Lights went off across the globe tonight as Earth Hour Blue began its journey around the world. The switch off was scheduled at 8.30pm local time, and involved countries from across the globe. The WWF event began in 2007, in Sydney, and today has seen its biggest success to date with over 7000 cities participating.
The celebrations were started in a most unusual place by Samia Al Mudhareb, a 17 year old Earth Hour Ambassador who had embarked on a trip to Antarctica. At 2.30pm Singapore time Samia took the opportunity to advice the world to make small changes, that will lead to a lasting difference in the future.
Earth Hour then moved across the ocean and away from the ice, setting off the celebrations, and in New Zealand, where community events were held all over the islands. At 4.30pm Fiji became struck with Earth Hour fever, and the country held a fundraising dinner, hosted by President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau. Fiji also supported the Great Sea Reef by crowd-funding on Earth Hour Blue.
5.30pm and Earth Hour arrived in its birthplace; Australia. Australia has been heavily involved in Earth Hour Blue, and the team launched a report to raise scientific awareness of the Great Barrier Reef, urging for less carbon pollution and more climate change action. The new documentary “Lights Out for the Reef” was screened across many famous locations including Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney. Candles were also lit en-mass in celebration.
As Earth Hour made its journey around the world it touched down in Japan at 7.30pm, where it picked up some inspiration from Spider Man, who brings the message that everyone can be a Hero for the Earth. Other innovations included “The Egg of the Earth,” a giant disco ball room which was powered by peddling in order to generate electricity. At the same time South Korea infused some music into the day with live acts across the country.
As it made its way through China at 8.30pm Earth Hour drew attention to the “Blue Sky,” and the need to reduce air pollution and smog. The public were encouraged to send in ideas in order to inspire change towards healthier air. Over in the Philippines, support for Earth Hour was vast, and involved a multitude of corporations, and media involvement to promote the message.
Earth Hour then swept across the East gaining momentum and awareness, and switching off lights as it went. At 10.30pm Singapore time, it arrived in Kazakhstan where the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources will work with the Sustainable Development Earth Fund and 50,000 volunteers, to plant 17 million seedlings for new trees.
In India a year long educational project will take place in 15,000 schools across the country, which will help to reduce carbon footprints by recording carbon output, whilst educating children on the value of efficient energy use.
Earth Hour then made its way over to Africa starting at 1.30am Singapore time. From here it will soon to find its way to Europe, where famous landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, and Big Ben will be switched out; thousands of cities are to participate. America too will lose the lights, and see their favorite monuments switched out, including the Empire State building.
Actions across the globe will continue long after the hour itself has finished. As Earth Hour makes its journey around the world, it continues to inspire every country that it touches, spurring them into action to save the environment. The campaign, which started as a symbolic message, has grown into a continuos effort by organizations, countries, and ordinary people across the globe to inspire change, in the face of a suffering planet.
By Matthew Warburton