Earth Hour, the annual power-down event, is next weekend, Saturday March 28 at 8:30-9:30pm local time. The global environmental movement began in 2007 in Australia by WWF and has been gaining traction every year since. We thought we’d take a look into whether this awareness-raising event is having any impact on reducing global use of energy. Can one hour a year make a difference? Is there any evidence that we are taking Earth Hour to heart and taking action beyond the hour? Let’s take a look.
- Over 162 countries and territories have participated in Earth Hour
- Over 7000 cities and towns have participated
- 60 countries are going ‘beyond the hour’ (see some examples below)
- 1.2 billion tweets about #EarthHour were sent for 2014
- $61,487 was crowdfunded for Earth Hour in 2014
Many countries took Earth Hour as an opportunity to focus on their particular environmental challenge:
- In 2014 Australia focused on saving the Great Barrier Reef with a documentary called “Lights out for the Reef”
- China focused on smog and air pollution, with a Blue Sky campaign that reached hundreds of millions of people through corporate involvement
- Pandas received some love when The Amazing Spiderman 2 in collaboration with Earth Hour raised $42,439 USD to help protect the endangered species
- In Singapore, crowdfunding focused on ‘Stop the Killing’ to address wildlife crime in South East Asia. The effort raised $20,000
- Indonesia tracked 1.5 million pledges from individuals (mostly youth) to reduce their carbon footprint
- Madagascar ran a ‘Saving Forests and Families’ crowdfunding campaign and has been delivering thousands of high-efficiency stoves to families as a WWF ‘beyond Earth Hour’ initiative. They also launched a reforestation plan with schools planting 4,500 trees.
- Russia raised $106,000 to help save the following critical species: Amur Leopard, Snow Leopard, Bison, Polar Bear, Siberian Tiger.
- Greece collected 15,500 signatures to protest the construction of a new coal plant (Ptolemaida V) and to develop a vision for clean energy in Greece.
- In Ecuador, plans were launched to reduce certain key plastic products in order to protect marine conservation, including the Galapagos Islands.
And the list goes on! There were music festivals, documentaries, tree-planting campaigns, educational programs, clean-up campaigns, and hashtag campaigns (#maketheswitch). Countries also focused on their dried-up river beds, disappearing ice, and switch to energy-efficient light bulbs. One can easily see that the diversity and effort linked to Earth Hour (mostly through the on-going efforts of WWF) has caused grassroots efforts to address critical issues worldwide. We didn’t even find the estimated energy savings from the one-hour power down from homes and industry across the globe. But the list of on-going efforts is enough for us to say: Lights Out! Bring on #EarthHour!