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Earth Hour Organizers Seeking Expanded Commitment

March 3, 2011

The organizers of the annual Earth Hour campaign, which traditionally involves switching off lights to conserve energy, are asking participants to be more active in their efforts to help preserve the planet this year.

In a statement released on Wednesday, Earth Hour Co-Founder and Executive Director Andy Ridley announced the launch of a new initiative dubbed ‘Beyond the Hour.’

“Beyond the Hour marks the start of a new phase for the Earth Hour movement,” event organizers said in a press release posted to their official website. “In 2010 hundreds of millions of people across the world took part in Earth Hour, but switching off the lights was only the beginning. This year Earth Hour asks people to commit to an action, big or small, that they will sustain for the future of our planet.”

“The challenges that face our planet are immense, but never underestimate the possibility for change when we face these challenges with true common purpose,” WWF Director General Jim Leape added in the statement.

“Hundreds of millions of people around the globe have given us a glimpse of what is possible. It is now time to go beyond the hour and show what can be done–by the people for the planet,” he added.

The announcement comes with the release of a new online platform that will allow Earth Hour participants to share their actions with others through social networking websites such as Facebook, Twitter and Myspace. The goal, according to the Earth Hour organizers, is “to showcase and inspire commitments to protect the one thing we all have in common–the planet.”

As of March 2, they reported that over 1,000 actions had been reported by individuals, corporations, organizations, or governments worldwide.

Furthermore, at the ‘Beyond the Hour’ global launch even in Singapore on Wednesday, they received numerous commitments from those in the government, the entertainment industry, and even school-age children to support the initiative.

Included among those are: a commitment from the Nepal government to halt tree-felling in the Churiya Range, a promise from China’s Mengniu Dairy to double the amount of milk cartons they recycle each year, an educational campaign to be launched by the animated television program Pocoyo, and student-led initiatives from schools in Swaziland and Australia.

“Everyone has the power to make change,” Earth Hour founder Alex Ridley told the AFP on Wednesday. “A CEO can change an organization, a seven-year-old can change a classroom and a president can change a country.”

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