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Earth Hour

Don’t forget to switch off your lights for Earth Hour at 8.30pm (20:30) on the last Saturday of March – it’s a global climate change campaign held every year . Make it an event to share with friends and family!
Paper doll people in shades of blue link hands while standing on top of the world
It’s time to switch off the lights during Earth Hour.
©iStockphoto.com/Trista Weibell

About Earth Hour

Earth Hour is a global WWF (formerly known as World Wildlife Fund) climate change initiative. It is an eventthat aims to create awareness of people taking responsibility towards a sustainable future by turning the lights off. Earth Hour is not to be confused with Earth Day.

What do people do?

Millions of people turn off their lights for Earth Hour at 8.30pm (20:30) in their local times on the last Saturday of March. Iconic buildings and landmarks from Europe to Asia to the Americas have stood in darkness during previous Earth Hours. Some people enjoy Earth Hour with a candle-lit dinner or a candle-lit bath, while others host large events or parties, either in darkness or with candles, to celebrate Earth Hour.
Businesses and government organizations, as well as community and political leaders also take part in Earth Hour. It’s about giving people a voice on the planet’s future and working together to create a sustainable low carbon future for planet earth.

Background

Earth Hour started in Sydney, Australia, in 2007. This event saw 2.2 million homes and businesses turn their lights off for one hour to make their stand against climate change that year. Earth Hour had become a global sustainability movement with more than 50 million people across 35 countries participating in 2008. Global landmarks such as the, Sydney Harbour Bridge, the CN Tower in Toronto, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and Rome’s Colosseum, all stood in darkness for Earth Hour. In March 2009, hundreds of millions of people took part in the third Earth Hour.
WWF, which organizes the annual Earth Hour event, aims to stop the degradation of the earth’s natural environment. It also focuses on building a future where people live in harmony with nature. The organization functions through a network of more than 90 offices in more than 40 countries worldwide. Its first office was founded in Morges, Switzerland, on September 11, 1961.
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  1. What is Earth Hour?
    Earth Hour is a worldwide grassroots movement uniting people to protect the planet, and is organised by WWF. Engaging a massive mainstream community on a broad range of environmental issues, Earth Hour was famously started as a lights-off event in Sydney, Australia in 2007. Since then it has grown to engage more than 7000 cities and towns worldwide, and the one-hour event continues to remain the key driver of the now larger movement.
  2. What is Earth Hour Blue?
    Earth Hour Blue is an all-new digital crowdfunding and crowdsourcing platform for the planet launched in 2014 to capture the power of the crowd and engage people around the world beyond the lights out event. The crowdfunding section of the platform allows participants to financially support and deliver positive, tangible changes to the environment and communities all over the world. Individuals can also use Earth Hour Blue’s crowdsourcing platform, which will call for people to add their voice to some of the biggest environmental campaigns across the world.
  3. When does Earth Hour take place?
    Earth Hour 2015 will be held on Saturday 28 March between 8.30PM and 9.30PM in your local time zone. The event is held worldwide towards the end of March annually, encouraging individuals, communities households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour as a symbol for their commitment to the planet.
  4. What does Earth Hour aim to achieve?
    Earth Hour aims to encourage an interconnected global community to share the opportunities and challenges of creating a sustainable world.
  5. What does Earth Hour ask people to do?
    The first thing anyone can do to get involved is to turn off their lights on Saturday. But there is much, much more. Our full ambition is for people to take action beyond the hour. Whether it’s supporting a crowdfunding or crowdsourcing campaign on www.earthhour.org or getting involved in Earth Hour campaigns in their own country, or starting the movement in their own community. The vision is always to do more, so make the light switch the beginning of your journey.
  6. How long has Earth Hour been going for?
    The first Earth Hour event was on March 31 2007. WWF-Australia inspired Sydney-siders to show their support for climate change action. More than 2.2 million individuals and 2,000 businesses turned their lights out for one hour in the first Earth Hour event.
    Earth Hour 2015 will mark the ninth year of the campaign.
  7. Is Earth Hour an annual event?
    Earth Hour is more than an annual event – it is a movement that culminates in an hour of inspiration across the world held towards the end of March each year.
  8. What exactly has Earth Hour achieved before launching Earth Hour Blue?
    • WWF Uganda started the world’s first Earth Hour Forest
    • More than 250,000 Russians voiced support for better protection of their country’s seas and forests
    • Argentina used its 2013 Earth Hour campaign to help pass a Senate bill for a 3.4 million hectare Marine Protected Area in the country
    • Thousands of wood-saving stoves were distributed to families in Madagascar
    • Solar-powered lights were installed in three villages without electricity in India
    • In Paraguay, WWF used the Earth Hour platform to build public support to gain an extension of the logging moratorium, helping to reduce deforestation
    • Education programs for schools were launched in Thailand and Taiwan
    • Hundreds of thousands of LED lights were installed by girl scouts in the USA
    • More than 2123 mitigation actions submitted by Earth Hour City Challenge 2014 participating cities

    But this is just the start, there are so many more Earth Hour stories out there we’re still discovering, and of course much more to do.

  9. Back to the event. Isn’t switching the lights off dangerous? What about public safety?
    Earth Hour only asks people to turn off the non-essential lights for one hour – not lights that affect public safety. Earth Hour is also a celebration of the planet so it’s important to enjoy the moment in a safe environment.
  10. What lights can be safely switched off?
    That is a decision that has to be made individually but usually the overhead lights in rooms (whether it is your house or a business), outdoor lighting that does not impact safety, decorative lights, neon signs for advertising, televisions, desk lamps, the list goes on and on.
    There are a few lights we can say with certainty that should NOT be turned off, including safety lights in public spaces, lights for aviation guidance, traffic lights, security lights, just to name a few. We ask people to use common sense. Before you turn off any lights for public spaces, Earth Hour recommends you check with local officials or community centres.
    In your own home, use common sense with respect to safety. Keep small night lights on for basic safety especially in halls and on stairs. Make sure you have alternative light sources handy before Earth Hour starts, like torches or flashlights. That way if you need to see, you have a light source close at hand, and you can still respect the spirit of Earth Hour and keep yourself and your family safe.
  11. What candles should I use for my Earth Hour event?
    If you plan on burning candles during Earth Hour, make sure you use 100% beeswax candles or soy candles, which are gentler on our planet – smoke free, non-toxic and non-allergenic. They are also made of natural products, not petroleum-based materials, so they are effectively carbon neutral (the CO2 they emit has already been taken from the atmosphere to produce the wax). Many communities are now replacing candles with LED lights for their event, as a way to promote energy efficient lighting – a key for any sustainable future. If you’re using candles, though, make sure you take care. We suggest you carefully follow these tips:

    1. Candles should only be used under adult supervision
    2. Candles should never be left unattended
    3. Candles should be kept away from children and pets
    4. Extinguish candles before going to sleep
    5. Keep candles away from flammable liquids and gas-combustible materials
    6. Candles should be kept clear of any combustible materials such as paper, curtains and clothing
    7. Candles should not be placed in windows as they can be blown over. Blinds and curtains can also catch alight
    8. Candles should be placed on a stable, dry, heat-resistant surface away from drafts
  12. What is Earth Hour’s position on technology?
    Earth Hour embraces technology to spread the message of positive environmental action across the world, and to replace more inefficient means of living our lives. Technology is key to a sustainable future that is aspirational. From LED lights, to hybrid vehicles, to developing replacements for unsustainable use of resources  – Earth Hour has thrived off the back of the development in digital technology.
  13. Will my city go completely black during the event?
    Earth Hour is not a black out. It is a voluntary action by its participants to show their commitment to an act of change that benefits the planet. For many businesses in city skyscrapers or for many government buildings, the lights are turned off at the end of the business day the Friday before Earth Hour. So Earth Hour is more of a fade-out in some ways than a black out. There is usually no instant dramatic difference, but rather a gradual dimming of lights starting the day prior. Many major icons and neon signs are switched off for the hour and they are extremely noticeable. You may be able to see dramatic changes in large business districts or at iconic landmarks and buildings around the world and in your city.
  14. If everyone turns their lights back on at the same time will there be a power surge?
    People celebrate Earth Hour in a variety of ways for different lengths of time, with many continuing to keep their lights off well beyond the designated hour. After eight years, it’s clear everyone will not switch back on his or her lights simultaneously.
  15. Why is Earth Hour the event held in late March?
    The second-to-last and last weekend of March is around the time of the Spring and Autumn equinoxes in the northern and southern hemispheres respectively, which allows for near coincidental sunset times in both hemispheres, thereby ensuring the greatest visual impact for a global ‘lights out’ event. Earth Hour 2015 will be held on Saturday 28 March between 8.30PM and 9.30PM in your local time zone.
  16. How many cities/countries/landmarks took part in Earth Hour 2013?
    Earth Hour 2013 took place in more than 7001 cities and towns in 154 countries and territories across all seven continents. Hundreds of millions of people switched their lights off for an hour, and the campaign experienced its biggest growth since 2009. There were around 3395 landmarks that participated.
  17. What does a commitment to Earth Hour mean?
    By registering for Earth Hour 2015, individuals, communities and businesses are making a commitment to turn their lights off for an hour at 8.30PM on Saturday 28 March in acknowledgement of an act they will undertake for the benefit of the planet. We hope that these individuals, communities and businesses will take action beyond the hour through Earth Hour Blue.
  18. Who can participate?
    Earth Hour is a campaign for anyone and everyone who wants to share a commitment to make this planet better.
  19. How can I do more for Earth Hour than just switching off my lights?
    You can fund a project or add your voice to support projects anywhere around the world on Earth Hour Blue.
  20. What energy/carbon reductions have resulted from Earth Hour in previous years?
    Earth hour does not claim that the event is an energy or carbon reduction exercise – it is a symbolic action. Therefore, we do not engage in the measurement of energy or carbon reduction levels. Earth Hour is an initiative to encourage individuals, businesses and governments around the world to take accountability for their ecological footprint and engage in dialogue and resource exchange that provides real solutions to our environmental challenges. Participation in Earth Hour symbolises a commitment to change beyond the hour.
  21. Aren’t you using a lot of electricity and resources to promote this event?
    Earth Hour takes every effort to minimise our footprint, not just for the hour but also all year round. Earth Hour Global has a core team of just nine people based in Singapore and relies on a dispersed open-sourced model, meaning that the movement is run locally through WWF and communities all over the world.
    All of Earth Hour Global’s emissions are offset and the campaign embraces digital technology to minimise the usage of natural resources and to spread our message.
  22. Earth Hour is advertised all over the world. Does Earth Hour pay for this advertising?
    Earth Hour Global secures millions of dollars of free advertising space with the help of partners such as Starcom, Discovery Networks International and many others. Earth Hour Global does not spend any money on paid advertising space. Earth Hour’s advice to teams around the world running local campaigns is to only seek either pro-bono or if absolutely necessary, low-bono advertising space.
  23. Whose idea was Earth Hour?
    Earth Hour came from a think tank initiated by Earth Hour CEO and Co-Founder, Andy Ridley, resulting in the formation of a partnership between WWF Australia, Leo Burnett and Fairfax Media to address the climate change issue.
    In 2007, there was still a degree of scepticism and denial about the issue of climate change. Earth Hour came as the inspiration to rally people to the reality of climate change and start a dialogue about what we as individuals can do to help address the greatest problem facing our planet today. Leo Burnett partnered with WWF to promote the idea and help make the campaign a reality in Sydney, a campaign which has now gone beyond climate change to symbolise the growing global pursuit of a better, healthier world.
    Read more about Andy Ridley’s story.
  24. What is Earth Hour’s relationship with WWF?
    Earth Hour is an initiative of WWF. In 2007, WWF initiated Earth Hour as a way of engaging a broad section of society in the environmental issues challenging citizens across the world. WWF embraced the idea of an open sourced campaign that would allow communities and organisations to become part of a global movement to protect out planet.
  25. Do you have requirements or regulations about who can or cannot partner with Earth Hour?
    Any partner must uphold and support the aims and principles of Earth Hour. These include encouraging individual and community engagement on environmental issues. Encouraging conscious decisions to change the way we live in order to affect environmental reform, without the use of scare tactics or shaming. The specific decisions about whether or not to partner with a group or corporation are made at local level by Earth Hour country and city teams based on what suits their needs and community in achieving the goals of Earth Hour.
  26. Does Earth Hour welcome the support of other NGOs (Non-Government Organisations) and NFP’s (Not for Profits)?
    Absolutely. In fact, the success of Earth Hour would not be possible without the support of other NGOs and NFPs. Global organisations such as the World Organisation of the Scout Movement and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts have been pivotal in spreading the Earth Hour message, while in some countries where there is no WWF presence, Earth Hour campaigns are orchestrated entirely by other NGOs and NFPs.
  27. What does the Earth Hour logo mean?
    The standard Earth Hour ’60’ logo represents the 60 minutes of Earth Hour where we focus on the impact we are having on our planet and take positive action to address the environmental issues we face. For Earth Hour 2011 the ‘60+’ logo was introduced representing a commitment to add to Earth Hour a positive act for the planet that goes beyond the hour. Take up the ‘plus’ and get involved with Earth Hour Blue.
  28. I represent a hotel. What the best way for my organisation to celebrate Earth Hour?
    You can click here for the hotel’s guide. Everything you need to know about running an Earth Hour – tips and tricks, email templates for staff and partners, going beyond the hour and more – specially for hotels.
  29. I’m new to Earth Hour, where can I start?
    You can click here for the all-round event guide! This comprehensive guide contains a list of FAQ regarding Earth Hour as well as ideas and suggestions of various activities different groups can carry out during and after Earth Hour.

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