Earth Hour is a worldwide event organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and held towards the end 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 2013 was celebrated on March 23, 2013. Earth Hour 2014 is scheduled for Saturday, March 29, from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. during participants' local time.
The Earth Hour event was conceived by WWF and Leo Burnett, and first took place in 2007 in Sydney when 2.2 million residents participated by turning off all non-essential lights.Following Sydney's lead, many other cities around the world adopted the event in 2008.
1.1.1 2008 participants
220.127.116.11 TV channels
1.2.2 Songs about Earth Hour
1.6.1 Participating countries
In 2004, confronted with scientific findings, WWF Australia met with advertising agency Leo Burnett Sydney to "discuss ideas for engaging Australians on the issue of climate change".The idea of a large scale switch off was coined and developed in 2006, originally under the working title "The Big Flick". WWF Australia presented their concept to Fairfax Media who, along with Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore, agreed to back the event.The 2007 Earth Hour was held on 31 March in Sydney, Australia at 7:30 pm, local time.
In October 2007 San Francisco ran its own "Lights Out" program inspired by the Sydney Earth Hour.After their successful event in October, the organisers decided to rally behind the Earth Hour being planned for March 2008.
showed there was a 4 percentage point increase in awareness of environmental issues such as climate change, directly after the event.
Earth Hour 2008 included 31 partner cities,along with 182 other cities and regions that also supported the event.
Since Earth Hour for 2008 was on a Saturday, many high schools in the Greater Toronto Area participated by turning off half the lights in classrooms during the last hour of school on Friday, March 28, 2008. Although the tagline of Earth Hour 2008 was officially, "See the difference you can make", the official radio advertisement ended with the tagline, "Dark city, bright idea."
Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House were darkened during Earth Hour 2007.
Tel Aviv scheduled their Earth Hour for Thursday 27 March 2008 to avoid conflict with Sabbath.Dublin moved their Earth Hour to between 9 and 10 p.m. due to their northern geographical location.
According to WWF Thailand, Bangkok decreased electricity usage by 73.34 megawatts, which, over one hour, is equivalent to 41.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide. The Bangkok Post gave different figures of 165 megawatt-hours and 102 tonnes of carbon dioxide. This was noted to be significantly less than a
similar campaign initiated by Bangkok's City Hall the previous year in May, when 530 megawatt-hours were saved and 143 tonnes of carbon dioxide emission were cut.
Philippine Electricity Market Corp. noted that power consumption dropped by about 78.63 megawatts in Metro Manila, and up to 102.2 megawatts on Luzon. The maximum demand drop of around 39 MW was experienced at 8:14 p.m. in Metro Manila and of around 116 MW at 8:34 p.m. in the Luzon grid.
Ontario used approximately 900 megawatt-hours less electrical energy during Earth Hour. At one point, Toronto, Ontario saw an 8.7% reduction in consumption as compared to a typical March Saturday night.
Ireland, as a whole, had a reduction in electricity use of about 1.5% for the evening.In the three-hour period between 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., there was a reduction of 50 megawatts, saving 150 megawatt-hours, or approximately 60 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
Colosseum darkened for Earth Hour 2008
Golden Gate Bridge and Marin Headlands public open space in the background, before (inset) and during Earth Hour 2008
|In Dubai, where external lighting on several major city landmarks was turned off and street lighting in selected areas was dimmed by 50%, the Electricity and Water Authority reported savings of 100 megawatt-hours of electricity. This represented a 2.4% reduction in demand compared to before the hour began. |
The best result was from Christchurch, New Zealand, with the city reporting a drop of 13% in electricity demand. However, national grid operator Transpower reported that New Zealand's power consumption during Earth Hour was 335 megawatts, higher than the 328 megawatt average of the previous two Saturdays.Melbourne, Australia reduced demand by 10.1%. Sydney, being the city that participated in both the 2007 and 2008 Earth Hours, cut electricity consumption by 8.4%. This is less than the previous year's 10.2%; however, Earth Hour executive director Andy Ridley made the claim that after factoring margin of error, the participation in this city was the same.
Auditorio de Tenerife darkened for Earth Hour
The worst result was from Calgary, Canada. The city's power consumption actually went up 3.6% at the hour's peak electricity demand.Calgary's weather plays a large role in power consumption, and the city experienced weather 12°C (around 22°F) colder than the previous Saturday's recorded temperature in the inaugural year. Enmax, the city's power supplier, has confirmed that in all subsequent years, Calgarians have not supported the Earth Hour initiative, noting that power consumption changed only marginally during the hour in 2010 and 2011 (1% or less) and in 2012 and 2013 showed no appreciable change in power usage at all.
The Sky Tower in Auckland, New Zealand, switched off its usual floodlighting during the Earth Hour, and re-lit afterwards. (the red lights in the middle image are aircraft warning lights)
Earth Hour has also received free publicity from the Google corporation. From 12:00 a.m. on 29 March 2008 until the end of Earth Hour, the Google homepage in the United States, Colombia, Canada, Denmark, Ireland and the UK was turned to a black background. Their tagline is, "We've turned the lights out. Now it's your turn – Earth Hour." However, Google stated that for 2009 they would not turn the page black again due to the confusion it caused many users. A common misconception is that having a black background on a web page reduces the power consumption of monitors; LCD monitors use a constant amount of power regardless of which colors are shown. This is not the case for organic LED monitors, though they are not currently in popular use.Also YouTube has light switches on their videos and comments.
A web screenshot of Google Canada's 'darkened' homepage on 29 March 2008.
To raise awareness for Earth Hour 2009 during the week leading up to it, Arla Foods coloured their Swedish milk cartons black-grey, as distinct from the typical white-green.
Earth Hour 2009 was from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. local time, March 28, 2009. 88 countries and 4,159 cities participated in Earth Hour 2009,ten times more cities than Earth Hour 2008 had (2008 saw 400 cities participate). One billion votes was the stated aim for Earth Hour 2009, in the context of the pivotal 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference.
The Canadian province of Ontario, excluding the city of Toronto, saw a decrease of 6% in electricity usage while Toronto saw a decrease of 15.1% (nearly doubled from 8.7% the previous year) as many businesses darkened, including the landmark CN Tower.Reports show that the United States topped the Earth Hour participation with an estimated 80,000,000 people, 318 cities and 8 states participating. The Philippines saw participation from 647 cities and towns; over 15 million Filipinos were estimated to have joined in the hour-long lights-off. This was followed by Greece with 484 cities and towns participating, and Australia with 309.Among the participants in 2009 was, for the first time, the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. The U.N. conservatively estimates that its participation will save $102 in energy.
Swedish electricity operator Svenska Kraftnät recorded a 2.1% decrease in power consumption from its projected figure between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. The following hour, the corresponding number was 5%. This is equivalent to the consumption of approximately half a million households out of the total 4.5 million households in Sweden.
According to Vietnam Electricity Company, Vietnam's electricity demand fell 140 MWh during Earth Hour.
The Philippines was able to save 611 MWh of electricity during the time period, which is said to be equivalent to shutting down a dozen coal-fired power plants for an hour.
96 countries on 6 continents participated in the event in 2009.
Malaysia's 8TV halted transmission for one hour starting from 20:30
Earth Hour 2010 was held from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. local time, 27 March. In Israel, the hour was held on 22 April.
Earth Hour 2010 was reportedly the biggest Earth Hour yet, aiming to garner more than the one billion participant goal of 2009's Earth Hour.
126 countries participated in Earth Hour 2010.
In the United States polling shows that an estimated 90,000,000 Americans participated in Earth Hour as lights were turned off around the country, including landmarks such as Mount Rushmore, the Las Vegas Strip, the Empire State Building and Niagara Falls.
Earth Hour will be carried out in practical ways, as cities and landmarks apply the core principle of turning off the lights to their everyday routine. In Chicago, the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) developed lighting guidelines to reduce light pollution, and reduce the carbon footprint of downtown buildings. Mount Rushmore in South Dakota will now start powering down each night around 9 p.m. instead of 11 p.m.
In Vietnam, electricity demand fell 500,000 kWh during Earth Hour 2010, which was three times larger than the first time the country joined the event in 2009.
The metal structure of the greenhouses of the curitiban Botanic Garden (Curitiba, Paraná, Southern Brazil), with its lights off on 27 March 2010
In the Philippines, 1,067 towns and cities pledged participation in 2010 and over 15 million Filipinos participated in the event.
About 4000 cities participated, including landmarks such as Big Ben, the Empire State Building, the Sydney Opera House, the Eiffel Tower, the Parthenon, the Brandenburg Gate, and the Forbidden City.
Celebrity Earth Hour ambassadors included South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, President of Vietnam Nguyễn Minh Triết, and London Mayor Boris Johnson.
Earth Hour has garnered support from many corporations including Coca-Cola Enterprises, Wells Fargo, IKEA, HSBC, PwC, Accenture and Nokia Siemens Networks.
Some critics point out that the reduction in power consumption in most cases is indistinguishable from zero. Sydney's The Herald Sun equated the power savings in the Sydney central business district to "taking 48,613 cars off the road for 1 hour." Critics, most notably Australian Columnist Andrew Bolt pointed out that "A cut so tiny [48,613 cars off the road for 1 hour] is trivial – equal to taking six cars off the road for a year".
A picture of 1600 pandas (made in Thailand by the World Wide Fund for Nature) exposed in Boulogne-Billancourt (France) on the occasion of Earth Hour
Australian advertising agency Wunderman Sydney produced a marketing piece to support Earth Hour, their pro-bono client since 2009. To encourage businesses to participate in Earth Hour 2010, five-thousand 'Plant Spikes' were produced and distributed to offices around Australia. The spike was designed to be inserted in office pot plants by plant hire company TPR Group as they serviced plants in businesses nationwide.
To ensure the spike was completely friendly environmentally, the agency partnered with printer STI Lilyfield to invent an organic printer's ink containing natural plant fertilizer derived from Durvillaea potatorum and extract of Ascophyllum nodosum to promote healthy plant growth and improve resistance to insect and fungal attack. Printed on 100% FSC-certified paper, this ink fertilized the pot plants as the spike biodegraded naturally in the plant's soil.
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, some of the world's most well known 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 for Earth Hour's global "lights out" event.
In India, Earth Hour 2011 was held on 26 March 2011 from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. IST, flagged off by the Chief Minister of Delhi Sheila Dixit and Earth Hour 2011 Ambassador and Bollywood Heroine Vidya Balan in the presence of Jim Leape, Director General, WWF International. Rosebowl channel suspended broadcasting from 8.30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m. to mark the observance of Earth Hour.
All seven continents joined in with turning their lights off. In Azerbaijan, Maiden Tower darkened for Earth Hour.
The Philippines, which has been an active participant of the Earth Hour, had an early "earth hour" when power was accidentally interrupted, plunging Metro Manila and nearby provinces into darkness. After power was restored, major buildings, commercial centers and residential areas in Metro Manila and most provinces continued to turn off their lights, while participating channels in the Philippines, ABS-CBN and Cartoon Network halted their transmissions for an hour.
30 provinces and cities in Vietnam took part in Earth Hour 2011 with the main event held in Nha Trang. The nation's electricity demand fell 400,000 kWh, which is one fifth less than the previous year's. Vietnam managed to save 500 million VND (US$23,809) thanks to the saved power.
YouTube promoted the Earth Hour by changing its logo, and by adding a switch on/off feature near the title of each video, so that users can change the background color from white to black.
One of the least co-operative areas traditionally has been Alberta; in 2008, Calgary's power consumption went up during Earth Hour. The trend continued in 2011 when Edmonton's power usage also increased. While Calgary's power usage went down in 2011 during the event, electricity officials could not distinguish their readings between normal usage and a conscious attempt to participate.
Earth Hour 2012 was observed on 31 March 2012 from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. (participant's local time). It took place in more than 7000 cities and towns across 152 countries and territories, making it the biggest growth year for the campaign since 2009.
In February, Earth Hour launched its 2012 campaign "I Will If You Will", with the intention of engaging its growing global community to go beyond the hour and coordinate efforts publicly through Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and e-mail. 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.
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."
Further proof of Earth Hour's change in direction came when it was announced its global headquarters was moving from Sydney to Singapore. A launch event took place at ION Orchard on 20 February 2012, where it was announced that the move was supported by Singapore's Economic Development Board (EDB).
As in the previous year, YouTube changed its logo and added a light switch feature near video titles, so that users can change the background color from white to black. There were 4.6 million hits on the platform during the week of Earth Hour, with more than 200,000 people personally pledging to take a direct action beyond the hour.
The potential impact of the campaign was felt in December 2012, when the Russian Parliament passed a strengthened law to protect its country's seas from oil pollution after a 122,000 strong petition was presented to the State Duma after Earth Hour's I Will If You Will campaign in 2012.
Earth Hour 2013 was held across the world on Saturday, March 23 at 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. local time to avoid taking place after European Summer Time begins, ensuring the greatest impact of the lights off event. It is also to avoid coinciding with Western Christianity Holy Saturday, which falls on March 30 of that year.
In 2013, the world's first Earth Hour Forest began in Uganda, as a first step to fight the 6000 hectares of deforestation that occur in the country every month. The WWF-Uganda team identified close to 2700 hectares of degraded land, and used the I Will If You Will concept to challenge businesses, government officials and individuals to fill it with at least 500,000 trees during the year. Standard Chartered Bank-Uganda pledged to help fill the forest with more than 250,000 trees.
Former President of Botswana, Festus Mogae promised to plant one million indigenous trees over four years, as part of his "I Will If You Will" challenge for Earth 2013. He will kick off his IWIYW challenge by planting 100,000 trees in a severely degraded area in Southern part of the country called Goodhope. The remaining trees will be planted in other parts of the country which are also in need of land rehabilitation, such as in the North Eastern and Western part of Botswana. By Earth Hour 2013, the 'Ini Aksiku! Mana Aksimu?' campaign (localised Indonesian version of "I Will If You Will") led to a revolutionary
Italy, Verona, Arena with backlight on on square Bra, in the bottom the Town Hall in 2013 WWF Verona Paolo Villa
|use of Twitter to mobilise thirty cities across Indonesia to take ongoing action beyond the hour. The "I Will If You Will" campaign spread to more than 50 countries, generating momentum behind Earth Hour's push to be an ongoing movement for change. |
At the global media launch for Earth Hour 2013, CEO and Co-Founder Andy Ridley spoke about the movement's significant environmental outcomes beyond the hour: "People from all walks of life, from all nations around the world, are the lifeblood of the Earth Hour interconnected global community. They have proven time and time again that if you believe in something strongly enough, you can achieve amazing things. These stories aren't unique, this is happening all over the world," he said.
It is being celebrated in countries including:
Italy, Verona, Arena with backlight off on square Bra, in the bottom Town Hall in 2013 WWF Verona Paolo Villa
Earth Hour 2014 announced the date will schedule on March 29 as seen on the 2013 Earth Hour highlights.
Whistler does it again, tops all B.C. communities
Earth Hour 2015 took place on Saturday, March 28, 2015 from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. And for the second year in a row, the community of Whistler saved the biggest percentage of electricity among communities participating in the event.
While B.C. as a whole saved only .2 per cent of regular electricity load over the one hour, Whistler saved 7.2 per cent.
See our Earth Hour information bulletin for a full rundown of 2015 Earth Hour results.
An annual global event hosted by the World Wildlife Fund and supported provincially by BC Hydro, Earth Hourencourages individuals to show their support for the fight against climate change by turning out their lights. In 2014, Whistler cut electricity use during Earth Hour by a B.C.-best six per cent, and they beat that at 7.2 per cent in 2015 to finish first once again.
What Earth Hour means to BC Hydro
For BC Hydro, Earth Hour is a reminder of the power of conservation, but it's no substitute for making energy efficiency a priority year round.
DSM, the common reference to Demand Side Management within BC Hydro, is what drives Power Smart programs, and it has played a huge role in keeping our electricity rates among the lowest in North America. Efficient use of power and changes in behaviour in B.C. save the equivalent amount of electricity to meet the annual needs of more than 440,000 homes.
"I Will If You Will" (IWIYW) is an Earth Hour campaign to encourage positive action for the environment. The actions required are up to the individual or group. They could be big or small and it might be a simple lifestyle change or perhaps something that leads to political change. The campaign intends for people to become the inspiration to their friends, family, colleagues and communities by sharing what they’re willing to do to protect the planet. Challenges can be created or accepted on Earth Hour's YouTube channel.
Earth Hour is supported around the world by Woodland, CBRE, the National Hockey League, FIFA, UEFA, Manchester United, Hilton Hotels, Girl Scouts of the USA, World Organisation of the Scouts Movement, UNESCO, UN Environment Programme, the International Trade Union Confederation, HSBC, World Association of the Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, Philips, Ikea, The Body Shop and more.
The Earth Hour Global FAQ page states:
Earth Hour does not purport to be an energy/carbon reduction exercise, it is a symbolic action. Therefore, we do not engage in the measurement of energy/carbon reduction levels for the hour itself. 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.