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.

  TORONTO, ONTARIO, Mar 24 (MARKET WIRE) --
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.

Contacts:
WWF-Canada
Weiwei Su
416 209 9033
wsu@wwfcanada.org

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