On Saturday 29 March 2014 at 8:30pm, millions of people across the world switched lights off for one hour - to celebrate their commitment to the planet. Now, go beyond one hour.
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Change is already underway, and it's all because of you.
Let us stand together to make of our world a sustainable source for our future as humanity on this planet" #Nelson Mandela #EarthHour
Earth Hour 2013 saw a phenomenal increase in support as the world rallied together for one hour in an inspiring display of what people can accomplish when they put their hearts in the right place.
Participating landmarks include: The Sydney Harbour Bridge, Tokyo Tower, Taipei 101, The Petronas Towers, Beijing National Stadium (Bird's Nest), Marina Bay Sands Singapore, Gateway of India, The Burj Khalifa, The Church of the Nativity (Birthplace of Jesus, Bethlehem), Table Mountain, Dubrovnik City Walls, Eiffel Tower, Avenue Habib Bourguiba, The Acropolis, Tower of Pisa, The Spanish Steps, Brandenburg Gate, Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, The UK Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Christ the Redeemer Statue, CN Tower, Las Vegas Strip, Times Square, The Empire State Building, Niagara Falls and more.
For the very first time, Moscow’s Kremlin and whole Red Square complex, including St. Basil’s Cathedral, Historical Museum and the famous GUM-mall switch off for Earth Hour.
Earth Hour was used to mobilise thousands of participants to help pass a Senate bill to make 'Banco Burdwood' the biggest Marine Protected Area (MPA) in the country. The 3.4 million-hectare MPA has raised the level of protection of Argentina’s Exclusive Economic Zone from 1% to 4%.
Vancouver was crowned as the first ever Global Earth Hour Capital. The city was recognised for its ambition to be a global leader on climate-smart urban development with green targets. For example, by 2020, Vancouver aims 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.
With more than 6,950 cities and towns across 152 countries and territories participating, Earth Hour 2012 broke all records and cemented itself as the largest voluntary action for the environment.
The campaign experienced its largest growth since 2009, and continues its effort to go beyond the hour with the launch of the “I Will If You Will” campaign. More than 200,000 individuals accepted an I Will If You Will challenge.
South Africa enlisted its most beloved television stars to take part in the I Will If You Will campaign, with some of the most unique challenges we’ve heard of. Weather broadcaster Derek Van Dam, who will ride his bicycle to work for one full month (regardless of the weather), if the Dave Matthews Band sends him an autographed band poster with the words “To our favourite weatherman...” – how appropriate!
Just months after the end of the Libyan uprising, Mohammad Nattah, who wanted to organize an Earth Hour event in 2011, was finally free from fighting in the civil war against Muammar Gaddafi. He contacted us on social media about coordinating Earth Hour in Tripoli. At the same time another youth, Muhammad Bugashata, created the Earth Hour Libya Facebook group.
We put them in contact with each other and they ended up planning Libya’s first ever Earth Hour events. With the help of the Scout movement and local businesses, this was the catalyst for the first environmental movement to take place in Libya post–Gaddafi.
WWF Earth Hour team built a petition base of more than 120,000 people to support legislative change on marine protection against oil spills. Using the I Will If You Will challenge platform to promote the petition, the legislation was passed within nine months after seven years of trying.
International Space Station, Outer Space
Earth Hour 2012 literally went out of the world to protect the planet, with astronaut André Kuipers observing the global lights off from the International Space Station.
2011 is the first Earth Hour to go beyond the hour, by asking supporters to think about what else they can do to make a difference. BeyondTheHour is launched to give supporters a place to share stories and pledge to do more.
Earth Hour 2011 commenced with a minute’s silence for the victims of the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Earth Hour events in some countries included fund raising to assist earthquake and tsunami victims.
Earth Hour Global received an impassioned email from Nathi, a 15-year-old boy in Swaziland who, after being outraged by his compatriots’ non-participation in Earth Hour 2010, established an environmental organisation determined to get his home nation on the Earth Hour map in 2011.
Earth Hour 2010 succeeds in being a global call to action to stand up, take control, and lead the global journey to a sustainable future.
A record 128 countries and territories take part and iconic buildings and landmarks from Asia Pacific to Europe and Africa to the Americas stand in darkness.
Chatham Islands, New Zealand
The Chatham Islands, 800km off the coast of New Zealand, was the first of 125 countries and territories to hit 8:30pm local time, and effectively kick-started the entire Earth Hour event. Diesel generators supplying electricity and all but all but its 12 street lights were switched off as the Chatham Islands plunged almost entirely into darkness.
Earth Hour 2010 was Guam’s first time participating in the global lights off. Tiki torches replaced street lamps, while spot lights illuminated the main driveway to The Hilton Guam Resort & Spa, where Earth Hour was celebrated with a candle-lit dinner at Roy’s Restaurant and Islander Terrace.
90 cities and towns in Kazakhstan joined the global Earth Hour campaign by switching off their lights for an hour. In the capital of Astana, landmark buildings, such as the Astana-Baiterek Monument, the Presidential Palace, the Supreme Court building and the Independence Palace, switched off their lights for an hour.
Hundreds of millions of people in more than 4,000 cities and towns across 88 countries switched off their lights for one hour. This is a visual mandate for action on climate change. This is the world’s first global vote.
The People’s Orb
The People’s Orb is a shimmering silver sphere encasing a 350 gigabyte hard drive loaded with videos, images and documents representing the hundreds of millions of people who voted Earth to call for action on climate change.
The People’s Orb was relayed from Sydney to Copenhagen in the care of custodians ranging from former heads of state to iconic rock stars.
The orb finally took centre stage in the plenary on the final day of the historic 192-nation UN Climate Change Conference alongside UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon. Attending the conference were President of the United States, Barack Obama, Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, COP President and Climate Minister Connie Hedegaard and over 100 heads of state.
In its second installation, Earth Hour is gaining momentum. 371 cities and towns in more than 35 countries participate in what is quickly becoming the world’s largest grassroots movement. A highly conservative estimate concludes that 50 million people participated. The number could have been as high as 100 million.
A sizeable number of television and radio stations suspended regular broadcasting, halted transmissions or turned off the lights in their studio for an hour. National Geographic Channel, Cartoon Network, DhiTV and Villa TV (Maldives), Canal 5 (Mexico) and ABS-CBN (Philippine) were a few of these.
During Earth Hour in Dublin, high-powered telescopes were set up in Phoenix Park to take advantage of the darkened night sky, which normally does not lend itself kindly to stargazing due to the bright city lights.
The inaugural Earth Hour is held in Sydney, Australia. 2.2 million Sydneysiders and 2,100 businesses participate. Meanwhile, plans are underway to make Earth Hour a national event in Australia but international interest is high and global cities begin signing up to be part of the next Earth Hour campaign.
Little did we know how massive it was going to become.