Earth Hour: 8:30pm Saturday 23rd March 2013
If you notice any partial blackouts around the country this evening fear not – it’s all in honour of Earth Hour.
At 8:30pm local time, people around the world will switch off or dim their lights for one hour to show their concern and support for the environment.
More than 7,000 cities and towns across 152 countries on all seven continents are expected to participate, with the world’s major landmarks all joining in. It kicks off with the Sydney Opera House followed by the Great Wall of China, the Eiffel Tower, the Colosseum, the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, Christ the Redeemer, the Empire State Building and countless others.
Last year Earth Hour went into space when astronauts reduced power on the International Space Station and this year newcomers to the event include Tunisia, Palestine, Galapagos, Suriname, French Guyana, Rwanda and the most remote island in the world, St. Helena.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) organises the event each year with the aim of getting hundreds of millions of people to turn off their lights in a huge, symbolic show of support. This year, as we all switch off our lights, they want the focus to be on the kind of energy we use because they believe that to create a better future for our planet we need to move away from dirty fossil fuels and onto clean, green renewable energy which works with the power of nature, not against it.
Earth Hour also plans to help the environment beyond the 60 minute blackout with their I Will If You Will campaign. It aims to encourage positive action for the environment by empowering people and organisations to share their commitment to the planet with friends, family, colleagues, fans or even a whole nation.
The idea is simple. Someone makes a promise to do something if a certain number of people commit to take an ongoing action for the environment, beyond Earth Hour.
The action could be big or small; it might be a simple lifestyle change or maybe something that leads to political change. It might require 10 people to do something, or 10,000. The point is that I Will If You Will allows anybody to become the inspiration to their friends, family, colleagues and communities by sharing what they’re willing to do to protect the planet.
Since it began in Sydney seven years ago the Earth Hour movement has grown into the world’s largest voluntary action for the environment. In 2007 the event had 2.2 million participants but grew to an estimated 1.8 billion participants in 2012.
At the global media launch for Earth Hour 2013, CEO and Co-Founder Andy Ridley spoke about the movement’s massive environmental outcomes beyond the hour, “People from all walks of life, from all nations around the world, are the lifeblood of the Earth Hour interconnected global community. They have proven time and time again that if you believe in something strongly enough, you can achieve amazing things. These stories aren’t unique, this is happening all over the world.”