Earth Hour to extend to International Space Station

15 Mar 2012

Europe seen by ESA astronaut and WWF ambassador André Kuipers from the International Space Station. Photo by the European Space Agency

Earth Hour will extend to the International Space Station for the first time this year, where European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut and WWF ambassador André Kuipers will keep watch over planet Earth as lights are switched off for an hour on 31 March.

This year, Earth Hour will take place at 8.30-9.30pm at participants’ local time on 31 March. The event, which involves participants symbolically turning off their lights as a reminder to mind Earth’s resources, has become the world’s largest voluntary action that spotlights climate change and the need for sustainability, the ESA said.

Earth Hour sprung up in Sydney, Australia, in 2007, and last year 5,251 cities took part, reaching 1.8bn people in 135 countries across all seven continents, the ESA said.

Kuipers will share photos and live commentary of Earth Hour from his vantage point in space, to draw attention to the need to reduce humans’ impact on the planet, the ESA said.

“There is no better way to raise awareness for the future of the most beautiful planet in the universe,” said André of Earth Hour.

“Working to understand our planet is what ESA does every day, and taking part in Earth Hour enables people to join us in this commitment.”

Kuipers is on a six-month PromISSe mission, serving as ambassador for the WWF Earth Hour. During the mission, he will film and photograph WWF projects under way at locations such as the Zambezi, Borneo and the North Pole.

The partnership also highlights ESA’s role in delivering data about Earth to scientists and policy makers around the world.