WORLD LEADERS GET BEHIND EARTH HOUR
MEDIA RELEASE: 26 MARCH 2012
From the United Nations to the World Organization of the Scout Movement, UNESCO to the Vatican, the most recognised leaders and influential organisations in the world have declared their support for Earth Hour.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced that the UN would be switching off their lights for Earth Hour on 31 March, as he called on people, organisations and businesses to do the same, in solidarity with the 20 per cent of men, women and children who don’t have access to electricity.
“Turning off our lights is a symbol of our commitment to sustainable energy for all,” Mr. Ban said. “We need to fuel our future with clean, efficient and affordable energy. By acting together today, we can power a brighter tomorrow.”
The UN chief joins the Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova who has urged all World Heritage sites to switch off their lights for Earth Hour.
"As leading advocate for the protection and management of the planet's most precious sites, UNESCO is pleased to participate in Earth Hour 2012. This year, as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention, I appeal to all involved with World Heritage sites around the globe to join the Earth Hour initiative and switch off their lights in the evening of 31 March,” said Bokova.
“With this simple gesture, iconic sites and local communities can show their leadership and commitment for a sustainable planet,” she said.
Executive Director and Co-Founder of Earth Hour, Andy Ridley said the world’s leading organisations are sending a clear signal that they are committed to doing more to protect the planet.
“The collective impact of these organisations who are lending support to Earth Hour this year is immense. Imagine the possibilities when this impact is translated into action beyond the hour.”
Although the smallest independent state in the world, Vatican City is the spiritual home of 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide. As an act of support for Earth Hour, the Vatican will be turning off the lights of the dome atop St Peter’s Basilica, the greatest church of Christendom. St Peter’s dome dominates the skyline of Rome, rising to the height of 136.57 metres.
A number of influential leaders have made “I Will If You Will” challenges for this year’s campaign, which encourages people to make a personal challenge in order to inspire friends, family, colleagues and organisations to take action to protect the planet.
WWF International Director General Jim Leape wants people to make more sustainable choices when it comes to the seafood they consume. Leape’s Earth Hour challenge will see him catch and tag a wild bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean, if 10 000 people use a WWF Sustainable Seafood Guide.
“The bluefin is one of the fastest, most powerful fish in the sea, and also one of the most endangered,” Leape says. “By putting satellite tags on these fish, we can learn more about the way they live and we can help save them for future generations.”
Kumi Naidoo, International Executive Director of Greenpeace has promised to dye his beard green during the Rio+20 conference in Brazil in June this year, if 10 000 people around the world agree to support Earth Hour. Naidoo suggests taking up recycling, or making informed decisions about what we consume.
“I want these 10 000 people to take individual action to work for a green, peaceful planet,” Naidoo says. “We need to act urgently to rescue this planet for our children and our grandchildren.”
“The Beast from the East”, Russian former WBA heavyweight boxing champion, now politician Nikolay Valuev, has made a huge promise to organise recycling in the Duma if 100 000 people sign WWF Russia's petition on passing a new law about protection of the sea from oil spills.
Luc Panissod, Secretary General of the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) an organisation that boasts over 30 million members in 161 countries, has thrown his considerable support behind Earth Hour with an IWIYW pledge of his own.
Panissod has promised to give up his car for seven days, if 10 000 people don’t print their emails for a week.
“We can all do a little something, to create a larger world-wide change,” Panissod says. “It doesn’t have to be a big sacrifice. Every bit makes a difference. I call on all Scouts to celebrate Earth Hour,” he said.
Earth Hour 2012 will take place at 8.30pm – 9.30pm on Saturday 31 March Watch the 2012
Rebecca George, Earth Hour Global, Rebecca@earthhour.org +61 421 988 035
Benjamin Vozzo, Earth Hour Global, Benjamin@earthhour.org +61 415 194 219
About Earth Hour
Earth Hour is a global environmental initiative in partnership with WWF and Leo Burnett. Individuals, businesses, governments and communities are invited to turn out their lights for one hour on Saturday March 31, 2012 at 8:30 PM to show their support for environmentally sustainable action. In 2012, Earth Hour’s I Will If You Will concept invites individuals and organisations to challenge others to an ongoing environmental commitment beyond the hour. Earth Hour began in one city in 2007 and by 2011 reached over 1.8 billion people in 135 countries across every continent, receiving reports as ‘the World’s largest campaign for the planet’.
WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organisations, with almost five million supporters and a global network active in more than 100 countries. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world’s biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.