The idea that has captured our imaginations and inspired the globe will soon be with us again.
Earth Hour 2014 will take place from 8.30 to 9.30 pm on Saturday March 29.
Since 2007 Earth Hour has grown from a one city occurrence into the largest mass participation event on the planet.
In March 2007 in Sydney 2.2 million people and 2100 local businesses took part. From this humble beginning the idea has gone global. The symbolic act of turning the lights out for an hour has been adopted by around 7000 cities and the people of 152 nations. An estimated 2 billion people worldwide are keen participants, and here at home one in every three Australians is taking part.
The message of Earth Hour has always been about much more than 60 minutes of power saving. It has inspired great environmental actions – the President of Botswana commiting to planting 1 million trees, the Girl Guides who changed 135,000 light bulbs across USA, the people-powered Earth Hour campaign in Argentina which saw the creation of a 34,000 square km marine protected area that more than tripled the size of Argentine seas under protection.
This year WWF Australia and The Australian Geographic are together promoting a specific message for Earth Hour. They are explaining one of the reasons we need to act on climate change – to save our Great Barrier Reef before it is too late. By 2012 this World Heritage listed icon had already lost half of its coral cover. Scientists are warning that if we don't act now, the effects of climate change on the reef could be irreversible by 2030.
On the evening of Saturday March 29 Australians from all walks of life will gather at events big and small in cities and towns around the country.
In Grafton an Earth Hour family event is being organised. It will start at 7 pm in the grounds of Christ Church Cathedral. Details of this inspiring event will be published in the weeks ahead.
- Stan Mussared
This article was published in the VOICES FOR THE EARTH column in The Daily Examiner on March 10, 2014.