Earth Hour Outcomes 2013
Last December, the Russian parliament passed a long-awaited law to protect the country’s seas from oil pollution, after the voices of 120,000 Russians were presented to the government during the I Will If You Will campaign for Earth Hour 2012.
In 2013, WWF’s Earth Hour in Russia has successfully secured more than 100,000 signatures from Russian citizens to petition for amendments to the current forest legislation with the aim of returning a ban on industrial logging in an area of land equal to twice the size of France.
From a citizen in Nigeria committing to do a peace walk to Mali if 20,000 people sign the country’s pending Climate Change Bill petition, to a six year old Greek boy who will give up chocolate if 50 people green their balconies – individuals and organisations from all pillars of society and all corners of the globe are using Earth Hour’s I Will If You Will campaign as a platform to share their commitment to the world.
The world's first Earth Hour Forest in the East African nation of Uganda has begun the fight against the 6000 hectares of deforestation that occurs in the country every month. The Earth Hour team in Uganda has secured more than 2700 hectares of degraded land aiming to plant 500,000 trees in 2013.
Former President of Botswana, Mr Festus Mogae has promised to plant one million indigenous trees over four years as part of his I Will If You Will challenge, kicking it off by planting 100,000 trees in a severely degraded area in Southern part of the country called Goodhope.
In Argentina, Earth Hour is being used to mobilise thousands of participants to help pass a Senate bill to make 'Banco Burwood' the biggest Marine Protected Area (MPA) in the country. The pending Senate bill, which may be passed as early as this week, will see the 3.4 million-hectare MPA raise the level of protection of Argentina’s Exclusive Economic Zone from 1% to 4%.
In the African island nation of Madagascar, 100 schools around the capital Antananarivo will plant 10,000 trees as their beyond the hour commitment. More than 1000 subsidized wood-saving cooking stoves will also be distributed to the victims of the recent cyclone as part of this year's campaign.
Taking Earth Hour to the next level, this year Earth Hour India is not only switching off but also helping citizens to switch on to solar energy in villages that have no electricity. Woodlands stores have launched a collection drive across India, inspiring individuals to donate and help light up four villages with solar lanterns in Madhya Pradesh that have no access to energy with solar power. ING Vysya Bank will light up one village in Odisha using renewable energy on the day of Earth Hour, and extend it into a year-long project, covering 50 villages in this state by Earth Hour 2014.
For the second year running, WWF-Romania has used Earth Hour to encourage local authorities to strengthen their environmental engagement with citizens through a City Challenge where the winning city is awarded hosting rights for the official Earth Hour event. The city of Timişoara in western Romania will host the country's official Earth Hour event on 23 March together with WWF-Romania after collecting 3.58 tonnes of plastic bottles out of the 9 tonnes collected in total by all participating cities.
Over 35,000 Girl Scouts took part in Earth Hour last year through the Save Energy Project, and installed an astounding 132,141 energy efficient light bulbs across the USA. The impact is a staggering 75,392,654 pounds of CO2 emissions eliminated, equivalent to the CO2 sequestration from planting 7,286 acres of trees per year.
Announced as the first ever Global Earth Hour Capital in the Earth Hour City Challenge, Vancouver was recognised unanimously by a jury of experts for its innovative actions on climate change and dedication to create a sustainable, pleasant urban environment for current and future residents. By 2020, Vancouver is aiming for all new buildings to be carbon neutral in their operations; citizens to make over 50% of trips by foot, bicycle or public transport; and the number of green jobs to have doubled.
These are just a few of the thousands of actions and outcomes generated by our global community in 2013.