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Earth Hour 2013 looks for change

By Katrice R. Jalbuena

Earth Hour is not merely an annual event but a continuous movement calling for real action to change the world we live in.

“People from all walks of life, from all nations around the world, are the lifeblood of the Earth Hour interconnected global community. They have proven time and time again that if you believe in something strongly enough, you can achieve amazing things,” said Adam Ridley, chief executive officer and co-founder of Earth Hour.

Speaking at the media launch of Earth Hour 2013, Mr. Ridley emphasized that their 2013 campaign comes after the 2012 campaign achieved several successful environmental outcomes.

“Earth Hour has always been more than a lights off campaign, and we are now seeing some extraordinary environmental outcomes on the way to achieving our long-term vision,” said Mr. Ridley.

The grassroots nature of the Earth Hour movement and the willingness of its participants to mobilize are helping to deliver real environmental outcomes, both big and small.

One of these positive outcomes was the passing of a law by the Russian parliament to protect the country’s seas from oil pollution.

The passage of the law is said to have been spurred by a 120,000-strong signature petition that was a result of Earth Hour 2012’s I Will If You Will campaign (see related story).

This year, WWF’s Earth Hour in Russia has launched another campaign, aiming to secure more than 100,000 signatures to petition for amendments to current forest legislation. If successful, it will return a ban on industrial logging in an area of land covering 18 percent of all forest territory in the country.

Africa has also seen successful campaigns to combat deforestation as a result of the actions of Earth Hour participants.

A former president of Botswana, Festus Mogae has begun to answer his I Will If You Will challenge to plant one million indigenous trees, starting with 100,000 in Goodhope, Southern Botswana.

Also, the first Earth Hour Forest has begun in Uganda. WWF Uganda identified close to 2,700 hectares of degraded land that they intend to fill with 500,000 indigenous trees as part of their Earth Hour 2013 campaign.

In the United States, nearly 35,000 Girl Scouts took part in Earth Hour last year by installing 132,141 energy efficient light bulbs for around 75,393,654 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions eliminated. This is equivalent to planting 7,285 acres of trees per year.

“These outcomes both evidence the power of our collective action and the potential for future outcomes for the environment, generated by hundreds of millions of people coming together as part of the Earth Hour movement,” said Mr. Ridley.

Since 2007 when 2.2 million people took part in the first Earth Hour in Sydney, Australia, Earth Hour has massively expanded to over 7,000 cities and towns in 152 countries and territories with hundreds of millions of participants across seven continents.

Earth Hour 2013 will take place at 8:30 PM-9:30 PM on Saturday, March 23. – EcoSeed Staff

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