Earth Hour 2018: Globe unites to celebrate people’s connection to our planet
Close to 18,000 landmarks switched off their lights in solidarity as people across the globe generated over 3.5 billion impressions of #EarthHour, #connect2earth and related hashtags to show their concern for the planet.
Over 350 cities across Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Ukraine, officially supported the global initiative with thousands of people celebrating the Earth Hour 2018 and raising awareness on sustainable living. Nearly 850 well-known landmarks and facades of government buildings in Central and Eastern Europe turned dark to shine a light on climate action.
Slovakia switched off the lights in a record number of cities, more than 50 local municipalities joined. Hungary went dark with a spectacular show while residents in Borsodnádasd and Balaton municipalities held an evening torchlight procession. In Romania, hundreds of people showed their commitment to safeguarding nature by writing symbolic letters to rivers, forests and wildlife. Dozens of Earth Hour events brought together nature's lovers in Bulgaria with farm and craft food market of small producers from different parts of the country, a night hike to Vitosha Mountain’s highest peak, and celebrations in over 110 cities. In Ukraine, thousands of people listened to nature music with the sound of otter, bear, pelican and lynx, joined a “zero-waste” festival and watched experiments with light.
“Once again, the people have spoken through Earth Hour,” said Marco Lambertini, Director General, WWF International. “The record participation in this year’s Earth Hour, from skylines to timelines, is a powerful reminder that people want to connect to Earth. People are demanding commitment now on halting climate change and the loss of nature. The stakes are high and we need urgent action to protect the health of the planet for a safe future for us and all life on Earth."
This Earth Hour, for the first time, people across the globe also joined the conversation on connect2earth to share what nature means to them, in the places they live in and care about. The platform, created in partnership with the Secretariat of the United Nations Convention of Biological Diversity and supported by Germany’s Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety with funding from the International Climate Initiative, aims to build mass awareness on the values of biodiversity and nature to our lives, health and well-being.
"The science is clear: the loss of nature is a global crisis. Wildlife has declined by close to 60 per cent in just over 40 years. Our planet is at a crossroads and we cannot have a prosperous future on a depleted, degraded planet. Together as a global community we can turn things around. People must mobilize and join governments and companies toward stronger action on biodiversity and nature - the time to act is now," added Lambertini.
The impacts of accelerating biodiversity loss and climate change on the planet are profound, as are the consequences for humanity. As President of France Emmanuel Macron stated in a special message for Earth Hour, ‘the time for denial is long past, we are losing our battle against climate change and the collapse of biodiversity’. If this trend continues, our planet’s ecosystems will collapse, along with the clean air, water, food and stable climate that they provide.
To drive further global awareness and action on nature and the environment, WWF has also joined forces with the World Organization of the Scout Movement this Earth Hour. The energy and voices of 50 million Scouts worldwide send a resounding message to decision-makers worldwide that the time to act on nature, for nature is now.
As the hour rolls to a close in the Pacific Ocean’s Cook Islands, WWF and Earth Hour teams around the world will continue to empower individuals, communities, businesses and governments to be a part of environmental action. In his video statement for Earth Hour, UN Secretary-General António Guterres reiterated the need for people to work together to build a sustainable future for all. Strengthened by the support shown this weekend, teams will renew the charge to tackle issues such as sustainable lifestyles, deforestation, plastic pollution and ocean conservation across continents.
Earth Hour 2018: Facts and figures (based on initial estimates on 25 March 2018, 2:30 p.m. SGT):
- 188 countries and territories focused on environmental action and issues such as protecting biodiversity, sustainable lifestyles, deforestation, plastics and stronger climate policy;
- lights out at around 17,900 landmarks including the Sydney Opera House (Sydney), Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament (London), the Tokyo Sky Tree (Tokyo), the Empire State Building (New York), the Pyramids of Egypt (Cairo), Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque (Abu Dhabi), Christ the Redeemer statue (Rio de Janeiro) and the Eiffel Tower (Paris);
- 3.5 billion + impressions of official campaign hashtags between January and March 2018. Related hashtags also trended in 33 countries;
- Around 250 celebrities and influencers worldwide also raised their voice for the planet including Andy Murray, Jared Leto, Ellie Goulding, The Killers, Amitabh Bachchan, Li Bingbing, Park Seo-joon, Claudia Bahamon, and Roger Milla;
- Earth Hour partners include Zinkia Entertainment Ltd, creators of popular cartoon character Pocoyo, and crowdsourcing platform Userfarm.
Since 2007, Earth Hour has mobilized businesses, organizations, governments and hundreds of millions of individuals to act for a sustainable future. Earth Hour 2019 will take place on Saturday 30 March 2019 at 8:30 p.m. local time.