World (WWF) – An unprecedented 187 countries and territories came together for WWF’s Earth Hour on Saturday 25 March to take a stand for climate action. More than 3,000 landmarks switched off their lights and millions of individuals, businesses and organizations across seven continents stepped forward to change climate change. Online, #EarthHour and related terms generated over 1.1 billion impressions in 24 hours, trending in at least 30 countries worldwide.
This year’s event marked the tenth anniversary of the Earth Hour movement, which started as a one-city event in Sydney in 2007, and comes at a time when the need for climate action is greater than ever. 2016 was the hottest year on record and ambitious action is needed by governments, companies and people, their biggest stakeholders, to meet the targets set in the landmark Paris Agreement that entered into force in November last year.
“Once again, the people have spoken through Earth Hour,” said Sid Das, Executive Director, Earth Hour Global. “Whether you are in the Philippines, Peru or Portugal, climate change matters and the record participation in this year’s Earth Hour is a powerful reminder that people, who are on the frontline of climate change, want to be a part of climate action.”
Across the globe, Earth Hour is inspiring and mobilizing people to be a part of the climate action our planet urgently needs at a personal, community and national level.
In India, as the presidential residence Rashtrapati Bhavan and New Delhi’s India Gate switched off their lights, thousands were encouraged to make the switch to renewable energy and LED lighting.
In Poland and Bulgaria, people have been uniting to raise their voice against laws and policies that threaten biodiversity and the ecosystems that provide clean air, water, food and stable climate, underpinning our wellbeing as well as that of the planet.
“From the shrinking of Arctic ice to coral reef bleaching, there are clear indicators that we are pushing our planet to the edge – and it is together as a global community that we can turn it around. The grassroots must mobilize and join governments and companies toward stronger climate action – the time to act is now,” added Das.
In his video statement for Earth Hour, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reiterated the need for people to work together to build a sustainable, climate-resilient future.
This includes enhancing climate education among the young, such as in Bhutan and Guyana, where students are learning about climate and environmental issues in climate science centres and conservation lab sessions set up by WWF.
To mark the tenth anniversary of the movement, people also took to their social media timelines to express their solidarity with climate action, as skylines around the world participated in the global lights out event. From donating five posts on their Facebook page to changing their profile picture, thousands switched on their social power to raise their voice for a cause they believe in.
“Each light turned off or profile picture changed represents an individual who has made the switch from being a passive bystander to someone eager to be a part of the solution and that has been the energy that has made Earth Hour the world’s largest grassroots movement for the environment today,” said Das.
As the hour rolls to a close in the Pacific Ocean’s Cook Islands, WWF and Earth Hour teams around the world will continue to empower individuals, communities, businesses and governments to be a part of climate action. Strengthened by the support shown this weekend, teams will renew the charge to tackle issues such as sustainable lifestyles in Singapore, India, Hong Kong and Indonesia, a transition toward renewables in South Africa, Hungary and Myanmar, and promoting stronger climate ambition and action in the UK, Spain and at the EU level.
Earth Hour 2017 by numbers (based on initial estimates on 26 March 2017, 8:30 a.m. GMT):
- record participation by 187 countries and territories shining a light on climate action and issues such as renewable energy, sustainable lifestyles, protecting biodiversity and stronger climate policy. Seven countries have specifically focused their campaign on changing climate policy.
- lights out at over 3,000 iconic landmarks including the Sydney Opera House (Sydney), Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament (London), the Tokyo Tower (Tokyo), the Empire State Building (New York), Singapore Flyer (Singapore), the Pyramids of Egypt (Cairo), Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque (Abu Dhabi), Monumento a la Independencia (Mexico City) and the Eiffel Tower (Paris);
- over 3.5 billion impressions of official campaign hashtags between January and March 2017 with one-third of the impressions being generated between 25 and 26 March alone;
- over 300 celebrities and influencers worldwide also raised their voice for climate action including WWF Global Ambassadors Jared Leto and Andy Murray as well as Li Bingbing, Ellie Goulding, Claudia Bahamon, Amitabh Bachchan and Forest Whitaker.
Since 2007, WWF’s Earth Hour has mobilized businesses, organizations, governments and hundreds of millions of individuals in over 7,000 cities to act for a sustainable future.
This report prepared by WWF