Record participation for Earth Hour 2012
Hundreds of landmarks across more than 5,000 cities and towns will go dark at 8:30PM on Saturday local time, with Libya, Algeria, Bhutan and French Guinea among those participating for the first time.
Earth Hour began in 2007 as a one-city initiative in Sydney, Australia and has since grown to be the world’s largest voluntary action for the environment.
In Australia, cities across the country will go dark with 151 towns and cities signed up including, for the first time, the Torres Straight Islands, Christmas Island, and the Territories of Cocos Keeling Isles. The Prime Minister Julia Gillard has also lent her support to Earth Hour this year, saying “what began in Sydney as a simple idea to raise awareness of climate change – has become a global success.”
A number of other prominent Australians are also supporting Earth Hour this year including Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore, Isabel Lucas, Peter Garrett MP, Bill Granger, Miranda Kerr, Missy Higgins, Bindi Irwin, Laura Andon and Lizzy Lovette.
Around the world prominent supporters for this year’s Earth Hour include cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo, former Vice President Al Gore, The Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, the President of Fiji Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, and astronaut André Kuipers who will take part in Earth Hour from the International Space Station.
In Australia, the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge will be the first to go dark while the Opera House hosts an awards ceremony for the winners of the 2012 WWF Earth Hour Awards.
The WWF Earth Hour Awards celebrate Australians going ‘beyond the hour’ for our planet. Finalists include school children rehabilitating creek ecosystems and protecting turtle habitats, an internationally-successful business aimed at reducing the environmental footprint of the tourism sector and an exciting arts project highlighting marine conservation issues.
Buildings and venues around Sydney Harbour will switch off including the monumental production of La Traviata, which is being held on a purpose build stage over the water. Thousands of spectators of the opera will participate in the hour as the production’s immense chandelier dims and then fades for the event.
“Seeing Earth Hour grow from one city, Sydney in 2007 to 147 countries and territories in 2012 is truly inspiring,” said Dermot O’Gorman, CEO of WWF-Australia. “Our planet is facing unprecedented environmental challenges. One person can make a difference. Hundreds of millions of people uniting to show their support for the environment and making a commitment to action in their daily lives, can achieve real change.”
Across the country, Australians will host Earth Hour Unplugged events, getting off the grid and connecting with friends, family and their local communities. More than 140 different community events will be held in cities and towns across Australia from Tasmania to the Top End. These events will celebrate commitments to a more sustainable future with acoustic entertainment and sustainably-sourced food while raising funds for WWF-Australia’s vital conservation work.
Asia will also be participating in the hour on huge scale. This year the Great Wall of China, the Bird’s Nest in Beijing, the Tokyo Tower, Taipei 101 and the Lumbini Sacred Garden in Nepal are taking part in the largest voluntary action for the planet in history.
Other landmarks switching off include Orchard Road Singapore, Gateway of India, The Burj Khalifa, The Libyan Museum, Table Mountain, National Library of Belarus, Dubrovnik city walls, Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, Brandenburg Gate, Allianz Arena, Tower of Pisa, The Cupola of St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, The UK Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Christ the Redeemer Statue, CN Tower, Las Vegas Strip, Times Square, Empire State Building, The UN Headquarters and more.
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For Earth Hour information or to register for Earth Hour Unplugged, visit www.earthhour.org.au