CHICAGO, March 25, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- With less than 24 hours until Earth Hour, residents and businesses in Chicago and across Illinois are preparing to turn off their lights and join millions around the world to show their commitment to building a more sustainable future for our planet. Earth Hour, sponsored locally by ComEd, takes place from 8:30-9:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 26.
A global campaign of World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Earth Hour is being celebrated locally for the fourth consecutive year and dozens of landmarks in Illinois will symbolically go dark for the occasion. To kickoff Earth Hour, ComEd is teaming up with the Merchandise Mart to switch off the lights of the Merchandise Mart building, one of Chicago's greatest landmarks and the largest LEED-certified building in the country. Other icons such as the Chicago Theater, Navy Pier, Willis Tower, Wrigley Field and Trump International Hotel and Towers have also pledged their support and will be among more than 200 buildings and landmarks, 20 downtown hotels and 12 museums and theaters turning out their exterior lights.
"ComEd is committed to driving positive change that improves the environment, and we applaud our customers for joining us in this effort," said Anne Pramaggiore, president and chief operating officer, ComEd. "By bringing Earth Hour to Illinois we hope it inspires customers to become wiser users of energy all year long."
This year, the Earth Hour campaign encourages all participants to go "beyond the hour" and commit to taking at least one action year-round to help reduce our collective impact on the environment. This could mean riding your bike to work once a week, starting a recycling program at your school or office, or simply being more mindful of electricity use at home or work. Together, these actions add up. For more ideas on going beyond the hour, go to www.BeyondtheHour.org or www.ComEd.com/SmartIdeas.
In Chicago, more than 30 Aldermen have pledged to participate and encourage their constituents to join the effort. In addition, more than a dozen communities across the state have pledged to go dark for Earth Hour, including Batavia, Evanston, Glenview, Oak Lawn, Skokie, Vernon Hills and Warrenville.
The State of Illinois is participating in Earth Hour by dimming the lights of the Governor's Mansion in
Springfield, as well as State buildings in Chicago, including the Thompson Center and Bilandic Building.
"Earth Hour doesn't just show your commitment to climate change and energy conservation, but it also helps protect the eight million migratory birds that fly through Chicago during spring and fall migration," said Suzanne Malec-McKenna, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Environment. "Keeping the lights off at night, especially in buildings near the lakefront, helps preserve our bird population as well as saving energy."
Globally, a record of more than 133 countries and territories, and thousands of cities around the world have pledged to participate, from Swaziland to India, South Korea to Palestine, and Brazil to Uganda. Global icons such as the Eiffel Tower, the Alhambra, Table Mountain, Tokyo Tower, the Brandenberg Gate, Thailand's Royal Palace and Royal Albert Hall will all go dark to mark the event.
The Earth Hour Illinois campaign is led by a steering committee of more than 30 local civic, corporate and academic leaders. Chicago organizations participating on the steering committee include BOMA Chicago, Chicago Department of Environment, Chicago Loop Alliance, Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Schools, City of Chicago, ComEd, DePaul University, Greater North Michigan Avenue Association, Illinois Tollway, Jones Lang LaSalle, Leo Burnett, Navy Pier, NBC 5, PricewaterhouseCoopers, River North Business Association, River North Residents Association, Swissotel & Fairmont Chicago, U.S. Equities Realty, USEPA Region 5, and Walgreens.
For more information about Earth Hour, including downloadable graphics, videos and b-roll for media
ABOUT WORLD WILDLIFE FUND
WWF is the world's largest conservation organization, working in 100 countries for nearly half a century. With the support of almost 5 million members worldwide, WWF is dedicated to delivering science-based solutions to preserve the diversity and abundance of life on Earth, stop the degradation of the environment and combat climate change. Visit www.worldwildlife.org to learn more.
Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd) is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), one of the nation's largest electric utilities with approximately 5.4 million customers. ComEd provides service to approximately 3.8 million customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state's population.
Earth Hour Illinois 2011 is presented by ComEd, the third year the company has sponsored the event. ComEd's support of Earth Hour contributes to the company's robust portfolio of energy efficiency and environmental programs. Earth Hour also is a component of Exelon 2020, an ambitious plan by ComEd's parent company, Exelon, to reduce, offset, or displace more than 15 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year by 2020.