Earth Hour: lights out for the planet

Posted on 26 April 2011

Against the biggest problem the world has ever faced, the biggest demonstration the world has ever seen
Against the biggest problem the world has ever faced, the biggest demonstration the world has ever seen.

It’s a spectacular event that unites hundreds of millions of people around the world.

Not the World Cup Final or the opening ceremony of the Olympics.

Earth Hour.

What’s at stake?

Climate change threatens life as we know it.

Up to a quarter of all species could become extinct. Whole ecosystems, like coral reefs and tropical rainforests, could disappear. And hundreds of millions of people will suffer from flooding and extreme weather, food shortages and disease.

It’s not too late to avoid the worst. But those in power need to take bold, urgent action – and all of us need to be ready to make changes in our own lives.

The story so far

WWF recognises that conservation is the responsibility of everyone across the planet.

We launched Earth Hour to engage and unite hundreds of millions of people worldwide in support of the health of the planet we all share.

The first Earth Hour took place in Sydney in 2007 when more than 2 million people switched off their lights for one hour to show they wanted action on climate change.

Earth Hour is now marked in more than 5,000 cities and towns in 134 countries throughout the world. In 2011, it reached an estimated 2 billion people. It’s a truly global phenomenon – our biggest public campaign, and one of the greatest moments of mass participation ever seen.

Beijing’s Forbidden City, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, The Sphinx and Pyramids of Giza, Times Square in New York, the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio and Zimbabwe’s mighty Victorian Falls are just some of the ever-growing list of global icons that go dark for Earth Hour each year.

Earth Hour is a universal message of hope and action, a movement driven by the collective will of the world, for the world. It’s a spectacular display of global unity and evidence of what we can achieve if we all take responsibility for looking after our planet.  

Facts and stats

  • 5,000 – towns and cities in 134 countries that participated in 2011
  • 1,638 – icons and landmarks worldwide that switched off for Earth Hour 2011
  • 2.2 million – people who took part in the first event in Sydney in 2007

Did you know?

Earth Hour has even reached Antarctica, with the Scott Centre research base switching off all inessential electrical equipment.

What’s next?

In 2011, Earth Hour invited people to go “Beyond the Hour” by committing to an ongoing action, big or small, for the future of the planet.

Millions of people, schoolchildren and celebrities, businesses and communities, municipalities and governments, have responded to the call, sparking environmental commitments from heads of state, companies, cities and individuals in 135 countries. Their pledges – from installing energy-saving light bulbs and reusing shopping bags, to building cycle lanes and protecting whole areas of forest – will mean one hour makes a lasting difference.

Nepal committed to stopping logging in the 2.3 million ha Chiruya forest. In China, each of the 84 cities participating made commitments – Chengdu will put 80,000 bikes on the streets and Shenyang will reforest 40,000 ha. Earth Hour was hugely popular on social media – videos on YouTube were viewed 2.8 million times, there were 68 million interactions through Earth Hour apps and Facebook, MySpace and other sites, and supermodel Miranda Kerr drove tens of millions to the website. An estimated 2 billion people were reached by Earth Hour in 2011, achieving an ever broader and deeper engagement.

Find out more and make your own pledge at

WWF in action

Want to get involved with Earth Hour? Watch the official video and tell us your action for the planet.

What you can do

  • Turn off your lights at 8.30 p.m. on 31 March 2012 wherever you are in the world. Sign up to Earth Hour to let us know you’ll be taking part and commit to actions that last all year long
  • Rally your office or business to get involved in Earth Hour

Join the myWWF Action Center
Be part of a global community of activists ready to take simple online actions that can help save wildlife and people. Sign up today!


A group of people spelling out Earth Hour with sparklers against a dark sky on Vancouver Island, Earth Hour 2010, Canada.
© Jeremiah Armstrong / WWF-Canada
Earth Hour 2010, Citizens of Jakarta in traditional costumes supporting Earth Hour, Jakarta, Java, Indonesia.
© WWF / Des Syafrizal
Earth Hour 2010. Skyline showing the Sphinx and the Pyramids before and after the lights are switched off for Earth Hour, Giza, Egypt.
© WWF / Jason Larkin