Thousands in Central and Eastern Europe celebrate Earth Hour
In Romania the WWF team spent Earth Hour in Timişoara, the Earth Hour 2013 capital of Romania. The city won this distinction through a gruelling competition that included waste collection by citizens. Timişoara also gathered the most points for energy efficiency, environmental education and biodiversity conservation in Romania.
“Our latest survey shows that six out of ten Romanians have heard about Earth Hour and four out of ten celebrate it. These are impressive numbers that we have achieved in four short years”, said Ioana Betieanu, Head of Communications at WWF in Romania. “We no longer measure the impact of Earth Hour by counting the number of cities that participate – 43 this year, but by following their evolution, seeing them embrace new ideas and actions, engaging more and more their communities.”
Dalma Kovács, a popular Romanian pop and jazz singer, sang at the Earth Hour big event in Timişoara and the actor Bogdan Dumitrache celebrated Earth Hour along with the WWF team in Romania’s Earth Hour Capital. More than 30 events were organized nationally too.
32 new towns joined Earth Hour in Bulgaria this year, reaching a total of 103, a record for Bulgaria. In Sofia, a series of concerts, fire-dancing acrobat acts and a theatre performance by Lux Lumina artistic group took place in the city centre. Events were organized in many other towns.
In Ukraine, 40 cities joined Earth Hour despite the severe snow storm that swept the country. Kiev, Odessa, Donetsk, Poltava, Simferopol and Kerch were among them. In Kiev the Radisson Blu hotel hosted a free yoga class followed by cosy candle-lit Earth Hour evening in their cafe.
"My favourite part organizing Earth Hour this year has been using social networks", said Katya Kurakina, Communications Officer at WWF in Ukraine. "It's really amazing to see how fast Earth Hour groups are growing."
In Serbia, the WWF team signed up 50 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 performed a Belgrade event to support the local "unplugged" initiative and invited people to join the action.
In Hungary, thousands of people along with a string of athletes and other celebrities supported Earth Hour. In Budapest, the biggest candle was created to mark the day.
In Austria, the band Big City Indians donated their song "Earth is crying" as an Earth Hour song for 2013. On the night, Vienna and all provincial capitals and major cities went dark for one hour.
Organized for the fifth time in Croatia, lights went out in 48 Croatian cities, including Zagreb, Dubrovnik, a UNESCO heritage site, Split, known for the historic Palace of Diokletian, Pula, Arena, Zadar, Osijek and Rijeka.
32 municipalities supported Earth Hour in Slovenia this year. The European Commissioner for the environment Janez Potočnik, who is a Slovene, sent his best wishes to the team, while Slovene president Borut Pahor expressed his support for the event.