount of waste going into landfills. The sale of state surplus items on iBid (www.ibid.illinois.gov
) puts used items back into use, instead of in the trash.
Central Management Services (CMS) implemented several energy efficient practices such as deploying energy efficient computers that have saved the State of Illinois over $1 million dollars in energy costs. In addition, CMS has advanced online publishing – saving over 3 million pieces of paper in 2007 alone. The state recycles used tires, automotive anti-freeze, paper, aluminum cans and fluorescent bulbs, to name a few. And CMS strives to purchase “green” items, including Hybrid and E-85 vehicles, printer toner cartridges, paper, janitorial supplies and even toilet paper.