Hundreds of millions of people across the world – in a record 152 countries and territories – switched off their lights on Saturday 31 March for WWF’s Earth Hour, the world’s biggest call-to-action for the protection of the planet. Thank-you to everyone who took part.
An astonishing new record of 152 countries and 6,950 towns and cities across the world took part this year. Libya, Algeria, Bhutan and French Guinea were among the countries participating for the first time, playing their part in a wave of global Earth Hour switch-offs from east to west.
Samoa the small island nation were first to go dark for Earth Hour 2012, at 7.30am UK time Saturday – having previously been the country to switch off last, prior to its move across the International Date Line earlier this year.
The Auckland skyline went dark when the city tower switched off – the first of thousands of skyscrapers around the world, that plunged into darkness in support of a brighter future.
As the lights went off across south-east Asia, record participation in one of the campaign’s major growth regions has ignited more passion for the movement.
Philippines, one of the top participating countries in the largest voluntary action for the environment it’s hoped to have topped last year’s estimated figure of 18 million.
China: the main Earth Hour event at the Great Wall of China saw hundreds of university students and International Earth Hour ambassador Li Bing Bing visually pledge their ongoing commitment for the environment in 2012.
Korea: an astounding 74,502 buildings in Korea switched off their lights tonight, to the Twitter account of the US Embassy in Seoul.
By the time the lights-off event had reached south-east Asia, ‘Happy Earth Hour’ became the #1 worldwide trend on Twitter.
Indonesia: social media has helped drive the localised version of the ‘I Will If You Will’ campaign, with participants using digital media to organise grassroots action from across the archipelago. Celebrities Titi Dwijayanti (Titi DJ) and Jessica Iskandar pledged their commitments via YouTube.
Nepal also celebrated its largest ever Earth Hour with dual events in capital Kathmandu and Lumbini, birthplace of Lord Buddha – with Earth Hour supported by six monasteries, seven musicians and nearly 10,000 youth contributing to an ambitious plan to plant 1 million trees by 2020.
Europeans celebrated the hour at hundreds of public and community events.
A few snapshots from the Americas…
In Chile volunteers wore panda masks and held up candles to show their support for Earth Hour 2012.
This year the Earth Hour message has spread even further than WWF could have imagined, and made it into space! For the first time ever the events of Earth Hour 2012 will be watched by the International Space Station. Andre Kuipers (ESA astronaut and WWF ambassador) has told us “there is no better way to raise awareness for the future of the most beautiful planet in the universe!” we couldn’t agree more! We look forward to hearing Andre’s commentary of his experience of Earth Hour, and seeing the photos via the European Space Agency.