Earth Hour, the annual campaign organised to combat climate change by the World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature is likely to get bigger this year.
Called ‘60+ Earth Hour 2011’, the campaign is urging environmentally conscious citizens to switch off their lights for an hour on March 26 and to practise energy conservation. Last year, 125 Indian cities and roughly 50 lakh people switched off the lights for an hour on March 26. “We have been losing count of the number of people calling in for the past two weeks to participate in the campaign,” said Dr Sejal Worah, programme director, WWF-India at a city hotel on Tuesday.
HT is the principal partner for Earth Hour and support for the initiative to save energy has come from malls, hotels, business houses, civic bodies and citizens. “From a forest office in Madhya Pradesh to a monastery in Ladakh, various people have pledged their support. I feel overwhelmed,” added Worah.
Actor Vidya Balan, who is the brand ambassador of the campaign this year, asked cricket lovers to switch off the television for an hour on Saturday when Sri Lanka plays England for the last quarterfinal match of the 2011 Cricket World Cup. “I hope that missing the match for an hour could be a fun experience because it will keep you guessing,” said Balan.
She added that people could invest the hour in chatting with friends and neighbours. “Story-telling sessions during power cuts could be fun,” she added. Earth Hour was launched in Sydney, Australia, in 2007, where 2.2 million individuals and more than 2,000 businesses turned off their lights for an hour.
A year later, Earth Hour reached 370 cities and towns in more than 35 countries across 18 time zones, and the campaign shifted from a ‘Sydney Event’ to a ‘Global Sustainability Movement’. Since then, every year Earth Hour sets new standards and breaks its own records on mass participation and support. In 2010, 1.3 billion individuals across 4616 cities in 128 countries participated in the event.