Each year on the final Saturday of the month of March, homeowners, businesses, and government entities around the world turn off non-essential lights for one hour, from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in the participants' local time. This is called Earth Hour, a gesture of commitment to the fight against global climate change. The tradition was started by the WWF Australia in 2007, and has become one of the world's most rapidly expanding environmentalist movements. Knowing a few facts and figures about Earth Hour helps people understand its impact and motivations.
Earth Hour facts
Earth Hour is a fascinating and important movement and is actually still very young as far as movements go. Some basic facts about Earth Hour include its origins, its progress, and some associated campaigns that have grown from it.
Origins and progress
The first Earth Hour occurred in 2007 in Sydney, Australia. The World Wildlife Federation (WWF) reports that 2.2 million homes and businesses darkened their lights for one hour to signify their commitment to the environment. In 2008, over 370 towns and cities across over 35 countries participated. The figures jumped again in 2009, up to over 4000 towns throughout almost 90 countries. Participation continues to increase every year.
Beyond the Hour
In 2011, the WWF launched an associated campaign called "Beyond the Hour", which provided a platform for agencies and individuals to discuss the greater implications of Earth Hour. The mission of Beyond the Hour is to help people understand how to extend the conservationist principles of Earth Hour beyond one ceremonial hour and into participants' daily habits and lives all the time.
I Will if You Will
2012 was a banner year for Earth Hour, with almost 7000 locations in over 150 countries participating. To encourage participants to continue in their efforts beyond the hour, the "I Will if You Will" initiative was born. "I Will if You Will" is a challenge-based campaign in which individuals, groups, businesses, and governments offer to do something helpful or entertaining in exchange for public commitment to green-minded actions and eco-sensitive products.
Earth Hour figures
The Earth Hour organisation states on its webpage that the Earth Hour event itself is a symbolic action, therefore they do not endeavour to measure the energy or carbon reduction levels for the hours of darkness enacted. However, the participation numbers alone speak to the impact of the event.
With participation by thousands of cities and towns around the world, dozens of major world landmarks have gone dark for the hour. The list of participating landmarks has included:
- The Petronas Towers
- The Sydney Opera House
- Niagara Falls
- The Las Vegas Strip
- Times Square
- Buckingham Palace
- The Golden Gate Bridge
- The Sky Tower
- The Space Needle
- The Eiffel Tower
- The Empire State Building
- Big Ben
- The Sydney Harbour Bridge
- The Great Wall of China
This is only a small handful of the monuments and buildings that have participated. Sports stadiums, university buildings, television studios, government buildings, and more have gone dark for Earth Hour.
While the WWF has not publicly kept track, various power companies and municipalities have reported the outcomes of their Earth Hour actions. Some inspiring outcomes over the years have included a 13 per cent drop in consumption for the hour in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2008, and in 2009, Toronto, Canada saw a 15 per cent drop for the hour.
Aside from over USD $50 million in free advertising Earth Hour Global has received in partnership with various media companies, Earth Hour is also an effective fundraiser for actions and campaigns year round. Some of these sums and initiatives include:
- USD $106,000 by WWF-Russia for the protection of the Siberian Tiger, Snow Leopard, Polar Bear, and other important endangered species
- USD $61,487 crowdfunded by Earth Hour Blue
- USD $42,439 raised in collaboration with "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" for the protection of pandas in China
- More than USD $20,000 to combat wildlife crime in South East Asia
All of this is also apart from the monetary value of free advertising through such gestures as the Google search page background turning from white to black, live nationwide broadcast TV shows operating by candlelight, and others.
How to Support Earth Hour on eBay
The purchase of any energy-saving product or accessory is a step in the right direction. Compact fluorescent light bulbs, Energy Star appliances, solar power kits, and more are available on eBay. WWF and Earth Hour stamp are also ways of showing support. Enter relevant terms into the search bar at the top of any eBay page, review item descriptions for information on the environmental friendliness of the product, and let your conscience be your guide to a more environmentally responsible lifestyle.