1. What is Earth Hour?
Earth Hour is a global WWF climate change initiative. The campaign invites individuals, businesses, governments and communities to turn out their lights for one hour on one day of the year to show their support for action on climate change. The event began in Sydney in 2007, when 2 million people switched off their lights. In 2008, more than 50 million people around the globe participated. In 2009, Earth Hour aims to reach out to 1 billion people in 1,000 cities.
2. When does Earth Hour take place?
Earth Hour 2009 will be held on Saturday March 28, 2009 between 8.30pm and 9.30pm local time. Anyone can participate.
3. What does Earth Hour aim to achieve?
2009 is a critical year in determining the future of our planet. In December this year the world’s leaders will meet at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen to write and potentially sign a successor to the Kyoto treaty. Earth Hour 2009 aims to provide a platform for 1 billion people from around the world to express their desire for unified and urgent action on climate change in the lead up to Copenhagen.
4. What does Earth Hour ask people to do?
Earth Hour simply asks people to turn out their lights for one hour on March 28. However it is also an opportunity for individuals and businesses to become more energy efficient in the longer term. Below is a list of actions we ask households and businesses to consider for reducing their energy consumption:
1. Switch off unused lights
2. Switch unused appliances off standby
3. Switch to energy efficient light globes
4. Reduce use of hot water
5. Switch to GreenPower
1. Replace light bulbs with energy efficient bulbs
2. Be more efficient with heating and cooling – turn down the thermostat
3. Reduce use hot water
4. Turn off lights and computers outside working hours
5. Educate your staff and colleagues on energy efficiency
5. Does this mean during Earth Hour I have to turn off everything in my home and use absolutely no electricity?
Not at all! The main point of Earth Hour is to show people and companies how easy it is to take action to help reduce the effects of climate change. Earth Hour asks that you consider turning off non-essential lighting.
This does not mean you have to turn off your refrigerator, but we do encourage you to join us by switching off your lights and make a statement, as well as changing your habits in the long term. Safety and security lighting should remain on.
6. Isn't switching the lights off dangerous? What about public safety?
We are asking people to turn off the non-essential lights for one hour - not lights that affect public safety. We want everyone to enjoy Earth Hour in a safe and energy efficient environment.
7. 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 street lights, 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 centers. 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.
8. 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. Earth Hour believes that you carefully follow the following 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
9. 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 anyway compromise the safety of any individual in a private or public space. While Earth Hour is asking people to turn off lights for an hour the intention is never to make anyone or any place unsafe. So please put safety first when deciding what lights to turn off during your participation.
10. Will my city go completely black?
Earth Hour is not a black out. It is a voluntary light out by its participants. 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 power down 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.
11. If everyone turns their lights back on at the same time will there be a power surge?
No. We've checked with energy companies and authorities and turning all the lights back on won't cause any issues. The load reduction should not be significant enough to disrupt supply post Earth Hour.
12. Is Earth Hour an annual event?
Though Earth Hour is now in its third successive year, it is envisaged and hoped that the climate change landscape will have changed significantly in the immediate future.
Therefore, Earth Hour’s lights out campaign will evolve in accordance with the needs of the planet.
13. Why is Earth Hour held on March 28?
The 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 campaign.
14. In 2008 Earth Hour went global - what countries/cities took part in Earth Hour 2008?
There were more than 370 cities and towns that took part in Earth Hour 2008.Some of them included:
· Australia – Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane, Hobart, Canberra, Darwin
· America – Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco, Phoenix
· Argentina - Buenos AiresBolivia - Santa Cruz
· Canada - Ottawa, Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto
· Thailand – Bangkok
· Philippines – Manila
· Fiji – Suva, Lautoka
· Israel – Tel Aviv
· Ireland – Dublin
· Denmark - Copenhagen, Aarhus, Aalborg, Odense
· New Zealand - Christchurch
· Mexico – Mexico City
· Poland – Warsaw
· Uruguay – Montevideo
· Venezuela - Caracas
15. What countries/cities will take part in Earth Hour 2009?
As of 16 February 2009 there are more than 500 cities in 74 countries signed up to take part in Earth Hour 2009.
16. What are the criteria for registering a country’s/city’s/town’s participation in Earth Hour 2009?
For a country, city or town to be officially recognised as a participant in Earth Hour 2009 it must meet at least one of the following three criteria:
1. Have the official support of its governing authority (e.g. President, Governor or Mayor)
2. Have confirmed participation of a significant landmark or icon
3. Have the support of an official Earth Hour ambassador
You can register your city or town online as an Earth Hour 2009 participant at our sign up page. N.B. – to register your city or town you must be in a position of authority to do so.
If you are not in a position of authority to register your city or town 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 2009 participating city or town.
17. How does a city or town get a pin on the Earth Hour map?
Once your city or town has been registered as an official participant in Earth Hour 2009, it will be marked with a pin on the Earth Hour map.
18. What does a commitment to Earth Hour involve for individuals and companies?
By committing to Earth Hour, individuals, communities and companies are pledging their support for the campaign by turning their lights off for the hour. They are also vowing to take the necessary steps to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions more broadly, by being conscious of how much energy they are using and by identifying opportunities in their homes or offices to reduce their energy consumption. Participation in Earth Hour is a signal of support for action on climate change, and to show your concern for the future of the planet.
19. Who can participate?
Anyone! Anyone who shares a desire to unite with the global community and take a stand on climate change. Anyone who wants to demonstrate on a large scale that even just one hour can make a difference.
20. How many people took part in Earth Hour last year and the first year?
According to a poll conducted by AMR Interactive, the first Earth Hour on Saturday March 31, 2007 saw more than two million Sydney residents and 2,100 Sydney businesses join Earth Hour by flicking the switch, turning appliances off standby and enjoying an hour of darkness.
Last year on Saturday March 29, 2008 it is estimated that more than 50 million people took part in Earth Hour around the globe.
21. How many companies took part in Earth Hour last year and the first year?
18,231 businesses registered their participation in Earth Hour in 2008.2,100 Sydney businesses registered their participation in the 2007 campaign.
These are inspiring results that show many companies are committed to reducing their energy footprint and avoiding the worst impacts of climate change. Engaging with business is critical to addressing the issue of climate change.
22. How many people will take part in Earth Hour 2009?
Earth Hour 2009 is aiming to reach 1 billion people in 1,000 cities globally.
23. Why is Earth Hour targeting 1 billion people?
How was that number reached? One billion people is equal to 1/6th of the world’s population; an undeniable show of support for action on climate change to our world’s leaders. That is why we are aiming for such a large number of participants.
24. How will you know if 1 billion people actually join in?
The success of Earth Hour will be mainly measured in participation since the larger goal of Earth Hour is to unite and inspire individuals and communities world wide to think and act on issues of global climate change. We measure success in the numbers of people, cities and countries we sign up to participate each year in Earth Hour, in the stories and conversations that start due to Earth Hour, and in the visual impact of lights out across the globe, showing it is possible to create change through small actions.
We accept that we cannot measure the exact number of people who participate in Earth Hour, however, with over 500 cities already involved, and more signing up each day, we believe we can reach our aspirational goal.
25. Don't you use more energy if you turn off lights or appliances then turn them back on again?
No. Put simply, the longer a light or appliance is on the more energy it uses.
26. What energy/carbon reductions have resulted from Earth Hour in previous years?
Earth Hour is a climate change awareness campaign. We aim to encourage individuals, businesses and governments to minimise their carbon footprint.
To that end, while there are some organisations external to Earth Hour who will measure energy and carbon emission reductions resulting from the power down, it is not something that can be measured by Earth Hour. Nor is it a practice conducive to the mission of Earth Hour 2009, that is, to educate individuals and businesses on the small changes they can make to significantly reduce their energy consumption and to create a global mandate for action on climate that will be too powerful for world leaders to ignore.
27. Are there any events planned for Earth Hour 2009?
Yes, many people are planning parties, get togethers, dinners. Some cities are planning public events. We encourage people to organise their own events and engage participation from their local community.
28. How can I encourage my town/city to participate if they are not already?
Get in touch with your Mayor or city government and ask them to register your city or town online. Or just spread the word to friends, businesses, and local organisations asking them to participate in order to encourage local leaders to see that global climate change is an issue that matters to their community.
29. Can I help with Earth Hour in more ways than just turning out my lights?
Depending on the level of involvement already going on in your community you may be able to do any number of things from contacting local government offices or businesses, to putting up posters, to just spreading the word with the date and time every time you get a chance. If you are still in school you might be able to take stickers and postcards to school or talk to your principle about your school participating.
Embrace Earth Hour adopt an ongoing energy efficient lifestyle – turn off unused lights, turn appliances off standby, use energy efficient light globes. Small changes to the way you live will make a big difference.
30. What outcome does Earth Hour hope to achieve?
Earth Hour aims to deliver a global visual mandate with 1 billion people participating in the lights out event. In doing so Earth Hour hopes to encourage more debate and conversation about climate change and influence people’s attitude towards energy consumption and its impact on the planet. Earth Hour aims to highlight the possibilities for change when we unite and work together.
31. Is Earth Hour merely a symbolic act with no direct impact on climate change?
The hour in which lights and non-essential appliances are switched off is only one aspect of Earth Hour. And while there is symbolism in the unity and commitment expressed by so many people and places globally making a statement about reducing carbon emissions, Earth Hour aims to have a larger and longer impact. Earth Hour aims to encourage long term actions that will reduce the carbon footprints of individuals, groups, companies, governments, and nations, on both the date of Earth Hour and on a continuing permanent basis.
One example of the potential for larger impact: -
One company that participated in Earth Hour 2008 made the following permanent changes after the Earth Hour 2008 campaign:
· Changed its lighting system so that lights were on for less time and it was easier for staff to switch off unused lights.
· Signed up for green power for 25 per cent of its electricity, which over each year will be the equivalent of taking 255 cars off the road.
· Opened additional stair wells to reduce the number of short lift trips.
· Installed bike racks and showers to make it easier for employees to cycle to work.
· Encouraged its customers to receive communications – such as statements, marketing information or annual reports – electronically.
32. Is Earth Hour a publicity stunt?
Earth Hour is no stunt. Earth Hour is a very real, highly successful, and valid climate change awareness campaign aimed at illustrating that every person, business, and government can contribute to a climate change solution i.e. every single one of us can take action to reduce our emissions.
The action of turning off the lights for one hour is symbolic but the larger aim is to mobilise people to act together to fight climate change. The purpose is principled, serious, and extremely important to the future of our planet.
33. What are governments doing?
In 2009 leaders of the world will gather in Copenhagen to create an international agreement that addresses climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
By aiming to reach 1 billion people in over 1,000 cities, Earth Hour hopes the collective actions of the global community will provide a visual global mandate for environmental reform, sending a message too loud for our world’s leaders to ignore.
34. How can you expect people to focus on climate change when the world is currently facing economic downturn?
The cost of inaction is much higher than the cost of acting now. If we continue to generate emissions at the today’s pace, we are putting at risk the natural systems that ultimately underpin our global economy.
By reducing energy usage, companies and households can reduce their power bill as well as their greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to switching off the lights for one hour, you can also switch appliances off at the wall, saving energy used when appliances like TVs, DVDs, printers, monitors and microwaves are on ‘standby’.
On a bigger scale, governments around the world are investing money in infrastructure. By building green infrastructure such as solar power stations, we can create jobs that will not only protect the environment but also stimulate the economy. Now is actually the perfect time to invest in a low carbon economy.
35. Aren't you using a lot of electricity and resources to promote this event?
Earth Hour is a carbon neutral event. We strive to run our operations in a cost effective manner and apply donors' funds according to the highest standards of accountability and sustainability. We also consider and/or incorporate other climate or environmental issues as determined by the Earth Hour team and its partners.
36. Whose idea was Earth Hour?
Earth Hour came from a think tank initiated by WWF Australia, resulting in the formation of a partnership between WWF Australia, Leo Burnett and The Sydney Morning Herald to address the climate change issue.
In 2007, there was still a degree of skepticism 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.
Earth Hour has been led by Andy Ridley at Earth Hour Global, Todd Sampson at Leo Burnett and Phil McLean at Fairfax.
Leo Burnett partnered with WWF to promote the idea and help make the campaign a reality in Sydney, a campaign which has now gone global.
37. What is Earth Hour’s relationship with WWF? Does WWF own Earth Hour?
Earth Hour is a WWF-led initiative which relies strongly on the support of valued partners.
WWF and Earth Hour often share team members, office space, support services and ideas to name a few. But Earth Hour acts under its own Constitution, has an individual mandate and the autonomy to make decisions based on these concepts with respect to the framework and values of WWF.
38. 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 the issue of climate change. Encouragement in making choices to change the way we live in order to effect change without the use of scare tactics or shaming. The specific decisions about whether or not to partner with a group or corporation are made by the local level Earth Hour teams based on what suits their needs and community in achieving the goals of Earth Hour.
39. Does Earth Hour welcome the support of other NGO's (Non-Government Organisations) and NFP's (Not for Profits)?
Earth Hour welcomes the support of any organisation that wants to approach the issues of global climate change with the same non-aggressive, guilt free approach we take at Earth Hour. In fact many of our local teams have partnered with other local NGO’s for Earth Hour in order to better reach and enlist the communities they live in.
40. Are there any other social media outlets or forums for Earth Hour?
Yes, here is the most comprehensive list we have right now.
Current Earth Hour Global Social Media Profiles:
YouTube Facebook Group Facebook Fans
MySpace Flickr Twitter
More global profiles on additional networks will be added soon.
41. What does the Earth Hour logo mean?
The 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 issues we face.