What is Earth Hour? {Q & A and Kids Downloadables}

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Millions of people, businesses and governments around the world unite each year to support the largest grassroots environmental event in history – Earth Hour.

Earth Hour asks individuals, businesses and governments around the world to turn off their lights for one hour to support urgent action on climate change.

Make this a family event, gather together and talk about the importance of uniting together to protect our planet for future generations.

Check out these free downloadable colouring sheets.

Celebrate Earth Hour this Saturday, March 29th at 8:30 pm local time.

 

What is Earth Hour

 

Earth Hour is a worldwide grassroots movement uniting people to protect the planet, and is organised by WWF. Engaging a massive mainstream community on a broad range of environmental issues, Earth Hour was famously started as a lights-off event in Sydney, Australia in 2007. Since then it has grown to engage more than 7000 cities and towns worldwide, and the one-hour event continues to remain the key driver of the now larger movement.

When does Earth Hour take place?

Earth Hour 2014 will be held on Saturday 29 March between 8.30PM and 9.30PM in your local time zone. The event is held worldwide towards the end of March annually, encouraging individuals, communities households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour as a symbol for their commitment to the planet.

Earth Hour 2015 will take place on Saturday, 28 of March at 8:30PM to 9:30PM in your local timezone.

How many cities/countries/landmarks took part in Earth Hour 2013?

Earth Hour 2013 took place in more than 7001 cities and towns in 154 countries and territories across all seven continents. Hundreds of millions of people switched their lights off for an hour, and the campaign experienced its biggest growth since 2009. There were around 3395 landmarks that participated.

What does Earth Hour aim to achieve?

Earth Hour aims to encourage an interconnected global community to share the opportunities and challenges of creating a sustainable world.

What does Earth Hour ask people to do?

The first thing anyone can do to get involved is to turn off their lights on Saturday. But there’s much, much more. But their full ambition is for people to take action beyond the hour. Whether it’s supporting a crowdfunding or crowdsroucing campaign on www.earthhour.org or getting involved in Earth Hour campaigns in their own country, or starting the movement in their own community. The vision is always to do more, so make the light switch the beginning of your journey.

How long has Earth Hour been going for?

The first Earth Hour event was on March 31 2007. WWF-Australia inspired Sydney-siders to show their support for climate change action. More than 2.2 million individuals and 2,000 businesses turned their lights out for one hour in the first Earth Hour event.

Earth Hour 2014 will mark the eighth year of the campaign.

Is Earth Hour an annual event?

Earth Hour is more than annual event – it is a movement that culminates in an hour of inspiration across the world held towards the end of March each year.

What is Earth Hour Blue?

Earth Hour Blue is an all-encompassing, global crowdfunding and crowdsourcing platform for the planet. It is all about the collective effort of individuals around the world getting together to help fund or add their voice to support on-the-ground environmental and social projects that deliver real outcomes.

What exactly has Earth Hour achieved before launching Earth Hour Blue?

  • WWF Uganda started the world’s first Earth Hour Forest
  • More than 250,000 Russians voiced support for better protection of their country’s seas and forests
  • Argentina used its 2013 Earth Hour campaign to help pass a Senate bill for a 3.4 million hectare Marine Protected Area in the country
  • Thousands of wood-saving stoves were distributed to families in Madagascar
  • Solar-powered lights were installed in three villages without electricity in India
  • In Paraguay, WWF used the Earth Hour platform to build public support to gain an extension of the logging moratorium, helping to reduce deforestation
  • Education programs for schools were launched in Thailand and Taiwan
  • Hundreds of thousands of LED lights were installed by girl scouts in the USA
  • More than 2123 mitigation actions submitted by Earth Hour City Challenge 2014 participating cities
  • But this is just the start, there’s so many more Earth Hour stories out there we’re still discovering, and of course much more to do.
Isn’t switching the lights off dangerous? What about public safety?

Earth Hour only asks people to turn off the non-essential lights for one hour – not lights that affect public safety. Earth Hour is also a celebration of the planet so it’s important to enjoy the moment in a safe environment.

What lights can be safely switched off?

That is a decision that has to be made individually but usually the overhead lights in rooms (whether it is your house or a business), outdoor lighting that does not impact safety, decorative lights, neon signs for advertising, televisions, desk lamps, the list goes on and on.

There are a few lights we can say with certainty that should NOT be turned off, including safety lights in public spaces, lights for aviation guidance, traffic lights, security lights, just to name a few. We ask people to use common sense. Before you turn off any lights for public spaces, Earth Hour recommends you check with local officials or community centres.

In your own home, use common sense with respect to safety. Keep small night lights on for basic safety especially in halls and on stairs. Make sure you have alternative light sources handy before Earth Hour starts, like torches or flashlights. That way if you need to see, you have a light source close at hand, and you can still respect the spirit of Earth Hour and keep yourself and your family safe.

What candles should I use for my Earth Hour event?

If you plan on burning candles during Earth Hour, make sure you use 100% beeswax candles or soy candles, which are gentler on our planet – smoke free, non-toxic and non-allergenic. They are also made of natural products, not petroleum-based materials, so they are effectively carbon neutral (the CO2 they emit has already been taken from the atmosphere to produce the wax). Many communities are now replacing candles with LED lights for their event, as a way to promote energy efficient lighting – a key for any sustainable future. If you’re using candles, though, make sure you take care. We suggest you carefully follow these tips:

  1. Candles should only be used under adult supervision
  2. Candles should never be left unattended
  3. Candles should be kept away from children and pets
  4. Extinguish candles before going to sleep
  5. Keep candles away from flammable liquids and gas-combustible materials
  6. Candles should be kept clear of any combustible materials such as paper, curtains and clothing
  7. Candles should not be placed in windows as they can be blown over. Blinds and curtains can also catch alight
  8. Candles should be placed on a stable, dry, heat-resistant surface away from drafts
What is Earth Hour’s position on technology?

Earth Hour embraces technology to spread the message of positive environmental action across the world, and to replace more inefficient means of living our lives. Technology is key to a sustainable future that is aspirational. From LED lights, to hybrid vehicles, to developing replacements for unsustainable use of resources  – Earth Hour has thrived off the back of the development in digital technology.

Will my city go completely black during the event?

Earth Hour is not a black out. It is a voluntary action by its participants to show their commitment to an act of change that benefits the planet. For many businesses in city skyscrapers or for many government buildings, the lights are turned off at the end of the business day the Friday before Earth Hour. So Earth Hour is more of a fade-out in some ways than a black out. There is usually no instant dramatic difference, but rather a gradual dimming of lights starting the day prior. Many major icons and neon signs are switched off for the hour and they are extremely noticeable. You may be able to see dramatic changes in large business districts or at iconic landmarks and buildings around the world and in your city.

If everyone turns their lights back on at the same time will there be a power surge?

People celebrate Earth Hour in a variety of ways for different lengths of time, with many continuing to keep their lights off well beyond the designated hour. After eight years, it’s clear everyone will not switch back on his or her lights simultaneously.

Why is Earth Hour the event held in late March?

The second-to-last and last weekend of March is around the time of the Spring and Autumn equinoxes in the northern and southern hemispheres respectively, which allows for near coincidental sunset times in both hemispheres, thereby ensuring the greatest visual impact for a global ‘lights out’ event. Earth Hour 2014 will be held on Saturday 29 March between 8.30PM and 9.30PM in your local time zone.

 

You can find more information by visiting EARTH HOUR.

Are you and your family participating in this year’s Earth Hour?

Have you participated in past Earth Hour activities?

 

Comments

  1. I’ve seen it on FB every year since 2008 or 09 but I never participated. I suppose I could shut off my tiny little lamp next to my chair in the livingroom but I’m not gonna be turning off the TV and laptop so that’s why I never bothered with it.

  2. Cheryl Grandy says:

    Earth Hour is a great way to draw attention to the impact we can have if we each do a little bit. I try to continue to do little things to save energy all year.

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