Earth Hour is this Saturday, 26 March, at 8.30pm (local time) when lights will switch off for one hour all around the globe, but it’s also about extending the sustainability message beyond the hour mark. This year 131 countries and territories have signed up to Earth Hour, which now has an online platform – Beyondthehour.org – to showcase the positive efforts individuals, governments and companies globally are making to help the environment.
Via Beyondthehour.org, people can share stories about how they are doing something to help the Earth. You can also add videos and photos.
“We have developed this platform for people, organisations and companies around the world to show what can be done, by showcasing and sharing their actions throughout the year,” said Andy Ridley, co-founder and executive director of Earth Hour this week.
Ridley is also calling on businesses and organisations to show their leadership by committing to lasting action for the planet when the lights come back on this Saturday night after Earth Hour.
Volunteer wears ‘Earth Hour Every Hour’, t-shirt at Earth Hour global launch in Singapore. March 2nd, 2011. Credit (c) WWF/ Michelle Corsi
Earth Hour 2011 has garnered support from industry leaders and organisations such as Nokia, PWC, FIFA, the International Olympic Committee, Leo Burnett, Canon, Baidu, Naver, National Geographic Channel, Asia, Bloomberg, Starcom, Mindshare, Pocoyo, Clear Channel, Credit Suisse AG, Coca-Cola, IKEA, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Hostel World and CB Richard Ellis.
“It is only through the collective action of business, organisations, individuals, communities and governments that we will be able to affect change on the scale required to address the environmental challenges we face,” said Ridley on the Earth Hour website this week.
Examples of companies that are making enduring pledges to the environment include Chinese internet company Baidu, which has dedicated itself to reducing office resource consumption, including paper, water and electricity, by 30pc from 2010 levels.
Meanwhile, Credit Suisse AG, as well as sponsoring Earth Hour in Singapore, says it will continue to go ‘Beyond the Hour’ by sending staff from various markets to a Brazilian forest reserve to support field research looking into the effects of climate change.
Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard also stated this week that she and her government will go beyond the hour, “doing everything in my power to deliver a carbon price”.
Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia. Last year 125 countries joined Earth Hour when iconic buildings and landmarks, from Asia Pacific to Europe and Africa to the Americas, switched off. Dublin was the first European City to join Earth Hour three years ago. Earth Hour is organised by WWF. Ireland’s local Earth Hour website is Friends of the Irish Environment.