Earth Hour 2017, the annual power-down event, arrives this month on Saturday March 25 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.
- 178 countries and territories participated in Earth Hour 2016
- The Eiffel Tower and 400 other landmarks powered down
- Over 7,000 cities and towns have participated
- 60 countries are going 'beyond the hour' (see some examples below)
- Billions of tweets about #EarthHour have been posted
- Tens of thousands of dollars are crowdfunded for Earth Hour each year
Many countries took Earth Hour as an opportunity to focus on their particular environmental challenge:
- Australia has 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
- In 2014, 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 have been music festivals, documentaries, tree-planting campaigns, educational programs, clean-up campaigns, and hashtag campaigns (#maketheswitch).
Countries also focus 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.
Not to mention the obvious 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!