Earth Hour 2014 happens Saturday, March 29th. Here’s how the world will celebrate.
This March 29th marks the eighth annual celebration of Earth Hour, an international event started by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). The event asks people (and increasingly, companies and local governments) to extinguish their lights for one hour at 8:30 pm local time as a symbolic gesture of concern about the environment.
No, turning off our lights for an hour won’t save the planet or stop climate change–not even if millions of us do it. However, the event is about more than 60 minutes in the dark. It’s a time when concerned and creative citizens pledge to take action for our world.
Interested in learning how people like you are celebrating Earth Hour this year? Check out the 12 impressive events below.
1. 17 million trees in Kazakhstan – This year, the Sustainable Development Earth Fund, the Forestry Committee of the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources of the Kazakh Republic partnered with 50,000 volunteers to plant a whopping 17 million saplings across 14 regions of the country.
2. Earth Hour in Antarctica – Headed by Robert Swan, the Antarctic Youth Ambassador Programme is specifically focused on transforming young people into a new generation of climate leaders. Young people are selected from applications submitted from around the world to participate program which takes place in one of the most remote and threatened areas on the planet.
3. Building a massive Earth Hour logo in Iran – In the city of Isfahan an Earth Hour celebration will be held in front of Khaju Bridge to raise awareness about the plight of the famous Zayanderud River that has had no continuous water flow for the past few years due to climate change and inadequate water management. In the dried out river bed, the people of Isfahan have made the biggest Earth Hour logo to date, measuring around 2,800 square meters.
4. 3,404 kilometre ‘Walk to Mali’ – In January 2014, 12 Earth Hour Champions from Nigeria embarked on a 3,404km road trip from Nigeria to Mali. They arrived at their destination nearly two months later. The walk was meant to promote the culture of peace and create awareness on environmental sustainability across West Africa. Activities during the walk will included advocacy visits, community vulnerability mapping, community outreach, and capacity building. On March 29th, the Walk To Mali documentary will be screened at various locations in the country.
5. Trashy tickets in Tahiti – Earth Hour 2014’s closing ceremonies will be in Tahiti, French Polynesia. The focus on this year’s beyond-the-hour activities is waste management. So instead of tickets, attendees to this year’s ceremony are required to bring recyclable waste in order to gain access to the acoustic concert. Upon entering, audience members will go through the red carpet to be photographed sorting the waste materials they brought along.
6. “40 Bands – 40 Living Rooms” in Belgium – Launched by WWF-Belgium, this is a unique competition that makes it possible for those hosting Earth Hour parties in their home to potentially get a visit (and private concert!) from their favorite band on March 29th.
7. Pro-Earth App in India – WWF-India has launched an android application for Earth Hour. Called PRO-EARTH, the application will teach citizens how to become more energy-efficient, and also explore healthier and greener ways of living. WWF-India also has a crowdfunding project on Earth Hour Blue: Donations help to install solar lights in the forest fringe in Sundarbans, the largest single block of tidal halophytic mangrove forest in the world and home of the famous Bengali tiger. These big cats love to prowl at night, but not a single tiger incident has been reported where solar lights have been installed.
8. ‘I Heart the Reef’ in Australia – Although it’s one of the most beautiful and ecologically important places on Earth, the Great Barrier Reef is under attack from pollution, overfishing, and the coal industry. Earth Hour Australia has circulated a report, “Lights Out for the Reef,” that highlights the latest scientific findings about climate change impacts on the Great Barrier Reef. During this year’s Earth Hour, a new documentary “Lights Out for the Reef” will be shown all over the country. Other activities include a 10,000 candle installation on the lawns of Parliament House in Canberra spelling out “Lights Out for the Reef” and a candle activation at Manly Beach with 2,000 people.
9. Plastic-free in the Galapagos – Litter can be found in just about every corner of the ocean, including the Galapagos, long considered one of the natural wonders of the world. This year, the Galapagos Government Council, the Directorate of the Galapagos National Park and WWF-Galapagos have joined forces to reduce and eventually ban plastic shopping bags, along with disposable cups and straws. The crowdsourcing campaign calls on participants from all over the world to sign a petition that will ban these plastics as a way to protect the variety of wildlife both on land and in the waters of the Galapagos.
10. Moments of darkness in Canada – Canada’s campaign enlisted the help of some well-known celebrities to encourage the public to reflect and discuss what they will be thinking about while the lights are out during Earth Hour. A series of videos gives Canadian celebrities like Jason Priestly, William Shatner, Chris Hadfield, and Amy Jo Johnson a chance to tell the world what they’ll be thinking about during 60 minutes of darkness.
11. LightsOFF, AmazON in Colombia – Often referred to as the “world’s lungs,” the Amazon is under attack from mining and ranching activities that kill wildlife and create pollution. This year when the whole world switches its lights off for Earth Hour, WWF-Colombia will switch the AmazON! The crowdfunding project allows the public to invest in the largest ecosystem and air, water and life producer on the planet, protecting it for future generations.
12. Spider-Man in Singapore – This country is the original home of Earth Hour, so it’s only fitting that it gets a visit from a web-slinging superhero. Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx and director Marc Webb will be on hand to flip the switch that extinguishes the lights across Singapore’s signature Marina Bay skyline. The event sends the message that anyone can be a superhero for the planet. WWF-Singapore also joined Earth Hour Blue with their crowdfunding campaign, “Stop The Killing,” which aims to expose and end the illegal sale of target wildlife species within Singapore.
How will you celebrate Earth Hour 2014? Tell us in the comments!
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Images via WWF/EarthHour.org