Singapore – Just 5 days out from the global lights-out event, Earth Hour 2011 has reached record participation, with 131 countries and territories registered to take part, on all seven continents, with all G20 countries, thousands of cities, and iconic landmarks and public figures set to join with hundreds of millions across the world to celebrate action for the planet.
This Saturday, 26 March, at 8:30pm local time iconic landmarks across the globe will go dark for Earth Hour. Starting with the Sky Tower in Auckland, New Zealand and moving to the Sydney Opera House in Australia, the lights out campaign will then sweep across Asia and the Middle East to darken landmarks and events in China, Indonesia, Thailand, India, Iran and the United Arab Emirates.
The Queen’s Palace in Madagascar, Table Mountain in South Africa, Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the London Eye have also signed up to switch off in support of the planet.
Major landmarks in North and South America – including Niagara Falls in Canada, Times Square in New York City, the Obelisk in Argentina and the world heritage site Presidential Palace in Peru – will also take part in the global plunge into darkness on 26 March for Earth Hour.
In 2010 hundreds of millions of people across the world, in 4,616 cities, in 128 countries and territories took part in Earth Hour, but switching off the lights was only the beginning. This year Earth Hour asks people to go beyond the hour, and use Earth Hour to commit to an action, big or small, that they will sustain for the future of our planet.
“Earth Hour is a chance for people and communities across the globe to join together with the common purpose of a sustainable future for our planet,” said Andy Ridley, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Earth Hour. “This year Earth Hour asks people to commit to an action, big or small, for the coming year, taking Earth Hour beyond the hour.”
Among the thousands of cities taking part in Earth Hour 2011, many have already committed to taking action beyond the hour. In Sydney, Australia plans are in the works to switch to LED lights in parks and streets. Medellin, Colombia has committed to long-term water protection and tree planting initiatives to go “beyond 60 minutes”, while the city of Shenyang in northeast China has seeded plans to reforest 38,000 hectares of land.
Also taking actions “beyond the hour” in 2011 are high profile ambassadors including model Miranda Kerr, who has committed to buying local, organic produce to reduce her ecological footprint and cricket legend Wasim Akram, who has made a commitment to stop using plastic bags, recycle and reuse, and use his high profile to promote and encourage the same behaviour throughout Pakistan and the rest of the world.
Meanwhile, animated TV series Pocoyo will reach out to its millions of preschool-aged fans across the globe over the next year, to inform children about environmental issues.
An online platform www.earthhour.org/beyondthehour has been launched, that captures and allows individuals, governments and organisations across the globe to share their actions, acting as a tool to showcase and inspire commitments to protect the one thing we all have in common – the planet.