Will You Be In The Dark At 8.30pm On Saturday?
(c) Ondrej Vavricek
In its eighth year, WWF’s Earth Hour continues to defy expectations by mobilising hundreds of millions of people around the planet.
Famous landmarks confirmed to participate in the event include the Empire State Building, Tower Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral, Edinburgh Castle, Brandenburg Gate, the Eiffel Tower, The Kremlin, Red Square, the Bosphorus Bridge and the world’s tallest building the Burj Khalifa.
And the movement is further expanding its digital and on-the-ground reach from the Amazon to the Arctic and from Tahiti to Tanzania, with a groundswell of action creating a massive impact around the world to shine a light on the incredible work being done to create a sustainable planet.
“Earth Hour has always been more than just about lights off; it’s about people from all walks of life coming together throughout the year to show what they can do to protect the planet,” says Andy Ridley, CEO and co-founder of Earth Hour.
“What makes Earth Hour different is that it empowers people to take charge and to use their power to make a difference. The movement inspires a mixture of collective and individual action, so anyone can do their part.
(c)Jeremiah Armstrong/WWF Canada
“People from all walks of life, from all nations around the world, are the lifeblood of the Earth Hour global community. They are true beacons of hope, demonstrating what happens when innovation and passion come together to address the biggest challenges of our time. 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.”
And this year, after the lights have gone off, Earth Hour will continue to see the mobilising of people around the world to take action and use the movement as a platform to create some of the most inspiring solution-driven activities in its history.
Here are a few examples from around the world:
The strongest storm to ever make landfall in recorded history claimed thousands of lives and left dozens of Philippine towns and cities in shreds. As many as 146,000 sustenance fishermen lost their boats from Typhoon Haiyan – the sole means they had to provide for their families. WWF-Philippines is helping build fibreglass ‘Bancas’ for communities, and training fishermen with the skills to construct boats and build up their resilience to the impacts of climate change.
In Australia, where Earth Hour first began eight years ago, people all around the world will be adding their voice to protect one of the greatest natural wonders on the planet – The Great Barrier Reef. This iconic wonder is under great threat due to climate change and the recently-approved government decision to develop a mega coal and gas port that would cause dredging and dumping of millions of tonnes of seabed and rock in its Marine Park.
During Earth Hour, people across Finland will use their voice for the Arctic, a region affected by climate change more than anywhere else in the world. Participants will pledge to increase the amount of renewable energy in the country so that we can save animals like the polar bear, which depends on ice and snow for survival and whose home is currently being lost due to the effects of climate change.
WWF-Nepal is reaching out to the global community to use their power to transform the lives of children in communities of Nepal’s Terai Arc Landscape, by allowing them to go to school instead of accompanying their parents to collect firewood each day.
The ‘A Flame Called Hope’ project is aimed at providing access to clean and alternate biogas energy, an affordable and highly effective technology which turns animal and human waste into biogas (a clean cooking gas) – making it a far better alternative to wood.
WWF-India will launch a year-long education campaign for a monumental 15,000 schools across India. Schools will be encouraged to switch off for the hour and switch on to more energy efficient practices. The school that makes the biggest impact based on criteria set by WWF-India will be titled “Earth Hour School Champion”, owing to their evident switch to greener and more efficient energy usage.
In Uganda, WWF will equip the community around the Earth Hour Forest with energy saving stoves and solar lights to ensure they become the guardians of the newly planted forest long into the future, to help end deforestation in this unique and precious woodland.
This year when the whole world switches its lights off for Earth Hour, WWF-Colombia will “switch on” the Amazon Rainforest. Known as the ‘world’s lungs’, the Amazon is quickly disappearing with mining and ranching leading to loss of species and pollution. The project allows global participants to invest in the largest ecosystem on the planet.
In Argentina people are using the movement to take action in their households, workplaces and communities and have a simple goal with a big impact. Argentineans will turn off their lights in support of the legislative measure to replace ignition water heater systems with efficient electric systems, to avoid the passive consumption of gas equivalent to powering 800,000 homes in the country for one year.
In Russia efforts are being directed to the conservation of the Amur Leopard, which is one of the most endangered species on the planet. People across the globe are encouraged to help support WWF-Russia’s on projects to help save five key species of endangered animals living in the region.