All You Need To Know About Earth Hour

​Around the world on Saturday, 25th March at 8:30 p.m. (local time) the lights were switched off. The Earth was shrouded in darkness. The darkness which is a symbolism for evil or fear became a symbolism for initiative taken by individuals to bring to light a pressing issue of climate change. It was Earth Hour.

What is Earth Hour and how is it celebrated?

Earth Hour is a worldwide movement organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). The event is held annually encouraging individuals, communities, households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour, from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. towards the end of March, as a symbol for their commitment to the betterment of planet.
History of Earth Hour

  • The Lights Off Event in 2007

Earth Hour was famously started as a lights-off event in Sydney, Australia in 2007. The idea of a large scale switch off was coined and developed in 2006 by advertising agency Leo Burnett Sydney and WWF Australia. Originally under the working title “The Big Flick”. WWF Australia presented their concept to Fairfax Media who, along with Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore, agreed to back the event. The 2007 Earth Hour was held on March 31 in Sydney, Australia at 7:30 pm, local time.

Since then it has grown to engage more than 172 countries and territories worldwide.

  • Earth Hour 2008

Date – 29 March

Time – 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. (local time)

Number of participant cities and countries – 400 cities in 35 countries

It marked the first anniversary of the event.  Earth Hour 2008 was celebrated on all seven continents. Landmarks around the world like Danish royal houses and Petronas Towers turned off their non-essential lighting for Earth Hour. Stargazing activities were held in various places like Toronto’s Ontario Science Centre and Richmond Hill’s David Dunlap Observatory.

  • Earth Hour 2009 

Date –  28 March

Time – 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. (local time)

Number of participant cities and countries – 4,159 cities in 88 countries

The campaign was titled “Vote Earth” and was dubbed “the world’s first global vote” with one billion votes was the stated aim for Earth Hour 2009, in the context of the pivotal 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference.
In Egypt, the lights went out on the Sphinx and the Great Pyramids of Giza.

  • Earth Hour 2010

Date – 27 March. In Israel, the hour was held on April 22.

Time – 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Number of participant cities and countries  – 4000 cities in 126 countries
Landmarks such as Big Ben, the Empire State Building, the Sydney Opera House, the Eiffel Tower, the Parthenon, the Brandenburg Gate, and the Forbidden City were in darkness during the Earth Hour.

  • Earth Hour 2011

Date – 26 March

Time – 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Number of participant cities and countries – 5,251 cities and towns in 135 countries.
Tagline for Earth Hour 2011 was “Beyond the Hour”. It was adopted by organisers as a way to encourage people to take their commitment to the cause beyond the 60-minute event. 
 Together with agency Leo Burnett, Earth Hour unveiled an updated planet themed logo that included a small plus symbol to the right of the signature “60” which was used in previous years. The 60+ symbol continues to be the main logo used by campaign organisers around the world.
It had an estimated reach of 1.8 billion people across the globe. In addition to this, the campaign’s digital footprint grew to 91 million.

In Azerbaijan, Maiden Tower darkened for Earth Hour.

How India celebrated its first Earth Hour?
In India, Earth Hour 2011 was flagged off by the Chief Minister of Delhi Sheila Dixit and Earth Hour 2011 Ambassador and Bollywood actress Vidya Balan in the presence of Jim Leape, Director General, WWF International.

  • Earth Hour 2012

Date – 31 March

Time – 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m

Number of participant cities and countries – 7000 cities in 152 countries 
Earth Hour Global headquarters were moved from Sydney to Singapore in February 2012.
It was the first year that Earth Hour was celebrated in space, with Dutch astronaut André Kuipers tweeting at various moments during the event’s trek around the globe.

  • Earth Hour 2013

Date – 23 March

Time -8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
In 2013, the world’s first Earth Hour Forest began in Uganda, an ongoing project that aims to restore 2700 hectares of degraded land. Standard Chartered Bank-Uganda pledged to help fill the forest with more than 250,000 trees.
Earth Hour commemorations in Madagascar had as their highlight the distribution of one thousand wood-saving stoves to victims of the cyclone Haruna in the southern town of Toliara, extensively damaged in February 22 storm.
Former President of Botswana, Festus Mogae promised to plant one million indigenous trees over four years, as part of his “I Will If You Will” challenge for Earth 2013. He planned to kick off his IWIYW challenge by planting 100,000 trees in a severely degraded area in Southern part of the country called Goodhope.

  • Earth hour 2014

Date – 29 March

Time -8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Earth Hour Blue
was launched as a global crowdfunding and crowdsourcing platform for the planet.
More than US$60,000 was raised on the Earth Hour Blue platform for grassroots environmental projects run by WWF. The movement also saw campaigns to help protect Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the launch of a Blue Sky App in China, and the delivery of thousands of wood efficient stoves to communities in Madagascar.

  • Earth Hour 2015

Date – 28 March

Time -8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Number of participant countries – 170
The tagline for the global campaign was “Change Climate Change”, returning to the movement’s original focus to initiate citizen action on global warming. A day before the event, over 170 countries and territories had confirmed their participation; with more than 1200 landmarks and close to 40 UNESCO world heritage sites set for the switch off.
Uniquely participating in the Earth Hour activity are the inhabitants of an island called Sibuyan in the Philippines who turned on their lights to elevate the message of using renewable energy. The island’s source of electricity is a mini-hydro power plant.

 image credit- INE

  • Earth Hour 2016

Date – 19 March

Time – 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Number of participant countries – 170 (approx)
It was the 9th year for the celebration of Earth Hour. Almost 170 countries participated in the event with millions of people plunging into darkness for an hour.

  • Earth hour 2017

Date – 25 March

Time – 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Number of participant countries and cities – 7000 cities in 172 countries
This year marked the 10th anniversary of the event.
Across the world in many iconic structures, buildings and sky-scrapers including the London’s Big Ben and Houses of Parliament, Burj Khalifa in Dubai, Moscow’s Kremlin, the Colosseum in Rome, Istanbul’s Blue Mosque, the Eiffel Tower, India Gate, and Red Square and the Pyramids of Egypt the lights were dimmed.

Earth Hour is a symbolic action that we, the people can take initative and be the torch bearers for change. Its main objective is not to reduce carbon emission that’s why it doesn’t engage in measurement of energy/carbon reduction level for the hour itself. It has more to do with individual and collective effort. We need to take accountability of our actions and think of solutions for our environmental problems like climate change, excess carbon emission, deforestation, extinction of animals among others and help make this planet a better place for us and the future generations. It is doing our bit to save the planet in whatever way we can and also encouraging others to do the same. 

For futhur information refer to Earth Hour website 

*I don’t own the pictures used*

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