The Inspiration of One Hour Goes Beyond the Hour

Sun Mar 24, 2013 10:20am EDT

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

Marketwire

WWF-Canada

March 24, 2013 - 10:20:15 AM

The Inspiration of One Hour Goes Beyond the Hour

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 24, 2013) - WWF's Earth Hour has just
concluded another record sweep around our planet from Samoa on one side of the
International Date Line to the Cook Islands on the other, with hundreds of
millions again uniting to send a clear message - we are determined to create a
sustainable future for our planet. 

The event was observed in more than 7000 cities, towns and municipalities in
more than 150 countries and territories, with many of the world's best known
human and natural landmarks going dark as the backdrop to a multitude of
"beyond the hour" activities and initiatives generating outcomes for the
movement and the planet on which we live. 

"What is most important is the ever increasing extent to which Earth Hour's
supporters are participating in or taking actions themselves," said Earth Hour
CEO and Co-Founder, Andy Ridley.

From Space to Sudan, participants at switch off events were connected along
with unknown millions through the power of modern technologies and platforms
to unite us in a common purpose. 

Canadian Astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield tweeted images from space in
celebration of Earth Hour with his unique perspective of seeing cities and
natural wonders from above. Russian Cosmonaut Roman Romanenko also sent a
video message from space, before one of the most historic moments in the
movement's history saw The Kremlin, the official residence of the President,
and Red Square plunged into darkness for the first time in celebration of last
year's environmental outcome that saw the passing of legislation to protect
Russia's seas from oil pollution. 

"The first time I stepped on the board of the International Space Station and
saw the Earth from outside, I was amazed by how beautiful and fragile it was.
Our planet is the most precious treasure that we have. It is our home and we
fully depend on it. And its existence depends on us as well. It depends on our
attitude to it and on how we use its resources," said Romanenko from the
International Space Station. 

For the first time WWF's Earth Hour City Challenge went global and produced 17
finalist cities from six countries. Announced as the first ever Global Earth
Hour Capital, Vancouver was recognised unanimously by a jury of experts for
its innovative actions on climate change and dedication to create a
sustainable, pleasant urban environment for current and future residents. By
2020, Vancouver is aiming for all new buildings to be carbon neutral in their
operations; citizens to make over 50% of trips by foot, bicycle or public
transport; and the number of green jobs to have doubled.

From villages in India without electricity being lit up with solar energy for
the first time, to Libya where participants took part in an 80-kilometre walk
from Gharyan to the capital Tripoli to celebrate Earth Hour 2013 at 8:30PM -
people from all walks of life, all backgrounds went to amazing lengths to
share what the planet means to them and what they are willing to do to protect
it. 

Countries across the world have used Earth Hour as a tool to engage children
in environmental issues, with Earth Hour organisers the Society of Wilderness
(SOW) continuing to run their year-long education program on climate change in
schools throughout Taiwan, engaging over 70,000 students and volunteers. Green
Schools in Indonesia are also actively engaged in Earth Hour's beyond the hour
campaigns, and Earth Hour was also used to promote the Low Carbon School
Network, which incorporates energy--saving lessons in the curricula of Bangkok
Metropolitan Authority-affiliated schools, in Thailand.

With a call to action to become the generation to change our planet for good,
this year's event was marked by public concerts aimed at youth as a platform
to share their passion for the environment. A rap concert in Benghazi in
Libya, a rock concert in Nepal's second largest city Pokhara, a band concert
in Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur, performances in Hanoi, Vietnam and a free
reggae show in Kingston, Jamaica were among the key events that took place
around the world.

Six of China's biggest social media sites with a daily reach of 200 million
people also went dark to raise awareness for Earth Hour, and the official
Instagram account posted a single image from Sydney's switch off at the Opera
House from their Headquarters in San Francisco that generated more than
180,000 Likes. More than 36,000 Earth Hour images were uploaded to the image
sharing platform at the time of this writing. 

Anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela was one of the first to tweet his support,
and ushered a timely message given the many reforestation projects around the
world tied to Earth Hour's I Will If You Will campaign. 

"The trees & forests were destroyed exactly because our people were so
dependent upon them as sources of energy. #NelsonMandela #EarthHour", he
tweeted. 

Countries and territories participating in Earth Hour for the first time
included Palestine, Suriname, Rwanda and Tunisia; where WWF, the Tunisian
National Agency for Energy Management and Tunisian Scouts focused celebrations
in Habib Bourguiba Avenue, the birthplace of the Arab Spring. Tunisian
President Moncef Marzouki inaugurated the event. 

Celebrities endorsing action for and during Earth Hour included Lionel Messi,
Yoko Ono, Amitabh Bachchan, Alejandro Sanz, Imogen Heap and more.

As the hour of inspiration reached Latin America, official Earth Hour
organisers and WWF-affiliate Fundacion Vida Silvestre in Argentina celebrated
their campaign to raise support for the passing of a Senate bill to make the
3.4 million-hectare 'Banco Burwood' the biggest Marine Protected Area (MPA) in
the country. Incorporating this distinctive marine plateau important to
fisheries and birds such as albatross, petrels and penguins will more than
triple the proportion of Argentina's Exclusive Economic Zone under protection.

Earth Hour participating landmarks included the Sydney Opera House and Harbour
Bridge, Tokyo Tower, Taipei 101, The Petronas Towers, Beijing National Stadium
(Bird's Nest), Marina Bay Sands Singapore, Gateway of India, The Kremlin and
Red Square in Moscow, The Burj Khalifa, The Church of the Nativity (Birthplace
of Jesus, Bethlehem), Table Mountain, Dubrovnik City Walls, Eiffel Tower,
Avenue Habib Bourguiba, The Acropolis, Tower of Pisa, The Spanish Steps,
Brandenburg Gate, Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, The UK Houses of
Parliament, Big Ben, Christ the Redeemer Statue, CN Tower, Las Vegas Strip,
Times Square, The Empire State Building, Niagara Falls and the United Nations
Headquarters in New York City.

Earth Hour 2014 will take place on Saturday 29 March.

To relive the action of Earth Hour 2013 please visit http://earthhour.org/live

See the Earth Hour 2013 Official Video at www.ehour.me/2013ViD

Press images can be downloaded at http://earthhour.org/media-centre/images 

Downloadable video footage of the global event is available for download at
http://www.earthhour.org/media-centre/videos

To join the global community head to: 

Earth Hour Canada www.wwf.ca/earthhour 

Earth Hour Global www.earthhour.org 

Facebook www.facebook.com/wwfcanada 

Twitter www.twitter.com/wwfcanada 

YouTube www.YouTube.com/EarthHour 

About WWF's Earth Hour

Join hundreds of millions of people worldwide and switch off your lights on
Saturday, March 23 from 8:30 PM to 9:30 PM. Visit wwf.ca/earthhour to join the
movement. 

WWF's Earth Hour is an opportunity for individuals, businesses and communities
around the globe to unite in a powerful call to action of hope for a better,
healthier planet. In Canada, BMO Financial Group and the Toronto Star are the
national sponsors, Ontario Power Authority is a regional sponsor and Staples
Canada is the education sponsor. As sponsors for WWF's Earth Hour, BMO
Financial Group, Toronto Star, Ontario Power Authority and Staples Canada will
harness their incredible ability to engage employees and reach customers in
spreading our message and encouraging individual action.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT: 
WWF-Canada
Weiwei Su
416 209 9033
wsu@wwfcanada.org
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