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Exactly 100 days from now, homes, businesses, community groups, schools, iconic landmarks and cities across the planet will take part in the world’s largest public action for the environment – WWF’s Earth Hour.
“There is special power in Earth Hour’s bold simplicity, a moment shared in darkness,” says Morné du Plessis, CEO of WWF South Africa. “Many people care about our environment, but feel overwhelmed by the enormity of what we can do. Earth Hour is not about saving electricity for an hour. It’s an opportunity for all of us to come together to celebrate, reflect on our actions and impact, and make a renewed commitment to preserving our planet. We are all connected, and we must remember that our individual actions make a collective difference!”
At 8:30pm local time on Saturday, 23 March 2013, Earth Hour will see hundreds of millions of people around the world unite as the planet plunges in to darkness when lights are switched off in a moment of contemplation for the planet and celebration of their year-round commitment to protect it.
The iconic ‘lights out’ event has seen some of the most recognised buildings and landmarks switch off in celebration of the one thing that unites us all – the planet. These include Table Mountain in Cape Town to the Nelson Mandela Bridge in Johannesburg, the Sydney Opera House in Australia to San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, the Forbidden City in China to the Eiffel Tower in Paris and Buckingham Palace in London.
More than 7,000 cities in 152 countries took part in 2012, growing exponentially since 2011 when over 5,000 cities in 135 countries engaged in the power of Earth Hour. This year, Earth Hour again challenged people to go beyond the hour with a new campaign called I Will If You Will (IWIYW). Based on a social contract between parties, the online video platform inspired individuals and organisations to share their personal dare with the world by asking, “What are you willing to do to save the planet?”
The IWIYW campaign continues in 2013 and WWF calls on everyone to create their own challenge for the betterment of our planet and the protection of the environment, to declare and share our commitment to action beyond the hour.
Over the years South Africans have embraced the spirit of Earth Hour to unite and celebrate with global citizens of the earth, and WWF South Africa (WWF-SA) will continue to spread a message of engagement and active citizenship. “We encourage the public to share their stories, create their own challenges as well as host their own events, to participate in whatever ways they feel best honour our earth,” explains du Plessis.
Du Plessis concludes, “As we head towards the end of 2012, and a new year ahead, consider your wish for the earth when making your own new year’s resolutions. Whether investing in a solar geyser or energy-saving light bulbs, unplugging unused appliances or recycling, our small actions can have great combined impact”.
WWF-SA wishes to collect stories from everyday South Africans about how they have celebrated Earth Hour over the years as well as discover the beyond the hour commitments to honour and care for our earth. Stories can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.