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Earth Hour Turns World Dark for Planet’s Future; Origin, History, Current Impact

The world goes dark with switching off of lights for Earth Hour at 8.30pm (20:30) on the last Saturday of March, this year on March 28, 2015, a city like Delhi will save 250 MW of power, which signifies not merely the need to conserve power but also to save earth from the excesses of global warming.

Initiated by the global conservation non-profit WWF (formerly known as World Wildlife Fund), the concept of Earth Hour came from a think tank started by Earth Hour CEO and Co-Founder, Andy Ridley, forming a partnership between WWF Australia, Leo Burnett and Fairfax Media to address the climate change issue. It is different from Earth Day.

A beginning to spread awareness is better than perpetual ignorance, say environmental expert who vouch for its importance to create awareness of people taking responsibility towards a sustainable future by turning the lights off. However, Earth Hour is not observed simultaneously all over the world but from 8:30 pm to 9:30 PM local time and depending on the local time variants the switch off of lights occur.

Google page during the Earth Hour in Canada in 2008.

Google page during the Earth Hour in Canada in 2008.

While some iconic buildings and landmarks in major cities have stood in darkness, many families prefer to celebrate the occasion with candle-lit dinners or a candle-lit bath, while others host large events or parties, either in darkness or with candles, to celebrate Earth Hour.

Ever since the first Earth Hour observed in Sydney, Australia, way back in 2007, the event saw 2.2 million homes and businesses turn their lights off for one hour and similar gesture by other cities gradually led to more than 50 million people across 35 countries participating in it since 2008.

Global landmarks such as the, Sydney Harbour Bridge, the CN Tower in Toronto, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi and Rome’s Colosseum, all stood in darkness for Earth Hour. From March 2009, it became an event of hundreds of millions of people all over the world.

Global Impact:

In addition, Earth Hour Blue has been rolled out to seek donations and funding for environmental activities to spread awareness among people all over the world. Prior to Earth Hour Blue, several initiatives have been undertaken in several pockets such as Uganada, where WWF started the world’s first Earth Hour Forest.

In Russia, more than 250,000 Russians voiced support for better protection of their country’s seas and forests on this occasion while in Argentina, the 2013 Earth Hour campaign helped pass a Senate bill for a 3.4 million hectare Marine Protected Area in the country.

On this occasion, thousands of wood-saving stoves were distributed to families in Madagascar, while in India solar-powered lights were installed in three villages without the need for electricity in India as a pilot project.

In Paraguay, WWF used the Earth Hour platform to build public support to press for a demand to extend moratorium of the logging to reduce deforestation. In Taiwan and Thailand, education programs for schools were launched and in the USA, hundreds of thousands of LED lights were installed by girl scouts. More than 2,123 actions were submitted by Earth Hour City Challenge 2014 last year.

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