Earth Hour | WWF South Africa

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Earth Hour

What started as a symbolic lights out event in Sydney in 2007 has grown into the world’s largest grassroots movement for the environment. Amidst accelerating climate change and staggering biodiversity loss, Earth Hour continues to inspire millions of people to take action for our planet and nature.

What is the issue?

Nature looks after us, giving us food, water and energy to thrive and survive; yet human activity continues to compromise it.

In less than 50 years, there has been an average decline of 50% in the sizes of population of some species. And our current energy model, heavily dependent on fossil fuels, is driving global temperature rises above the defined level of 1.5 degrees Celsius.

If we keep consuming the planet’s resources like there is no tomorrow, there may very well be “no tomorrow”.

But people and nature have a remarkable capacity to bounce back and it’s this spirit that inspires Earth Hour, galvanising millions to take lasting action.

What is WWF doing?

WWF works to look after our natural resources — oceans, land and wildlife — so we can continue to benefit from food, water and a healthy climate. Through Earth Hour, we inspire our supporter networks to shift towards a future that is sustainable and equitable, where people and nature thrive.

How do we do this?

Using our reputable science-based approach and global influence, we empower individuals and communities to live more sustainably and work with business and industry to transform their operations. And through campaigns such as Earth Hour we mobilise public support and take our brand to market.

Who do we work with?

Since its beginnings in 2007, active support for Earth Hour has spread across 188 countries and territories worldwide, capturing the hearts and imaginations of global citizens along the way. And this number grows each year.
 
Today Earth Hour is an open-source campaign in which anyone – government, business and individuals – can adopt and adapt to suit their needs.  Earth Hour events and experiences can be enjoyed and shared with WWF and the public by anyone from anywhere.
 
In many instances, local governments and businesses turn off the lights in skyscrapers and large public buildings or bridges while supporters at home mark the hour in a way that inspires their creativity. 

In South Africa, we work with corporates, municipalities, retailers, restaurants, schools and universities, and celebrities on Earth Hour.

How did it start?

Earth Hour began as a local, one-hour lights-out symbolic event in Sydney, Australia in 2007 to demonstrate support for climate action. It has since sprouted into a worldwide movement involving millions around the globe.
 
Each year on the last Saturday in March, millions use their collective voice to inspire, motivate and lead the charge on their hopes, dreams and concerns for the planet.
 
On home soil, South Africans got switched on to the power of Earth Hour in 2009 ahead of climate change talks in Copenhagen, Denmark. This momentum led WWF to inspire many more South Africans to sign up and switch off.

What are the big wins?

  • In 2019 WWF, with the support of Virgin Active, hosted the Earth Hour Adventure in Cape Town and, for the first time, Johannesburg where participants navigated their way by headlamps to hidden check points dotted across a 5km course in the gardens.
  • In 2017 WWF South Africa launched a successful public petition urging Eskom to make the shift to renewable energy. Over 13 000 South Africans signed the petition, showing their commitment to building a cleaner, greener future together.
  • In 2014 Cape Town beat 163 cities in 14 countries in the annual Earth Hour City Challenge to become the Earth Hour Global Capital of the Year.
  • In 2013, WWF launched an award-winning ‘Things to do in the dark’ campaign which included a Facebook App which offered a variety of ideas and inspiration for everyone to celebrate Earth Hour. 
  • Since the inception of Earth Hour in South Africa, landmarks such as Table Mountain and the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town and the Nelson Mandela Bridge and FNB Stadium in Johannesburg have participated in switch-off events.