Panda Ambassador Mei Lan ushers in Chinese New Year by launching Earth Hour 2010 to the world

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From WWF International....

Mei Lan – China’s recently returned panda diplomat to Atlanta – has been announced as an Earth Hour Global Ambassador, launching the countdown to Earth Hour 2010.

At 8.30pm on Saturday 27 March, millions of people across all continents will switch off their lights for one hour – Earth Hour – to show the world what can be done to resolve the dilemma of global warming.

Mei Lan takes up her first new diplomatic duty launching Earth Hour in the her hometown of Chengdu, the first city in China to commit its support to Earth Hour 2010. The recognized symbol of WWF, giant pandas have lived in Chengdu for more than 8 million years.

“As a citizen of Chengdu, Mei Lan will be standing with 13 million residents of the city in taking part in Earth Hour,” said Mr. Ye Lang, spokesperson of the Chengdu municipal government.

“Chengdu is committed to developing a low-carbon economy and building a world-class garden city of tomorrow to create harmony between man and nature. This is highly in line with Earth Hour’s overall goal.”

The people of Chengdu will join citizens from all over the world in more than 70 countries that have already signed up to the ‘lights out’ event, including four nations from four separate continents – Paraguay, Mongolia, Madagascar and Czech Republic – who will take part in Earth Hour for the very first time.

Earth Hour continues to gather momentum as the people of the world take it upon themselves to show that a resolution to the threat of global warming is possible through collective action. New countries, cities, towns and municipalities are signing up daily to take action by turning their lights out on 27 March, 2010.

Earth Hour Co-Founder and Executive Director, Andy Ridley, said it is clear from the huge interest and commitment to Earth Hour from all over the world that the planet’s population is determined to lead the way for a climate resolution.

“Earth Hour 2010 is proof of the global community’s desire to adopt low-carbon lifestyle habits and show some leadership to our world leaders in addressing the issue of global warming,” he said.

“Never has there been a more important time or better opportunity for the people of the world to stand up and take the matter of climate change into their own hands. Earth Hour brings together communities, businesses and individuals to show world leaders and, more importantly, show each other, that a resolution to global warming is possible if we work on it together. It’s time to show the world what can be done,” he said.

WWF Director General, Jim Leape said Earth Hour is honored that Chengdu is leading by example in the world’s fastest growing economy by both committing to Earth Hour and gifting the services of Mei Lan for this prestigious position.

“Chengdu is the centerpiece in launching Earth Hour 2010’s massive global call to action for a climate resolution,” Mr Leape said.

Since its inception in Sydney, Australia in 2007, Earth Hour has grown from a one-city event to a sweeping global action, with hundreds of millions of people in over 4,100 cities and towns across 88 countries participating in Earth Hour 2009 in what was the greatest voluntary action the world has ever known. Some of the world’s most iconic landmarks, such as the Pyramids in Egypt, Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, the Acropolis in Athens and even the lights of the Las Vegas strip also went dark.

Mei Lan joins an esteemed alumnus of past and present Earth Hour ambassadors including The Most Reverend Desmond Tutu, Cold Play and Cate Blanchett. Fans will be able to follow her ambassador role via; www.twitter.com/earthour and www.earthhour.org.

So the stage is set for Earth Hour 2010: the greatest show on Earth for action on climate change.

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