Earth Hour started 7 years ago in Sydney, Australia. It has since grown exponentially and more than 7000 cities and towns all over the world turn off their non-essential lights for one hour as a symbol of their commitment to the planet.
For the first few years the focus was on the phenomenal energy savings as a result of the one hour switch off but, in 2011, organisers launched ‘Beyond the Hour’ to encourage people to pledge to do more.
People from every corner of the planet seized the opportunity to take their commitment to the planet beyond the key driver of the 1 hour switch off. This resulted in communities embracing their roles as global citizens and rallying together to drive environmental change relevant to their village, city or country. Some of the successes included the first environmental movement being established in Libya; legislative change on marine protection against oil spills in Russia being implemented and the size of the biggest Marine Protected Area in Argentina being substantially increased.
In 2012 Dutch astronaut, Andre Kuipers, took Earth Hour into space. He served as ambassador for the WWF Earth Hour with a six month mission called PromISSE where he used his unique vantage point in space to draw attention to the need to reduce the increasingly large footprint of humankind on our planet. During the mission, André filmed and photographed WWF projects under way at locations such as the Zambezi, Borneo and the North Pole.
Earth Hour 2013 saw a massive increase in participation with many global landmarks switching off for the hour. These included Buckingham Palace, Moscow’s Kremlin and whole Red Square complex, Gateway of India, The Burj Khalifa, The Church of the Nativity (Birthplace of Jesus, Bethlehem), Table Mountain, Dubrovnik City Walls, Eiffel Tower, Avenue Habib Bourguiba, The Acropolis, Tower of Pisa, The Spanish Steps, Brandenburg Gate, Las Vegas Strip, Times Square, The Empire State Building, Niagara Falls and many more.
The theme for Earth Hour 2014 is ‘Earth Hour Blue’. It is encouraging individuals, communities, corporations and countries to use their power to make change a reality. The Earth Hour website now provides a platform for any project to raise funds and awareness of their initiatives for changes that will protect the planet.
There is no doubt that this Earth Hour will be the most successful yet and it is inspiring and heart-warming to see the people of the planet working together to protect it with such vigour. Make sure you are part of it and that You use Your power to make a difference.
In Holland it is traditional to organise a special event in the dark over Earth Hour and we will be doing exactly that at Dutchies. Put on your dancing shoes and join us on Grotto Beach on the 29th of March 2014. See you under the stars!