Earth Hour: millions prepare to switch off the lights

Once again Earth Hour is here. WWF is calling on hundreds of millions of people in thousands of cities and towns around the world to switch off their lights for an hour at 8:30 pm local time on Saturday March 23rd, 2013 to show their concern for the environment.

Although there has been some controversy as to whether or not a lot of energy is actually saved during that one hour, WWF maintains Earth Hour is not about saving energy but more about raising awareness. This year's campaign is "I Will If You Will". This is where you can pledge to take action beyond Earth Hour and get your friends, family and colleagues involved. WWF also wants to spread the word using social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

How did Earth Hour get started?

Earth Hour is a worldwide event that is organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and is held on the last Saturday of March annually, encouraging households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour to raise awareness about the need to take action on climate change. Earth Hour was conceived by WWF and The Sydney Morning Herald in 2007, when 2.2 million residents of Sydney participated by turning off all non-essential lights. Following Sydney's lead, many other cities around the world adopted the event in 2008.

This year some of the key landmarks around the world that will turn off their lights are:

The Sydney opera house and Harbour bridge, Petronas towers in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore's Marina Bay Sands, Tokyo tower, Taipei 101, the Bird's Nest in Beijing, the Gateway of India, the world's tallest building the Burj Khalifa, the Ancient Citadel of Erbil in Kurdistan, Table Mountain, the Bosphorus Bridge, the Eiffel Tower, the Brandenburg Gate, the UK Houses of Parliament, Buckingham palace, the Empire State Building, Niagara Falls and Los Angeles airport.

Landmarks switching their lights off for the first time for Earth Hour this year include Copenhagen's Little Mermaid statue and Florence's Statue of David.

Countries around the world are also planning events to participate on the annual Earth Hour day. They are listed below courtesy of WWF.

The Uk hopes to break the record of 7 million people who took part last year. Landmarks that will turn off their lights include Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square, BFI Imax, the London Eye, the Gherkin, Edinburgh castle, Brighton Pier, Westminster abbey, Durham cathedral, Old Trafford, Canterbury cathedral, Windsor Castle and Tewkesbury abbey. WWF-UK is hosting a night at the Southbank in London that will stream live content from around the world and feature a live acoustic performance by the band McFly, who have done the Harlem Shake in panda onesies to launch the campaign. Celebrity chefs including Raymond Blanc, Gordon Ramsay and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall have created special recipes for families to prepare and eat by candlelight, and WWF has teamed up with a Kevin McCloud, Miranda Richardson and Alistair McGowan, who have recorded readings of Rudyard Kipling's famous Just So stories.

Earth Hour organisers and WWF affiliate Fundación Vida Silvestre is encouraging participants in Argentina to support a senate bill to make Banco Namuncurá (Burdwood) a marine protected area. If passed, the 34,000-km sq area will raise the protected area of Argentina's seas from 1% to 4%.

In 2007, 2.2 million people took part in the first Earth Hour in Sydney. This year, some of Australia's most famous landmarks will glow green to symbolise their commitment to renewable energy. Sydney Opera House, the Arts Centre in Melbourne and Council House in Perth will be all be powered by 100% clean energy and organisers are asking Australians to "switch off for good by switching on to renewable energy". Towns and suburbs with the highest number of pledges will win solar power systems for their councils from Sungevity. Community events are also being planned, from stargazing Sydney to night runs in Queensland and BBQ bushwalk in Canberra.

In Botswana, former president Festus Mogae has marked a four-year commitment to plant 1 million indigenous trees with the planting of 100,000 trees in Goodhope, a severely degraded area in southern Botswana.

The CN Tower in Toronto, Canada will dim its lights for the sixth year running – the city was the second ever to back the campaign. Vancouver was named this week as the winner of the Earth Hour city challenge, for its "overall holistic and strategic approach to climate action". It beat 16 other finalists including Sydney, New Dehli, San Francisco and Olso.

The Indian subcontinent will switch off the Gateway of India lights at the same time as four villages in Madhya Pradesh receive solar lanterns, the first form of energy they will ever use.

WWF says Earth Hour will be the first piece of environmental action taking place in Palestine since its UN recognition as a state. Earth Hour is being coordinated from both Gaza and the West Bank, with switch-off events taking place at Al-Jundi and Palestine squares, in Gaza City, and the cities of Nablus, Bethlehem, and Ramallah.


Russia will switch off the lights at around 100 landmarks across 50 cities and towns. Following a successful petition last year that was instrumental in the passing of a law to protect the seas from oil pollution, this year WWF Earth Hour Russia is turning its attention to forest protection. Organisers are on their way to securing more than 100,000 signatures for a petition to change forest legislation. The amendments would reinstate a ban on industrial logging and protect almost 18% of all Russian forests – equal to an area of land twice the size of France.

In Tunisia, which is taking part in Earth Hour for the first time this year, 11 cities and towns will turn their lights off, with the main event taking place at Avenue Habib Bourguiba, the site of the initial protests that sparked the Arab Spring. It will be attended by Tunisia's president, Moncef Marzouki.

In Uganda, where 6,000 hectares of deforestation occurs every month, WWF Uganda is aiming to fill close to 2,700 hectares of degraded land with at least 500,000 indigenous trees as part of Earth Hour 2013.

In the United States, New York city landmarks taking place include Times Square, the Rockefeller center and the Empire State Building. The bright lights of the Las Vegas strip will also go dark for the hour, as well as Los Angeles airport and Niagara Falls.

Responses to "Earth Hour - Saturday, March 23rd, 2013 from 8:30 - 9:30 pm, local time"

  1. Anonymous says:

    to participate in actions protecting Mother Earth for us AND future generations is the universal goal that makes possible a cooperation of peoples regardless their social, cultural, religious political ....background!!

  2. Morgana says:

    Yes, Mother Earth, or Paradise.

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