1. What is Earth Hour?
Earth Hour is a global
movement uniting people to protect the planet. Towards the end of March every
year, Earth Hour brings together communities from across the world celebrating
a commitment to the planet by switching off lights for one designated hour.
2. When does Earth Hour
take place?
Earth Hour 2013 will be
held on Saturday 23 March between 8.30PM and 9.30PM in your local time zone.
3. What does Earth Hour
aim to achieve?
Earth Hour aims to
encourage an interconnected global community to share the opportunities and
challenges of creating a sustainable world.
4. What does Earth Hour
ask people to do?
Earth Hour encourages
individuals, businesses and governments to show leadership on environmental
solutions through their actions, to use Earth Hour as a platform to showcase to
the world what measures they are taking to reduce their environmental impact.
Earth Hour asks everyone to take personal accountability for their impact on
the planet and make behavioural changes to facilitate a sustainable lifestyle.
Taking the first step is as easy as turning off your lights. By switching off
your lights for Earth Hour you are acknowledging and celebrating your
commitment to do something more for the planet that goes beyond the hour.
5. Is the campaign more
than just lights out?
Earth Hour believes that
the symbolism of the hour is incredibly important in bringing people and
communities together across the globe. But our aspiration from the beginning
was to go far beyond the hour itself. In 2012, Earth Hour launched I Will
If You Will
, a platform to incentivise and inspire individuals
to share their commitment to the planet with their friends, colleagues, leaders
and networks. Earth Hour also encourages and promotes many other initiatives
around the world, including the Earth Hour City Challenge,
the Earth Hour People’s Projects and many national and local actions that take
the campaign beyond the hour.
6. How long has Earth
Hour been going for?
Earth Hour 2013 will
mark the seventh year of the campaign. On March 31 2007, WWF-Australia inspired
Sydney-siders to show their support for climate change action. More than 2.2
million individuals and 2,000 businesses turned their lights out for one hour
in the first Earth Hour event.
7. Isn’t switching the
lights off dangerous? What about public safety?
Earth Hour only asks
people to turn off the non-essential lights for one hour – not lights that
affect public safety. Earth Hour is also a celebration of the planet so it’s
important to enjoy the moment in a safe environment.
8. What lights can be
safely switched off?
That is a decision that
has to be made individually but usually the overhead lights in rooms (whether
it is your house or a business), outdoor lighting that does not impact safety,
computers, decorative lights, neon signs for advertising, televisions, desk
lamps, the list goes on and on. There are a few lights we can say with
certainty that should NOT be turned off, including safety lights in public
spaces, lights for aviation guidance, traffic lights, security lights, just to
name a few. We ask people to use common sense. Before you turn off any lights
for public spaces Earth Hour recommends you check with local officials or
community centres. In your own home, use common sense with respect to safety.
Keep small night lights on for basic safety especially in halls and on stairs.
Make sure you have alternative light sources handy before Earth Hour starts,
like torches or flashlights. That way if you need to see, you have a light
source close at hand, and you can still respect the spirit of Earth Hour and
keep yourself and your family safe.
9. What candles should I
use for my Earth Hour event?
If you plan on burning
candles during Earth Hour, make sure you use 100% beeswax candles or soy
candles, which are gentler on our planet – smoke free, non-toxic and
non-allergenic. They are also made of natural products, not petroleum-based
materials, so they are effectively carbon neutral (the CO2 they emit has
already been taken from the atmosphere to produce the wax). If you’re using
candles, though, make sure you take care. We suggest you carefully follow these
tips: • Candles should only be used under adult supervision • Candles should
never be left unattended • Candles should be kept away from children and pets •
Extinguish candles before going to sleep • Keep candles away from flammable
liquids and gas-combustible materials • Candles should be kept clear of any
combustible materials such as paper, curtains and clothing • Candles should not
be placed in windows as they can be blown over. Blinds and curtains can also
catch alight • Candles should be placed on a stable, dry, heat-resistant
surface away from drafts
10. What is Earth Hour’s
position on safety?
Earth Hour wants
everyone to be absolutely safe and never to turn off any lights or power that
would in any way compromise the safety of any individual in a private or public
space. So please put safety first when deciding what lights to turn off during
your participation. For Earth Hour’s broader I Will If You Will campaign, we will not support challenges that
are not safe, not responsible or not respectful. So if it is dangerous,
damaging or defamatory please think of others and think of something else for
your challenge. We don’t encourage or endorse irresponsible behavior. Remember!
Positive for the planet, not negative for life or limb.
11. Will my city go
completely black?
Earth Hour is not a
black out. It is a voluntary action by its participants to show their
commitment to an act of change that benefits the planet. For many businesses in
city skyscrapers or for many government buildings, the lights are turned off at
the end of the business day the Friday before Earth Hour. So Earth Hour is more
of a fade-out in some ways than a black-out. There is usually no instant
dramatic difference, but rather a gradual dimming of lights starting the day
prior. Many major icons and neon signs are switched off for the hour and they
are extremely noticeable. You may be able to see dramatic changes in large
business districts or at iconic landmarks and buildings around the world and in
your city.
12. If everyone turns
their lights back on at the same time will there be a power surge?
People celebrate Earth
Hour in a variety of ways for different lengths of time, with many continuing
to keep their lights off well beyond the designated hour. Therefore, it is
highly improbable that everyone will switch their lights back on
simultaneously. However, we do work with energy companies and authorities
around the world, who assure us that the unlikely scenario of all lights
turning back on at the same time will not cause any issues. The load reduction should
not be significant enough to disrupt supply post Earth Hour.
13. Is Earth Hour an
annual event?
Earth Hour is more than
annual event, however it culminates in an hour of inspiration held across the
world towards the end of March each year.
14. Why is Earth Hour
held in late March?
The second-to-last and
last weekend of March is around the time of the Spring and Autumn equinoxes in
the northern and southern hemispheres respectively, which allows for near
coincidental sunset times in both hemispheres, thereby ensuring the greatest
visual impact for a global ‘lights out’ event. Earth Hour 2013 will be held on
Saturday 23 March between 8.30PM and 9.30PM in your local time zone.
15. How many
cities/countries/landmarks took part in Earth Hour 2012?
Earth Hour 2012 took place in more than 7001 cities and towns in
152 countries and territories across all seven continents. Hundreds of millions
of people switched their lights off for an hour, and the campaign experienced
its biggest growth since 2009.
16. What is the criteria
for registering city, town or municipality participation in Earth Hour 2013?
For a city, town or
municipality to be officially recognised as a participant in Earth Hour 2013 it
must meet at least one of the following three criteria: 1. Have the official
support of its governing authority (e.g. Governor or Mayor) 2. Have confirmed
participation of a significant landmark or icon 3. Have the support of an
official Earth Hour ambassador  N.B. – to register your city, town or
municipality you must be in a position of governing authority to do so. If you
are not in a position of authority to register your city, town or municipality
we encourage you to get in contact with your local governing authority and ask
them to sign up to be officially recognised as an Earth Hour 2013 participating
city, town or municipality. Check out our Earth
Hour Organiser 
section for more information.  N.B.
Because of the role of social media as a tool to organise and connect people
for the campaign, we are now considering official participation on a social
media footprint case-by-case basis.
17. What does a
commitment to Earth Hour mean?
By registering for Earth
Hour 2013, individuals, communities and businesses are making a commitment to
turn their lights off for an hour at 8.30PM on Saturday 23 March in
acknowledgement of an act they will undertake for the benefit of the planet.
Our expectation is that these individuals, communities and businesses will take
action beyond the hour. In 2012, we have launched the I Will If You Will
campaign to provide a platform to inspire people to share their commitment to
the planet with their friends, colleagues, leaders and networks.
18. Who can participate?
Earth Hour is a campaign
for anyone and everyone who wants to share a commitment to make this planet
19. What energy/carbon
reductions have resulted from Earth Hour in previous years?
Earth Hour does not
purport to be an energy/carbon reduction exercise, it is a symbolic action.
Therefore, we do not engage in the measurement of energy/carbon reduction
levels. Earth Hour is an initiative to encourage individuals, businesses and
governments around the world to take accountability for their ecological
footprint and engage in dialogue and resource exchange that provides real
solutions to our environmental challenges. Participation in Earth Hour
symbolises a commitment to change beyond the hour.
20. How can I do more
for Earth Hour than just switching off my lights?
Get involved in I Will
If You Will
 – taking actions both
big and small makes a difference to our planet, and here’s the opportunity to
make a commitment beyond the hour and share that with your communities. Whether
it’s daring your network to commit to recycle, switch to energy efficient light
bulbs or something much bigger, IWIYW will help you incentivise action beyond
the hour.
21. Aren’t you using a
lot of electricity and resources to promote this event?
Earth Hour takes every
effort to minimise our footprint, not just for the hour but all year round. The
campaign relies heavily on digital platforms to minimise the usage of natural
resources, and we endeavour to keep our footprint to a minimum where possible.
However, we do not claim nor do we think it is achievable at this time to
create awareness and engagement of so many people on environmental issues with
zero footprint.
22. Whose idea was Earth
Earth Hour came from a
think tank initiated by Earth Hour Executive Director and Co-Founder, Andy
Ridley, resulting in the formation of a partnership between WWF Australia, Leo
Burnett and Fairfax Media to address the climate change issue. In 2007, there
was still a degree of scepticism and denial about the issue of climate change.
Earth Hour came as the inspiration to rally people to the reality of climate
change and start a dialogue about what we as individuals can do to help address
the greatest problem facing our planet today. Leo Burnett partnered with WWF to
promote the idea and help make the campaign a reality in Sydney, a campaign
which has now gone beyond climate change to symbolise the growing global pursuit
of a better, healthier world.
23. What is Earth Hour’s
relationship with WWF? Does WWF own Earth Hour?
WWF co-founded Earth
Hour in Sydney in 2007, facilitating Earth Hour’s rapid worldwide growth
through its connection to WWF’s global network. With a presence in more than 70
countries, WWF continues to play a valuable partner role, ensuring a solid
foundation and support network on which to deliver a truly global environmental
message throughout the year.
24. Who are the Earth
Hour partners?
Earth Hour began as a
WWF-led initiative in Australia in 2007 in partnership with brand co-owners,
Fairfax Media and Leo Burnett. All three partners decided from the beginning,
however, that expanding Earth Hour’s global reach would require working in
partnership with any organisation. Earth Hour’s message has spanned the world
with the help of many global organisations. In 2012, Earth Hour’s collaboration
with YouTube has been significant in the development of the I Will If You Will campaign.
25. Do you have
requirements or regulations about who can or cannot partner with Earth Hour?
Any partner must uphold
and support the aims and principles of Earth Hour. These include encouraging
individual and community engagement on environmental issues. Encouraging
conscious decisions to change the way we live in order to affect environmental
reform, without the use of scare tactics or shaming. The specific decisions
about whether or not to partner with a group or corporation are made at local
level by Earth Hour country and city teams based on what suits their needs and
community in achieving the goals of Earth Hour.
26. Does Earth Hour
welcome the support of other NGOs (Non-Government Organisations) and NFP’s (Not
for Profits)?
Absolutely. In fact, the
success of Earth Hour would not be possible without the support of other NGOs
and NFPs. Global organisations such as the World Organisation of the Scout
Movement and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts have been
pivotal in spreading the Earth Hour message, while in some countries where
there is no WWF presence, Earth Hour campaigns are orchestrated entirely by
other NGOs and NFPs who share the same non-aggressive, guilt-free approach to
addressing environmental issues taken by Earth Hour.
27. Where can we find
Earth Hour on social media?
Earth Hour uses social
media to drive its campaign. Follow our stories on FacebookTwitterFlickrTumblrGoogle
and of course, the IWIYW campaign on YouTube
28. What does the Earth
Hour logo mean?
The standard Earth Hour
’60’ logo represents the 60 minutes of Earth Hour where we focus on the impact
we are having on our planet and take positive action to address the
environmental issues we face. For Earth Hour 2011 the ‘60+’ logo was introduced
representing a commitment to add to Earth Hour a positive act for the planet
that goes beyond the hour.
29. What is the Earth
Hour City Challenge?
With more than 70% of
the world’s CO2 emissions generated by cities, the Earth Hour City Challenge
has been created to reward pioneering cities that are leading the way towards a
fully sustainable future. See more In 2012, cities throughout Canada, India, Italy,
Sweden and the United States will participate in the pilot challenge.
30. How do cities win?
An international jury
will review all submissions outlining holistic, inspiring and credible city
plans that increase the share of renewables in the city’s energy systems. The Earth
Hour City Challenge is not about having the most hi-tech plans or
resources, it’s about a commitment to innovative thinking and enacting
solutions that create a greener and more clean city for residents.
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