Today is Earth Day, have you heard?
And with it comes Earth Hour.
But do you know where it all began?
Initially, Earth Hour was an ambitious publicity stunt to engage Australians on the issue of climate change. The first Earth Hour was held on 31 March 2007 in Sydney at 7:30pm local time.
A few months later, the people of San Francisco were inspired to do the same and carried out their own Earth Hour in October 2007. Since then, the participation had sky-rocketed!
What began in 2007 as one city’s dramatic stand against global warming has become a global movement. Sponsored by WWF—a conservation group that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation by 5 percent annually—Earth Hour has the official participation of a growing number of cities, countries, businesses and individuals worldwide.
Earth Hour 2008 saw 35 countries across all seven continents participate. And the trend of increased participation had maintained throughout the seven-year history of this global movement.
Earth Hour 2008: 371 Cities in 35 Countries.
Earth Hour 2009: 4,000 Cities in 88 Countries.
Earth Hour 2010: 4,616 Cities in 128 Countries.
Earth Hour 2011: 5,251 Cities in 135 Countries.
Earth Hour 2012: 6,950 Cities in 152 Countries.
Earth Hour 2013: 7,000 cities in 154 Countries.
Earth Hour 2014: 7,000 Cities in 162 Countries.
With more than 82% of the world's countries already participating in Earth Hour, you can expect 2015 to inch closer to a complete global participation.
Here's another fun fact: Earth Hour is held in late March because it is around the time of the Spring and Autumn equinoxes in the northern and southern hemispheres respectively, which allows for near coincidental sunset times in both hemispheres, thereby ensuring the greatest visual impact for a global “lights out” event.
The goal, of course, is to inspire people to reduce their energy consumption every day, not by sitting in the dark for an hour each night, but by taking simple steps that can have a dramatic effect.
So, make sure you turn off your lights tonight at 8:30 pm for an hour - if you wish - but most of all show your commitment by continuing at least one environmental action all year long that would help make the world a better place.