Record participation expected for Earth Hour

A record number of countries will switch off the lights at important landmarks and take part in Earth Hour this year

A record 147 countries and territories will take part in Earth Hour on Saturday 31 March, when landmarks and areas across more than 5,000 cities and towns turn off their lights for an hour, going dark at 8.30pm local time on Saturday.

Earth Hour began in 2007 as a one-city initiative in Sydney, Australia and has since grown to be the world’s largest voluntary action for the environment, with Libya, Algeria, Bhutan and French Guinea among those participating for the first time this year.

According to organisers, last year Earth Hour reached 1.8 billion people in 135 countries across all seven continents.

This year, Earth Hour launched the I Will If You Will campaign to encourage people to take actions beyond the hour, to make their lives more sustainable. Thousands of individuals, organisations and governments have created an I Will If You Will challenge, inspiring their friends, colleagues and networks to be a part of their action towards a more sustainable world.

“Each and every one us play an important role in making a difference to the world we live in. As the lights go off around globe tomorrow, celebrate your commitment to the planet and inspire those around you to take action,” said Earth Hour co-founder and executive director, Andy Ridley.

Landmarks switching off include Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, the Sydney Opera House, Tokyo Tower, Taipei 101, Great Wall Of China, Beijing National Stadium (the Bird’s Nest), Gateway of India, Table Mountain, Eiffel Tower, Tower of Pisa, The Cupola of St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, Christ the Redeemer Statue, CN Tower, Las Vegas Strip, Times Square, Empire State Building, The UN Headquarters and more.

The last country to usually go dark, Samoa has crossed the international date line and this year will begin the lights-off event as it traverses the globe over a 24-hour period. The last switch off event will wrap up in the Cook Islands.

Earth Hour is being supported around the world by prominent individuals and organisations including: global ambassador Miranda Kerr, cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, the United Nations, Greenpeace International executive director Kumi Naidoo, former vice president Al Gore, the president of Fiji Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, André Kuipers and the International Space Station, FIFA, UEFA, Manchester United, Hilton Hotels, UNESCO and many more.