BONN, Germany, 2009-03-29 Environmental activists said Earth Hour was a huge success.
"The world said yes to climate action, now governments must follow," said Kim Carstensen, head of World Wildlife Fund's Global Climate Initiative, after millions of people worldwide followed the call to turn off lights for an hour. "Last night's message from the masses was loud and clear: delay no more, real action now!" he said.
Crowds assembled in New York's Times Square to see the giant electronic billboards go dark. One teenage girl was thrilled initially, until she discovered that her wallet had gone missing during the dark period, and that her girlfriend was missing. Police later found her friend's nude corpse in a dumpster.
Broadway theater patrons were incensed when the plays and musicals they were watching went dark. Actors fell over props, with some injuring themselves, and lip synching was ineffective without electronic sound.
Thousands of people were killed and tens of thousands were injured in traffic accidents across the United States. Hundreds of patients died in hospital surgical procedures, and two planes crashed into each on approach to Chicago's O'Hare airport.
"That's why we downgraded Earth Day to Earth Hour," said Carstensen. "The carnage is less that way."
"It's good that it's only an hour now," said one mother of two. "It would be really inconvenient if it were for a whole day."