When is Earth Hour and why should I get involved?

An annual event organised by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Earth Hour encourages people across the world to switch off non-essential lights for one hour as a symbol of commitment to helping the environment.

You can take part in Earth Hour simply by temporarily turning your lights off (Photo: Shutterstock)
You can take part in Earth Hour simply by temporarily turning your lights off (Photo: Shutterstock)

An annual event organised by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Earth Hour encourages people across the world to switch off non-essential lights for one hour as a symbol of commitment to helping the environment.

What and when is Earth Hour?

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This year, Earth Hour will take place on Saturday 24 March, from 8:30pm to 9:30pm.

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Now observed in more than 7,000 cities across 187 countries, the Earth Hour tradition began 11 years ago, in Sydney, Australia.

How do I get involved?

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To take part in Earth Hour, all you need to do is turn off all the lights and electrical appliances in your home that you can survive without for an hour during the designated time slot.

Many Earth Hour participants burn candles instead of turning their electric lights on (Photo: Shutterstock)

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Many participants like to use candles as a light source (where safe) during Earth Hour, and do something that doesn't involve using electricity, such as read a book or play a board game.

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A brief history

Intended to engage Australians on the issue of climate change, the first Earth Hour was held on March 31 March 2007 at 7:30 pm local time.

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San Francisco in the USA followed suit with a similar initiative in October of the same year, and the first official international Earth Hour took place a year later, on 29 March 2008.

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Famous landmarks around the world turned off their non-essential lighting, and energy usage dropped notably in several major cities during the specified hour, including Dubai and Christchurch in New Zealand.

Earth Hour aims to raise awareness of climate change (Photo: Shutterstock)

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Why is Earth Hour important?

The number of participating countries has increased every year since the Earth Hour movement began.

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While temporarily lowering the world's energy usage and carbon footprint is fantastic, it isn't making much of a difference in the long run.

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The real aim of this project is to raise awareness of the issues surrounding climate change, and to continue the conversation about sustainable energy.