EARTH HOUR REACHES SPACE TO SWAZILAND
MEDIA RELEASE: 15 MARCH (0001GMT) As our planet faces some of the most critical challenges in history and our journey towards sustainability slows, Earth Hour is going from space to Swaziland to spread the message that we desperately need to take action for the environment.
The human population is consuming resources at a faster rate than ecosystems can regenerate them, and we currently use the equivalent of 1.5 planets’ worth of natural resources to support our activities.* From melting sea ice in the Arctic to a looming deforestation disaster in the Amazon, coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef to a drought induced famine in the Horn of Africa. It’s time to act.
This is a global problem that requires a global solution. In 2012, the largest voluntary action for the environment, Earth Hour, is using the “I Will If You Will” campaign to inspire people all over the world to adopt urgently needed sustainability practices.
For the first time, Earth Hour will extend to the International Space Station, where ESA astronaut and WWF ambassador Andre Kuipers will keep watch over our imperiled planet as the lights switch off on 31 March, sharing photos and live commentary of his experience via the European Space Agency (ESA).
Kuipers said he is thrilled to participate in Earth Hour and take the globally significant movement to a new level, “There is no better way to raise awareness for the future of the most beautiful planet in the universe!”
Earth Hour Co-founder and Executive Director, Andy Ridley said everyone from citizens to businesses, school children to world leaders, need to believe they can make a difference, and act.
“The state of our planet effects each and every one of us. Last year Earth Hour reached 1.8 billion people across the planet, this year through digital media we are offering a greater opportunity to connect people with the desire to take much needed action for the environment,” said Ridley.
Earth Hour is also collaborating with YouTube to provide the world’s leading platform for people to empower friends, family, colleagues and organisations to take urgent action in the short term, in order to fulfill long-term environmental goals.
Nathi Mzilenzi, a young boy from Swaziland who organised Earth Hour in his town Shimunye (population 5,633) in 2010 when he was 15 years old, continues to inspire his community to participate in Earth Hour.
This year, the high school student has encouraged Swaziland’s Big Game Parks to issue an “I Will If You Will” challenge to Thembelisha Preparatory School, if they clear the main road of litter three times a year.
On the other side of the world, Italian pianist and composer Christian Calcatelli has undertaken to play an 8-hour live concert over the Internet if 5000 people commit to taking up recycling.
“Switching off for one hour is an awesome way to realise that it's small actions that can have a great impact on the well-being of our one and only planet,” said Calcatelli. “You can see how Earth Hour becomes a catalyst for change, you apply the concept beyond the 60 minutes and into various areas of life and it becomes a commitment,” he said.
You can accept and make your own Earth Hour challenges at www.youtube.com/earthhour and follow Earth Hour’s news stories at facebook.com/earthhour and twitter.com/earthhour
Global icons the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the vast Coral Triangle are using Earth Hour to highlight the impact climate change has on both coral habitats and the abundant marine life, and both have created YouTube videos offering ways people can help sustain the endangered areas.
Famous faces around the world are also speaking out to encourage participation and support for Earth Hour.
From environmental activist and former US vice-president Al Gore, who is urging people everywhere to switch off their lights on 31 March in a video message recorded from Antarctica, to legendary Canadian Ice Hockey player, Scott Niedermayer.
The National Hockey League, the premiere North American professional ice hockey league, has made an Earth Hour pledge to change the way the sport approaches energy consumption.
“When it comes to winning the fight against climate change, it’s clear that we all need to work together,” said Niedermayer who is also a WWF Canada Freshwater ambassador. “By joining Team Earth Hour, we can work together for a sustainable future.”
As an open sourced campaign, Earth Hour uses social media to connect a global community of people inspired to change the world we live in.
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
* The Ecological Footprint was calculated by the Global Footprint Network in the 2010 Living Planet Report
Rebecca George, Earth Hour Global, Rebecca@earthhour.org +61 421 988 035
Benjamin Vozzo, Earth Hour Global, Benjamin@earthhour.org +61 415 194 219
About Earth Hour
Earth Hour is a global environmental initiative in partnership with WWF and Leo Burnett. Individuals, businesses, governments and communities are invited to turn out their lights for one hour on Saturday March 31, 2012 at 8:30 PM to show their support for environmentally sustainable action. In 2012, Earth Hour’s I Will If You Will concept invites individuals and organisations to challenge others to an ongoing environmental commitment beyond the hour. Earth Hour began in one city in 2007 and by 2011 reached over 1.8 billion people in 135 countries across every continent, receiving reports as ‘the World’s largest campaign for the planet’.
WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organisations, with almost five million supporters and a global network active in more than 100 countries. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world’s biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.