SINGAPORE: Earth Hour Co-Founder and Executive Director, Andy Ridley, today announced a series of high profile and individual environmental actions, and a new dynamic online platform, to mark the global launch for Earth Hour, Beyond the Hour.
Beyond the Hour marks the start of a new phase for the Earth Hour movement. 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.
Jim Leape, Director General of WWF, who addressed media at the launch said: “The challenges that face our planet are immense, but never underestimate the possibility for change when we face these challenges with true common purpose. 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.”
An online platform www.earthhour.org/beyondthehour that captures and allows individuals, governments and organisations across the globe to share their actions, will act as the tool to showcase and inspire commitments to protect the one thing we all have in common – the planet.
“The Beyond the Hour platform has been built with social media at its core,” Ridley said. “Social media will play a crucial role for Earth Hour 2011, allowing us to connect with millions of people who are committed to taking lasting action for the planet.”
The platform, created with Leo Burnett, is translated into 11 languages, and integrated with most major social networks including: Facebook, Twitter, Mixi, Myspace, Odnoklassniki, Cloob, Orkut, Qzone, RenRen, Vkontakte, Maktoob, Skyrock, Xing, and Zing. Over 1,000 actions have already been shared on the dynamic online platform.
“Everyone has the power to make change: a CEO can change an organisation, a 7-year-old can change a classroom, and a president can change a country. What we are announcing today is just the beginning,” Ridley said. “It is through the collective action of individuals and organisations that we will be able to truly make a difference, which is why we are urging people across the planet to share how they will go beyond the hour this Earth Hour.”
Actions announced at today’s global launch included the following high-profile and individual commitments:
- The Government of Nepal has made a commitment to put a complete stop to tree-felling in the Churiya Range, a vital ecological and sociological forest area spanning more than 23,000 sq km.
- Pocoyo, an animated TV series, will reach out to its millions of preschool-aged fans across the globe over the next year, fostering “Learning through Laughter,” utilising humour and learning to inform children about environmental issues.
- Nathi Mzileni, a 15-year-old boy from Swaziland, was inspired to take action in 2010 when he realised his town did not participate in Earth Hour. He started a group at his High School called Green Enviro to educate people about climate change, and this year will single-handedly make Earth Hour a reality in his town of Shimunye, Swaziland.
- Mengniu Dairy (Inner Mongolia Mengniu Dairy (Group) Co., Ltd.): the Chinese dairy company is doubling the number of milk cartons it recycles and increasing its use of FSC-certified packaging.
- Li Bingbing, the Chinese acting/singing sensation, has committed to being vegetarian for 100 days this year, in order to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions caused in the cycle of meat production and consumption.
- Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore MP, has committed to: another six separated cycleways, installing LED lights in parks and streets, and endorsing a tri-generation plant to provide low carbon energy.
- Chloe Nicol, a 7-year-old girl from Australia, is guiding her school to increase recycling and reduce energy waste. The school now also shuts their blinds instead of using air-conditioning to cool the rooms.
- Parrys Raines, a 15-year-old Australian girl, has convinced her school to install water filling stations and provide each student and teacher with a reusable stainless steel drinking bottle to reduce plastic bottle waste.
- CB Richard Ellis is going beyond the hour in 2011 by aiming to exceed their previous year’s record of more than 254 million square feet of real estate participating in Earth Hour, as well as making available events and activities for employee participation each month (Earth Hour, Earth Day, Green Building Day, Climate Week etc.)
- Credit Suisse AG became carbon neutral in 2010 through its global ‘Credit Suisse Cares for Climate’ initiative. This year, as well as sponsoring Earth Hour Singapore, Credit Suisse will continue to go ‘Beyond the Hour’ by sending staff to a Brazilian forest reserve to support field research into the effects of climate change.
- Power98FM will ensure all lights, computers and equipment will be switched off in studios when not in use, and continue to actively support WWF initiatives.
- Singaporean pop duo Jack and Rai: Jack has switched to a more efficient air-conditioning system, and committed to setting the temperature at 24 degrees Celsius. Rai will watch less TV, play less video games, and play more acoustic guitar to reduce his energy usage.
- Holiday Inn Atrium Singapore has committed to replacing the light bulbs in all of its 504 guest rooms to energy-efficient LED bulbs.
- Wasim Akram (Pakistan cricket legend) has made a personal commitment to stop using plastic bags, to recycle and reuse, and to use his high profile to promote and encourage the same behaviour throughout Pakistan and the rest of the world.