Lights Out!

Team_Earth_HourHundreds of millions of people in more than 150 countries and 7000 cities across all 7 continents will come together this Saturday, March 29th to participate in the World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour.  Join in and switch lights off for an hour from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm to raise awareness for the planet.  This one hour lights-out event kicks off the largest grassroots environmental movement in the world!

The World Wildlife Fund is the driving force behind the symbolic stand against climate change.

As head of the WWF’s Canadian chapter, David Miller has facilitated panel discussions across the nation as the lead-up to the annual event.  The forums are part of the organization’s effort to transform Earth Hour from a phenomenon that raises awareness about climate change to one that finds solutions.

“Climate change is overwhelming,” Miller notes. “It’s literally causing problems at a global scale, and sometimes it’s hard as an individual to think what you could do to help.”  By joining in and turning off your lights, Miller hopes you’ll use that “moment of darkness” (#momentofdarkness) as the WWF campaign is called to ponder solutions.

This year, WWF is partnering with PayPal to launch Earth Hour Blue, a digital crowdfunding and crowdsourcing platform that enables participants to help raise funds and take action on a range of environmental issues.  “We are starting with around 20 projects this year, but our vision is to really expand once Saturday’s event has taken place,” said Earth Hour chief executive Andy Ridley.  Projects under the “Earth Hour Blue” crowdfunding scheme aim to raise more than $650,000 in total.  Goals from this fundraising include a turtle centre in Italy, teaching fisherman in the Philippines how to build boats without using wood from the local forests, solar-lighting projects to reduce human-wildlife conflict in India,  and funding for forest rangers in Indonesia to name a few.

Earth Hour’s CEO and co-founder, Andy Ridley, says “For us the symbolism or turning your lights off will always be important.  But the big thing for us has always been how to push it beyond the hour. The stage we’re at now is to make it really easy for people from their handset, tablet or laptop to be able to do something pretty immediate to make a difference. That’s the holy grail for us – building a global collective movement, far beyond the event, where the event becomes a kind of inspiration but the movement is really the essence of it.”  He continues to say of those who say that Earth Hour is a mere symbol that “A big part of Earth Hour is about empowerment – the idea that you as an individual can do something.  It was extraordinary that first night looking out over Sydney and seeing a city go dark. And it wasn’t about going back to the dark ages – it was an excuse to lean over the garden fence and talk to your neighbour or a reason for people to talk to each other at a restaurant, so I never underestimate the power of that symbolism.”

Earth Hour will see world famous landmarks including the Empire State Building and the Eiffel Tower switch off their lights for 60 minutes at 8:30 pm local time on Saturday.  As far is being green, this is a pretty easy way to do it.  All the better to see the stars, take a moment to appreciate the world we live in, and think of ways that we could make it a better place for the future.

Will you be turning your lights off?

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