WWF's Andreas Beckmann: For Earth Hour, don’t forget to go beyond the hour
“Turning off the lights is not much more than a symbolic action - a chance for us to stop and think about the planet we want to live on, and what we can do to keep it that way. It is a chance to go beyond the hour, to take action in our everyday lives. One tool for this that WWF has developed are the I WILL IF YOU WILL pledges. This year EC Commissioners Janez Potocnik and Connie Hedegaard have made pledges, among hundreds of other people.
In Romania the WWF team will spend Earth Hour in Timisoara, the Earth Hour 2013 capital of Romania. This distinction was won through a gruelling competition that included waste collection, biodiversity conservation, energy efficience, education and awareness raising and much more.
Last year's Earth Hour capital Bistrita is so proud of their distinction that they have erected signs at the entrance to the city proclaiming this, including the Earth Hour logo and the panda.
In Ukraine, our team has planned events in major cities, including in Kyiv, where the Radisson Blu hotel will host a free yoga class followed by cosy candle-lit Earth Hour evening in their cafe, while students will light candles on Maidan Nezalezhnosti, Kyiv’s Independence Square, to form the number 60.
In Serbia, the WWF team has already signed up 36 cities, including a bunch of ministries, all major national media and many local TV stations and other media in support of Earth Hour. The Horkestar choir will perform a Belgrade event to support our local "unplugged" initiative and invite people to join the action, while in Nis and Novi Sad music programme will be organized by a local NGOs.
In Hungary, Earth Hour will be marked by thousands of people along with a string of athletes and other celebrities, supporting our event. In Budapest, the biggest candle will be created to mark the day.
In Austria, the band Big City Indians have given their song "Earth is crying" as an Earth Hour song for 2013. Our team has recruited Vienna and all provincial capitals and major cities to go dark for the event.
In the Czech Republic, our Czech partner, the NGO Veronica, is once again signing up cities and organising events. So far 70 cities and towns have signed up, working toward the 162 that participated last year. Next door in Slovakia, 32 cities and towns are signed up so far.
I myself will spend Earth Hour with the Bulgarian team in Sofia, where mayor Yordanka Fandukova will once again turn lights out and there will be a series of concerts and public celebrations in the centre. Almost 100 Bulgarian cities will be participating, which is in itself a record.
So, with one week to go, get involved in Earth Hour, but don’t forget to go beyond the hour!"