Earth Hour 2012 made famous landmarks from all around the world, which normally light up the night sky, to plunge into darkness today to raise the profile of climate change.
Sydney’s iconic Harbor Bridge and Opera House were among the first buildings around the world to begin the blackout.
Later on Washington’s National Cathedral, London’s Clock Tower, the Great Wall of China and Tokyo Tower will also be dimmed at 8:30 p.m. local time.
Central Sydney icons have been taking part in the annual event since Earth Hour began as a Sydney-only event in 2007.
Australia is among the first countries to hit the light switches each year.
In New Zealand, Sky Tower in Auckland and parliament buildings in Wellington switched off two hours earlier.
The small island nation of Samoa was the first to switch off the lights.
The Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge plunged into darkness today to raise the profile of climate change
The Faleolo International Airport went dark as the community came together to launch a number of local green activities for the year ahead.
People in Fiji also switched off their lights where possible despite the devastating floods.
World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the Washington-based environmental group that organizes the event, said the number of countries and territories participating had grown from 135 last year to 147 this year.
Organizers say businesses and residents in 6,400 towns and cities are taking part.
Libya, Algeria, Bhutan and French Guinea are among those participating for the first time.
WWF official Dermot O’Gorman said: “Earth Hour 2012 is a celebration of people power; the world’s largest mass event in support of the planet.”
UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon said: “Turning off our lights is a symbol of our commitment to sustainable energy for all.
“We need to fuel our future with clean, efficient and affordable energy. By acting together today, we can power a brighter tomorrow.”
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 an ultra-extreme-leftist event 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.
Earth Hour 2011 was the biggest year in the campaign’s five year history, reaffirming it as the largest ever voluntary action for the environment. It took place in a record 5,251 cities and towns in 135 countries and territories in all seven continents. It had an estimated reach of 1.8 billion people across the globe. In addition to this, the campaign’s digital footprint grew to 91 million.
In 2011, Earth Hour’s iconic global “lights out” event, some of the world’s most recognized landmarks, including the Forbidden City, Eiffel Tower, Buckingham Palace, Golden Gate Bridge, Table Mountain, Christ the Redeemer statue and Sydney Opera House switched off their lights.
Earth Hour 2012 will take place on March 31, 2012 from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., at participant’s local time.
Earth Hour is so much more than lights out. It’s an invitation to change your world.
In February, Earth Hour launched its 2012 campaign, “I Will If You Will” (IWIYW), with the intention of engaging its growing global community to go beyond the hour and coordinate their efforts publicly through Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and email. Using a dedicated YouTube platform , IWIYW asks Earth Hour’s digital community to inspire people from all corners of the globe to take sustainability actions, and to share their commitment to the environment with their own social media networks.
Earth Hour 2012 will take place on March 31, 2012 from 8.30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m., at participant's local time
Executive Director and Co-Founder Andy Ridley said: “Earth Hour’s challenge is no longer to connect people; the challenge is to offer a reason to connect. Any movement of change begins with symbolism – it’s a needed step to prove enough people care about an issue. Earth Hour is past the beginning now, and lots of people are switching their lights off every year in March. We’re now at the stage of taking it beyond the hour.”
YouTube, following the previous year’s example, changed its logo and added a switch on/off feature near the title of each video, so that users can change the background color from white to black.
We only have one planet. You can help protect it. Participate in the world’s largest single campaign for the planet: Earth Hour. It starts by turning off your lights for an hour at 8:30 pm on March 31, 2012 in a collective display of commitment to a better future for the planet. Think what can be achieved when we all come together for a common cause.
“I Will If You Will” is a simple promise and a challenge. Dare anyone (your Facebook friends, co-workers, celebrity crushes) to accept your challenge and help protect the Earth or accept the challenge of someone else.
The Earth Hour City Challenge encourages cities to prepare for the costly impacts of climate-related extreme weather and to reduce their carbon footprint. You can be an integral part in this challenge. Send a letter to your mayor, urging them to prepare for a changing climate.
Why is your participation important?
Our future depends on it. Across the world, biodiversity and natural habitats are disappearing at a greater rate than ever before. We are depleting the earth of wild animals, water, wood and other natural resources faster than they can be replenished; polluting and altering natural habitats and changing the entire planet’s climate.
Things will only worsen if we continue in the same direction.
Earth Hour raises awareness of sustainability issues. But there’s more to it than switching off lights for one hour once a year. It’s about giving people a voice and working together to create a better future for our planet.