The World Is Ready For Earth Hour – Are You?
Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
All across the world people are gearing up to switch off this Saturday in celebration of Earth Hour, a global movement organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) that brings attention to a broad range of environmental issues. The movement originally started out as a lights-off event in Australia in 2007. Since then it has grown into a global phenomenon.
According to the Earth Hour website, “iconic monuments and moments are emerging for this year’s upcoming Earth Hour.”
While the WWF uses Earth Hour, which takes place on March 29, 2014 at 8:30 p.m. (local time), to bring light to environmental issues around the world, the event keeps in line with the original movement, with people and places in more than 7,000 towns and cities worldwide committing to turn off their lights this Saturday night.
“It is always extraordinary to see cities and landmarks involved in Earth Hour, but in 2014 it is the stories and activities happening beyond the hour that show this event has evolved into a movement driven by the power of the crowd,” said Andy Ridley, CEO and Co-Founder of Earth Hour from the movement’s home in Singapore.
AROUND THE WORLD
This year, the first major city to go dark will be Auckland, New Zealand where the Sky Tower will turn off its lights at 8:30 p.m. Earth Hour will then move to Australia where a massive candlelit display in Canberra will spell out ‘It’s Lights Out For The Reef.’ Events across the country will also screen a special documentary about the impacts climate change has had on the Great Barrier Reef.
Earth Hour will then sweep across Asia. In Singapore, the cast of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 will be on hand to help switch off the lights across the Marina Bay skyline. It was only recently announced that Spider-Man is the first Super Hero ambassador for Earth Hour, making it a special case for the cast of the new film to join in the WWF celebrations in Singapore.
In Kuwait, athlete Refaei hopes to Base jump from the top of Olympia Mall where the main Earth Hour event will take place there. Refaei posted a photo on Instagram, saying, “Cannot wait for this Saturday to be part of it and save the world.”
Earth Hour then moves on to Russia, with the Red Square switching off at 8:30 p.m. WWF-Russia will also be calling on people around the world to help support field projects that are working to save five key species of animals in the region, including the critically endangered Amur Leopard.
“Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin has also recorded a message from the International Space Station, reminding the world that whilst the planet looks amazing and beautiful from space, it also looks fragile and therefore people should do their part to protect it,” states the Earth Hour organizers.
In showing that the Earth Hour movement has reached all corners of the globe, Iran has constructed the largest Earth Hour logo in history (more than 9,000 square feet) in a dried out riverbed in the city of Isfahan. An event will also take place in front of the Khaju Bridge in Ifsahan to raise awareness about the plight of the famous Zayanderud River, where there has been no continuous water flow for the past few years due in part to the changing climate.
The event will then move throughout Europe and across the Atlantic to the Americas.
In Finland, people will use their voice for the Arctic, a region that is being significantly affected by climate change. Participants will pledge to increase the amount of renewable resources in the country for the protection of species like the polar bear, which has been increasingly affected by record ice loss, endangering their lives greatly.
In the United States, several landmarks have already signed on to be a part of the Earth Hour movement. The Empire State Building in NYC will be the first to switch off at 8:30 p.m. EDT, followed by the Navy Pier in Chicago and the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. The Space Needle will be one of the last American landmarks to switch off during Earth Hour 2014.
These, however, are not the only landmarks that have signed on for this year’s movement. More than 50 cities and towns from Augusta, Maine to Malibu, California have signed on, as well has numerous businesses, organizations and other prominent landmarks. Visit the WWF-US website for a full list of this year’s participants.
“From creative campaigns to acoustic concerts, cyclothons to candlelit marches, ﬂash mobs to dance performances and tree planting to recycling drives – this year people from all walks of life are uniting to become Super Heroes for the Planet on the night to celebrate Earth Hour 2014 in an effort to drive global action to protect the planet,” writes the Earth Hour organizers.
During this year’s movement music is becoming a major focus to inspire environmental action in regions most affected by climate change and sea level rise. For the second year in a row, reggae artists in Jamaica will perform an acoustic concert for the public. In Tahiti, where Earth Hour will end its epic journey across more than 150 countries, an acoustic concert at Stade Paster will accept a piece of recyclable waste as payment from as many as 5,000 people wanting to attend the event.
While the rest of the world plans to switch off for Earth Hour, WWF-Columbia is “switching on” the Amazon Rainforest.
Known as the ‘world’s lungs,’ the Amazon is rapidly vanishing due to mining and ranching, which is also driving species decline and pollution. The project allows global participants to invest in the largest ecosystem and air, water and life producer on the planet.
The Earth Hour movement, which has grown significantly over the past several years, has also brought on board PayPal as the official Payments Partner for Earth Hour Blue, the first global crowdfunding and crowdsourcing project.
“Launched from Singapore, Earth Hour Blue taps into the collective effort of individuals around the world to help raise funds and take action on environmental issues important to them,” writes the WWF in a statement.
“We are thrilled to be the Official Payments Partner for Earth Hour, enabling crowdfunding to support important environmental initiatives that help build a sustainable future for our planet. This partnership ensures millions of customers around the world can contribute to Earth Hour Blue projects more securely and in just a few clicks, whether online or on their mobile devices.” said Lawrence Chan, Vice President of Asia Pacific Merchant Services and General Manager for Southeast Asia & India at PayPal.
“As we drive technology-enabled commerce, our innovative solutions have the power to significantly increase fundraising for worthy causes through online and mobile platforms. At PayPal, we want to empower everyone – whether individuals, nonprofits or global brands – to take action and support the causes that matter to them,” added Chan.
“We are excited to be partnering with PayPal to help people around the world to contribute directly and more securely to causes that matter to them. Earth Hour has always been more than just lights off. The world’s largest grassroots movement to protect the planet was created for anyone to use their power to make a difference, and this is becoming easier as more of us use digital technology to connect far beyond what we ever thought was possible,” said Ridley.
“Today, anyone can make an impact whether by using their voice or by giving a few dollars, and our partnership with PayPal ensures you can incite positive change for the planet from the palm of your hand,” he added.
Image Below: Participants create the largest Earth Hour logo in Ifsahan, Iran. Credit: EarthHour.org