Mayor Rahm Emanuel was awarded the Earth Hour Climate Leaders Award and $30,000 to support efforts to engage residents in climate action. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) called Chicago one of the nation’s leading cities addressing climate change, when Chicago was among 29 U.S. cities participating in WWF’s Earth Hour City Challenge, an annual initiative recognizing sustainable cities. Other Earth Hour Climate Leaders included San Francisco and Cleveland.
Chicago’s observance of Earth Hour fits squarely with Mayor Emanuel’s environmental priorities identified in Sustainable Chicago 2015, the action agenda that the City launched in September 2012. "It is important the citizens of Chicago understand the impact climate change has on our city,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Earth Hour shows our commitment to being environmentally proactive and encouraging environmentally-friendly practices to improve the quality of life for Chicagoans.”
“Chicago is a global leader in working to prepare for the climate-driven changes and extreme weather we are all experiencing,” said WWF’s Keya Chatterjee, Senior Director of international climate policy. “Chicago’s new initiatives around renewable energy and electric vehicles are path breaking, and we are proud to support its ongoing work to engage residents in addressing climate change and its impacts.”
The highlight of Earth Hour each year is witnessing a local iconic landmark go symbolically dark for one hour, at 8:30 p.m. local time. This year, the City of Chicago with Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd), ComEd, and Navy Pier are holding a “lights out” ceremony featuring Navy Pier’s world-famous Ferris wheel and surrounding structures. Ald. Reilly will be accompanied by Orland Park resident Kathy Reiser who correctly answered a trivia question on ComEd’s Facebook page for Earth Hour.
“This is a creative way to deliver a serious message to everyone in Chicago and across the state,” said Ald. Reilly. “Turning off the lights to the Ferris wheel is a small act that is part of a much larger picture. We can all reduce our environmental footprint by conserving energy.”
“Navy Pier is proud to join ComEd, the City of Chicago and people across the world in celebrating Earth Hour,” said Marilynn Gardner, President and CEO of Navy Pier. “In concert with Earth Hour’s mission, the Pier strives to incorporate the latest technologies and processes to help sustain and protect our world for future generations.”
Navy Pier has made a commitment to stay green. Efficient energy use is a key strategy for Navy Pier to achieve this goal and over recent years has reduced energy consumption to save a total of 500,000 kilowatt hours per year. The iconic Ferris wheel has become 50 percent more efficient by cutting the wattage of its 16,000 light bulbs in half. Navy Pier continues to implement new business practices built around environmental sustainability.
“At ComEd, we are committed to providing information to our customers on how to reduce their energy usage, save money and help the environment,” said Fidel Marquez, senior vice president of Governmental and External Affairs, ComEd. “ComEd’s celebration of Earth Hour with the City of Chicago and Navy Pier is another way that we give back to Chicago and all of the communities we serve.”
ComEd’s support of Earth Hour strengthens the company’s focus on environmental programs and energy-efficiency education. ComEd provides customers with energy saving information at www.comed.com/smartideas.
Navy Pier’s Ferris wheel is just one of hundreds of landmarks throughout Chicago turning off their lights in support of Earth Hour. Other recognizable Chicago buildings include Chase Tower, Chicago Theatre, CNA Center, Daley Center, James R. Thompson Center, Willis Tower, Shedd Aquarium, Soldier Field, Trump International Hotel & Tower, the Wrigley Building, 190 S. La Salle, 311 S. Wacker, and all Chicago U.S. Equities buildings. In Springfield, the Capitol Building and the Governor's Mansion will participate. Other Chicagoland communities participating include Aurora, Buffalo Grove, Deerfield, DeKalb, Evanston, Homer Glen, Naperville, Niles, Skokie, St. Charles and Wilmette.
The event will take place while public, private, and non-profit partners participate and take environmental action throughout the city, joining millions of others in observing Earth Hour by turning off non-essential lights. Earth Hour, now in its seventh year, is the world’s largest annual environmental action event. Created by the World Wildlife Fund in 2007, Earth Hour is celebrated across the globe as households, businesses, and landmarks symbolically switch off their non-essential lights for one hour to raise awareness about climate change.
“Earth Hour is an annual display of how our imagination can inspire and engage hundreds of millions to focus on the one thing that unites us – our planet,” said Chatterjee. “We look forward to seeing Chicago and other U.S. communities go ‘lights out’ to help protect our planet.”
Last year’s Earth Hour was the largest in the history of the campaign. Nearly 7,000 cities, towns and municipalities participated across 152 countries and territories on all seven continents. This year’s “lights out” events feature some of the world’s most recognized landmarks, including the Forbidden City, Eiffel Tower, Buckingham Palace, Golden Gate Bridge, Table Mountain, Christ the Redeemer statue and Sydney Opera House.
To learn more about Chicago’s environmental priorities and download a copy of Sustainable Chicago 2015, the Mayor’s environmental action agenda, visit http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/progs/env/sustainable_chicago2015.html
Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd) is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), the nation’s leading competitive energy provider, with approximately 6.6 million customers. ComEd provides service to approximately 3.8 million customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state’s population.
ABOUT NAVY PIER
Located on Lake Michigan, just east of Chicago’s downtown, Navy Pier® (www.navypier.com) is the top-visited tourist and leisure destination in the Midwest, welcoming more than nine million visitors annually for entertainment, family attractions, cultural and educational events, as well as business meetings and tradeshows. Originally opened in 1916 as a shipping and recreation facility, it is now one of the country’s most unique recreation and exposition facilities, showcasing more than 50 acres of parks, gardens, restaurants, shops, attractions, sightseeing and dining cruise boats, and more. Navy Pier is accessible by car, CTA Bus, taxi, bike or on foot.