Earth Hour 2013 will take place from 8.30pm – 9.30pm on Saturday 23 March
Hundreds of millions of people, businesses and governments around the world unite each year to support the largest environmental event in history – Earth Hour.
Earth Hour is organised by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). With almost 5 million supporters and a global network in over 100 countries/territories, it’s one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organisations. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth's natural environment and build a future where people live in harmony with nature.
Where it began
In 2007, WWF-Australia inspired Sydney-siders to show their support for climate change action in the first ever Earth Hour event. It showed that everyone, from children to CEOs and politicians, has the power to change the world they live in. In Sydney, Australia, 2.2 million individuals and more than 2,000 businesses turned their lights out for one hour to take a stand against climate change.
In 2008, the plan was to take Earth Hour to the rest of Australia. But then the City of Toronto, Canada, signed up and it wasn’t long before 35 countries and almost 400 cities and towns were part of the event. It said something compelling to the world: that the climate challenges facing our planet are so significant that change needs to be global.
With the invitation to ‘switch off’ extended to everyone, Earth Hour quickly became an annual global event. It’s scheduled on the last Saturday of every March – closely coinciding with the equinox to ensure most cities are in darkness as it rolled out around the Earth.
In 2011, Earth Hour saw hundreds of millions of people across 135 countries switch off for an hour. But it also marked the start of something new – going Beyond the Hour to commit to lasting action on climate change. In 2012, Earth Hour celebrated its largest event to date with more than 6,950 cities and towns in 152 countries and territories switching off their lights, and with hundreds of thousands of people accepting an IWIYW challenge to take their commitment to the planet beyond the hour. With the power of social networks used to promote the campaign, Earth Hour is working towards an interconnected global community committed to creating a more sustainable planet.
More than 7,000 cities and towns in 152 countries and territories switched off their lights for Earth Hour 2012, sending a powerful message for action to save the planet. This year, more than 200,000 individuals accepting I Will If You Will challenges on YouTube to turn their symbolic action for the planet into an on-going commitment to a sustainable future.
Global warming is the greatest threat facing our planet today. A warming planet alters weather patterns, water supplies, seasonal growth for plants and a sustainable way of life for us, and the world’s wildlife.
A continuous flow of energy from the sun heats the Earth. Naturally occurring gases in the atmosphere, known as greenhouse gases, trap this heat like a blanket, keeping the Earth at an average of 15 degrees Celsius – warm enough to sustain life. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most significant of these gases. The amount of naturally produced CO2 is almost perfectly balanced by the amount naturally removed through photosynthesis and its dissolution in oceans. However, the overuse of fossil fuels is leading to increased CO2 in the atmosphere, trapping more and more heat and warming the Earth.
As a result, we’re seeing more dramatic weather patterns across the globe. The effects of Earth’s changing weather not only causes devastating natural disasters but shrinking of the world’s ice shelves and glaciers due to warming sea water. Because ice acts as a solar reflector, the less ice there is, the less heat the Earth reflects.
Humanity’s overconsumption of food, material goods, fossil fuels, and non-renewable resources is putting a huge toll on the planet, exceeding its capacity to sustain us.
Forests absorb and remove CO2 from the atmosphere. So areas undergoing excessive deforestation experience higher carbon emissions. Agriculture is the second largest greenhouse gas emitter after fossil fuels. Methane produced by livestock, manure management, the burning of savannah, and the conversion of forests to pasture land are all major sources of greenhouse gas emissions.
We can celebrate our planet one day a year for Earth Hour – and go Beyond the Hour towards a sustainable future.
There are lots of ways you can take action for Earth Hour. Whether you’re a social media fan or a hands-on organiser, you’re sure to find some inspiration right here!
"Man's goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished"
"Let there be justice for all. Let there be peace for all. Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all. Let each know that for each the body, the mind and the soul have been freed to fulfil themselves."