WWF-Canada Blog:

Earth Hour goes to extremes to protect the planet

“I wanted to join last year but that wasn’t an option because my city went through a lot last year – the war and everything,” said Nattah.

Citizens in Kurdistan in Northern Iraq, Tunisia and Egypt are also on board for the world’s largest voluntary action for the environment, proving that in times of unrest, Earth Hour offers an opportunity for people to unite and take positive action to overcome a challenge that affects us all.

Holding candles on Earth Hour 2011 in Peru © WWF/ Miguel Bellido

On the other side of the globe, seven-year-old Sheryl Ng in Singapore has pledged to inspire others by giving a speech about Earth Hour in front of 1000 students at her school, to encourage people to turn off their lights on 31 March.

To inspire the public to take action, India has set a challenge for its mega cities to compete against each other to achieve the greatest participation for Earth Hour. The winning city will be declared the Earth Hour Champion, exemplifying the power of individual action behind a common cause. On the night of Earth Hour, New Delhi will host a major MTV Unplugged concert, using alternate sources of energy to power performances.

This year Earth Hour has already seen thousands of people accept challenges for the ‘I Will If You Will’ campaign, which asks people to make a personal dare at  YouTube.com/EarthHour in order to inspire friends, family, businesses and colleagues to adopt sustainable practices beyond the hour.

Earth Hour Co-Founder and Executive Director, Andy Ridley said “I Will If You Will” enables people to tackle environmental challenges in different and unique ways.

The power to make a change starts at each individual; the extraordinary things people are willing to do in order to inspire others to protect the planet is remarkable,” he said.

Brunei Earth Hour, 2011 (C) WWF -Azmi Majid

World record holding BASEjumper, wing suit pilot and mum, Heather Swan, has committed to BASEjump off a large “mystery” cliff if 1000 people go vegetarian for one week.

Famous Norwegian Polar Explorer, Borge Ousland will put on a pair of skis to pull a sleigh more than twice his weight across the inner-city of Oslo, if 15,000 people promise to park their cars for 3 days. ”Never before have global average temperatures been higher. On my expeditions in the Arctic, I have sailed right through the consequences – where there previously was ice, it is now open water,” said Ousland.

“The job of cutting greenhouse gas emissions has never been more important than now, therefore we all need to make the commitment to Earth Hour,” he said.

A group African cyclists from Kenya will ride the two toughest stages of the Tour de France at the l’Etape du Tour in July with the goal of racing at a speed only 10 – 15% slower than Cadel Evan’s time, if people commit to using a bike instead of a car once a week.

Earth Hour is being supported around the world by global ambassador Miranda Kerr, cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo, former Vice President Al Gore, the President of Fiji Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, André Kuipers and the International Space Station, CBRE, the National Hockey League, FIFA, Manchester United, Hilton Hotels, Girls Scouts of the USA, World Organisation of the Scouting Movement, United Nations, UNESCO, UN Environment Program, HSBC, Universal Pictures and the Lorax, actress Isabel Lucas, Colombian television presenter Claudia Bahamón, Asia Pacific Ambassador Nadya Hutagalung among many more.

Earth Hour has grown from a one-city initiative in 2007, to a 5,251 city strong global movement, last year reaching 1.8 billion people in 135 countries across all seven continents.

Earth Hour 2012 will take place at 8.30pm – 9.30pm on Saturday 31 March

Watch the 2012 Earth Hour video!