Earth Hour started with a question: How can we inspire people to take action on climate change?
The answer: Ask the people of Sydney, Australia to turn off their lights for one hour.
On March 31, 2007, 2.2 million people and 2100 businesses in Sydney turned off their lights for one hour – Earth Hour. If the greenhouse reduction achieved in the Sydney during Earth Hour was sustained for a year, it would be equivalent to taking 48,616 cars off the road for a year.
Earth Hour founder, Andy Ridley, said 371 cities and towns from Australia to Canada–35 countries in all–had signed up for the 60-minute shutdown at 8 pm on March 29, 2008.
Ridley, who began Earth Hour last year while working with WWF Australia, said the initiative was about individuals and global communities joining together to own a shared problem – climate change.
Cities officially signed on include Chicago, San Francisco, Dublin, Manila, Bangkok, Copenhagen and Toronto, all of which will switch off lights on major landmarks and encourage businesses and homeowners to follow suit.
“Switching off the lights for an hour is not going to make a dent in global emissions,” said WWF organizer, Charles Stevens. “But what it does do is it is a great catalyst for much bigger changes. It engages people in the processes of becoming more energy efficient.”