Celebrating Earth Hour
What is Earth Hour?
Earth Hour is a worldwide grassroots movement uniting people to protect the planet, and is organised by WWF. Engaging a massive mainstream community on a broad range of environmental issues, Earth Hour was famously started as a lights-off event in Sydney, Australia in 2007. Since then it has grown to engage more than 7000 cities and towns worldwide, and the one-hour event continues to remain the key driver of the now larger movement.
When does Earth Hour take place?
Earth Hour 2016 will be held on Saturday 19 March between 8.30PM and 9.30PM in your local time zone. The event is held worldwide towards the end of March annually, encouraging individuals, communities households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour as a symbol for their commitment to the planet.
What does Earth Hour aim to achieve?
Earth Hour aims to encourage an interconnected global community to share the opportunities and challenges of creating a sustainable world.
What does Earth Hour ask people to do?
The first thing anyone can do to get involved is to turn off their lights on Saturday. But there is much, much more. Our full ambition is for people to take action beyond the hour. Whether it’s supporting a crowdfunding or crowdsourcing campaign or getting involved in Earth Hour campaigns in their own country, or starting the movement in their own community. The vision is always to do more, so make the light switch the beginning of your journey.
How long has Earth Hour been going for?
The first Earth Hour event was on March 31 2007. WWF-Australia inspired Sydney-siders to show their support for climate change action. More than 2.2 million individuals and 2,000 businesses turned their lights out for one hour in the first Earth Hour event.
Earth Hour 2016 will mark the tenth year of the campaign!
Is Earth Hour an annual event?
Earth Hour is more than an annual event – it is a movement that culminates in an hour of inspiration across the world held towards the end of March each year.
What has Earth Hour achieved since the movement began?
- WWF Uganda started the world’s first Earth Hour Forest
- More than 250,000 Russians voiced support for better protection of their country’s seas and forests
- Argentina used its 2013 Earth Hour campaign to help pass a Senate bill for a 3.4 million hectare Marine Protected Area in the country
- Thousands of wood-saving stoves were distributed to families in Madagascar
- Solar-powered lights were installed in three villages without electricity in India
- In Paraguay, WWF used the Earth Hour platform to build public support to gain an extension of the logging moratorium, helping to reduce deforestation
- Education programs for schools were launched in Thailand and Taiwan
- Hundreds of thousands of LED lights were installed by girl scouts in the USA
- More than 2123 mitigation actions submitted by Earth Hour City Challenge 2014 participating cities
But this is just the start, there are so many more Earth Hour stories out there we’re still discovering, and of course much more to do.
Back to the event. Isn't switching the lights off dangerous? What about public safety?
Earth Hour only asks people to turn off the non-essential lights for one hour - not lights that affect public safety. Earth Hour is also a celebration of the planet so it’s important to enjoy the moment in a safe environment.
What lights can be safely switched off?
That is a decision that has to be made individually but usually the overhead lights in rooms (whether it is your house or a business), outdoor lighting that does not impact safety, decorative lights, neon signs for advertising, televisions, desk lamps, the list goes on and on.
There are a few lights we can say with certainty that should NOT be turned off, including safety lights in public spaces, lights for aviation guidance, traffic lights, security lights, just to name a few. We ask people to use common sense. Before you turn off any lights for public spaces, Earth Hour recommends you check with local officials or community centres.
In your own home, use common sense with respect to safety. Keep small night lights on for basic safety especially in halls and on stairs. Make sure you have alternative light sources handy before Earth Hour starts, like torches or flashlights. That way if you need to see, you have a light source close at hand, and you can still respect the spirit of Earth Hour and keep yourself and your family safe.
What candles should I use for my Earth Hour event?
If you plan on burning candles during Earth Hour, make sure you use 100% beeswax candles or soy candles, which are gentler on our planet - smoke free, non-toxic and non-allergenic. They are also made of natural products, not petroleum-based materials, so they are effectively carbon neutral (the CO2 they emit has already been taken from the atmosphere to produce the wax). Many communities are now replacing candles with LED lights for their event, as a way to promote energy efficient lighting - a key for any sustainable future. If you're using candles, though, make sure you take care. We suggest you carefully follow these tips:
- Candles should only be used under adult supervision
- Candles should never be left unattended
- Candles should be kept away from children and pets
- Extinguish candles before going to sleep
- Keep candles away from flammable liquids and gas-combustible materials
- Candles should be kept clear of any combustible materials such as paper, curtains and clothing
- Candles should not be placed in windows as they can be blown over. Blinds and curtains can also catch alight
- Candles should be placed on a stable, dry, heat-resistant surface away from drafts
What is Earth Hour’s position on technology?
Earth Hour embraces technology to spread the message of positive environmental action across the world, and to replace more inefficient means of living our lives. Technology is key to a sustainable future that is aspirational. From LED lights, to hybrid vehicles, to developing replacements for unsustainable use of resources - Earth Hour has thrived off the back of the development in digital technology.
Will my city go completely black during the event?
Earth Hour is not a black out. It is a voluntary action by its participants to show their commitment to an act of change that benefits the planet. For many businesses in city skyscrapers or for many government buildings, the lights are turned off at the end of the business day the Friday before Earth Hour. So Earth Hour is more of a fade-out in some ways than a black out. There is usually no instant dramatic difference, but rather a gradual dimming of lights starting the day prior. Many major icons and neon signs are switched off for the hour and they are extremely noticeable. You may be able to see dramatic changes in large business districts or at iconic landmarks and buildings around the world and in your city.
If everyone turns their lights back on at the same time will there be a power surge?
People celebrate Earth Hour in a variety of ways for different lengths of time, with many continuing to keep their lights off well beyond the designated hour. After eight years, it’s clear everyone will not switch back on his or her lights simultaneously.
Why is Earth Hour the event held in late March?
The second-to-last and last weekend of March is around the time of the Spring and Autumn equinoxes in the northern and southern hemispheres respectively, which allows for near coincidental sunset times in both hemispheres, thereby ensuring the greatest visual impact for a global ‘lights out’ event. Earth Hour 2016 will be held on Saturday 19 March between 8.30PM and 9.30PM in your local time zone.
How many cities/countries/landmarks took part in Earth Hour 2015?
A record-breaking 172 countries and territories took part in Earth Hour 2015, with about 10,400 participating landmarks. Millions of people switched their lights off for an hour, and the Earth Hour 2015 campaign saw over 7 million digital interactions.
What does a commitment to Earth Hour mean?
By registering for Earth Hour 2016, individuals, communities and businesses are making a commitment to turn their lights off for an hour at 8.30PM on Saturday 19 March in acknowledgement of an act they will undertake for the benefit of the planet. We hope that these individuals, communities and businesses will take action beyond the hour through Earth Hour Blue.
Who can participate?
Earth Hour is a campaign for anyone and everyone who wants to share a commitment to make this planet better.
How can I do more for Earth Hour than just switching off my lights?
What energy/carbon reductions have resulted from Earth Hour in previous years?
Earth hour does not claim that the event is an energy or carbon reduction exercise - it is a symbolic action. Therefore, we do not engage in the measurement of energy or carbon reduction levels. Earth Hour is an initiative to encourage individuals, businesses and governments around the world to take accountability for their ecological footprint and engage in dialogue and resource exchange that provides real solutions to our environmental challenges. Participation in Earth Hour symbolises a commitment to change beyond the hour.
Aren't you using a lot of electricity and resources to promote this event?
Earth Hour takes every effort to minimise our footprint, not just for the hour but also all year round. Earth Hour Global has a core team of just nine people based in Singapore and relies on a dispersed open-sourced model, meaning that the movement is run locally through WWF and communities all over the world.
All of Earth Hour Global’s emissions are offset and the campaign embraces digital technology to minimise the usage of natural resources and to spread our message.
Earth Hour is advertised all over the world. Does Earth Hour pay for this advertising?
Earth Hour Global secures millions of dollars of free advertising space with the help of partners such as Starcom, Discovery Networks International and many others. Earth Hour Global does not spend any money on paid advertising space. Earth Hour’s advice to teams around the world running local campaigns is to only seek either pro-bono or if absolutely necessary, low-bono advertising space.
Whose idea was Earth Hour?
Earth Hour came from a think tank initiated by Earth Hour CEO and Co-Founder, Andy Ridley, resulting in the formation of a partnership between WWF Australia, Leo Burnett and Fairfax Media to address the climate change issue.
In 2007, there was still a degree of scepticism and denial about the issue of climate change. Earth Hour came as the inspiration to rally people to the reality of climate change and start a dialogue about what we as individuals can do to help address the greatest problem facing our planet today. Leo Burnett partnered with WWF to promote the idea and help make the campaign a reality in Sydney, a campaign which has now gone beyond climate change to symbolise the growing global pursuit of a better, healthier world.
What is Earth Hour’s relationship with WWF?
Earth Hour is an initiative of WWF. In 2007, WWF initiated Earth Hour as a way of engaging a broad section of society in the environmental issues challenging citizens across the world. WWF embraced the idea of an open sourced campaign that would allow communities and organisations to become part of a global movement to protect our planet.
Do you have requirements or regulations about who can or cannot partner with Earth Hour?
Any partner must uphold and support the aims and principles of Earth Hour. These include encouraging individual and community engagement on environmental issues. Encouraging conscious decisions to change the way we live in order to affect environmental reform, without the use of scare tactics or shaming. The specific decisions about whether or not to partner with a group or corporation are made at local level by Earth Hour country and city teams based on what suits their needs and community in achieving the goals of Earth Hour.
Does Earth Hour welcome the support of other NGOs (Non-Government Organisations) and NFP's (Not for Profits)?
Absolutely. In fact, the success of Earth Hour would not be possible without the support of other NGOs and NFPs. Global organisations such as the World Organisation of the Scout Movement and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts have been pivotal in spreading the Earth Hour message, while in some countries where there is no WWF presence, Earth Hour campaigns are orchestrated entirely by other NGOs and NFPs.
What does the Earth Hour logo mean?
The standard Earth Hour '60' logo represents the 60 minutes of Earth Hour where we focus on the impact we are having on our planet and take positive action to address the environmental issues we face. For Earth Hour 2011 the ‘60+’ logo was introduced representing a commitment to add to Earth Hour a positive act for the planet that goes beyond the hour. Take up the ‘plus’ and get involved with Earth Hour Blue.
I represent a hotel. What is the best way for my organisation to celebrate Earth Hour?
You can click here for the hotel's guide. Everything you need to know about running an Earth Hour - tips and tricks, email templates for staff and partners, going beyond the hour and more - specially for hotels.
I'm new to Earth Hour, where can I start?
You can click here for the all-round event guide! This comprehensive guide contains a list of FAQ regarding Earth Hour as well as ideas and suggestions of various activities different groups can carry out during and after Earth Hour.
What is crowdsourcing?
Crowdsourcing is the process of getting work or funding from a crowd of people, usually through the online community.
What is the difference between crowdsourcing and crowdfunding?
Crowdfunding is when a group of people get together and invest small amount of money to support a campaign. Crowdsourcing encourages people to support a project or campaign without using capital.
What does this aim to achieve?
Crowdsourcing and crowdfunding gives you the power to inspire anyone, even if you’re just one person. There are great projects happening all over the world, and every dollar, every voice can make that difference.
Isn’t Earth Hour a one hour event?
Earth Hour is more than annual event; however it culminates in an hour of inspiration held across the world towards the end of March each year.
Earth Hour believes that the symbolism of the hour is incredibly important in bringing people and communities together across the globe. But our aspiration from the beginning was to go far beyond the hour itself.
In 2012, Earth Hour launched I Will If You Will, a platform to incentivise and inspire individuals to share their commitment to the planet with their friends, colleagues, leaders and networks.
Earth Hour also encourages and promotes many other initiatives around the world, including the Earth Hour City Challenge, the Earth Hour People’s Projects and many national and local actions that take the campaign beyond the hour.
In 2015, Earth Hour became the biggest grassroots movement for the environment.
Who can participate?
Anyone in the world with an Internet connection can participate on Earth Hour Blue’s crowdsourcing platform.
What is Earth Hour’s relationship with the campaign organisers?
For our launch year, we are only looking at crowdsourcing campaigns from the WWF network and chosen Earth Hour partners who we've worked with for a few years. Earth Hour shows how a global voice can affect a global or local outcome.
Where can we find Earth Hour on social media?
What is the Earth Hour City Challenge?
With more than 70% of the world’s CO2 emissions generated by cities, the Earth Hour City Challenge was created to celebrate cities that are taking amazing steps reward towards a 100% renewable future. See more at http://www.ehcitychallenge.org/peopleschoice.
How do cities win?
An international jury will review all submissions outlining holistic, inspiring and credible city plans that increase the share of renewables in the city's energy systems. The Earth Hour City Challenge is not about having the most hi-tech plans or resources; it's about a commitment to innovative thinking and enacting solutions that create a greener and cleaner city for residents.