We are invited to join hundreds of millions of people around the world in showing support for our planet this weekend.
The 11th annual Earth Hour is taking place at 8.30 to 9.30pm on Saturday, March 22.
Earth Hour is the world’s largest event to promote the protection of our planet.
Lights will go out for one hour, in homes, businesses and historic landmarks in at least 187 countries around the globe.
Last year, nine million people took part in the UK, along with over 6,000 schools, 1,700 youth groups, thousands of businesses and organisations and 300 landmarks, including Big Ben, the Palace of Westminster, Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, Blackpool Tower, The Kelpies, Brighton Pier and Cardiff Castle.
The event is being run by the WWF, one of the world’s largest independent conservation organisations.
WWWF executive director of campaigns Tony Juniper said: “Support for Earth Hour over the past 11 years has helped us find solutions for the environmental challenges we face the world over.
“We’ve influenced climate policy in Russia, Argentina, Ecuador and Wales; we’ve successfully pushed for planet-friendly laws, such as a ban on plastic in the Galapagos Islands; and Uganda is now home to the world’s first Earth Hour forest.”
This year, the WWF is asking us to make a #PromiseForThePlanet, a pledge to take one step in our own lives to reduce our environmental footprint.
The idea is for us to make small behaviour changes that together have a big impact.
Promises range from refusing plastic cutlery to using reusable coffee cups and turning our washing machines to 30 degrees.
Other options include getting an electric vehicle; reusing or composting leftover food; switching to green energy; and becoming a flexitarian by embracing a mostly vegetarian diet involving the occasional meat dish.
Large corporations are also getting involved.
Multinational manufacturer P&G’s Ariel brand of washing powder is supporting Earth Hour.
The company is donating £1 for every promise made online using the #PromiseForThePlanet hashtag or via the Earth Hour UK website to turn our washing to 30 degrees, up to a total of £50,000.
To find out more about Earth Hour around the world, see wwf.org.uk/earthhour
Earth Hour close to home
There’s plenty to do from 8.30pm to 9.30pm on Saturday, March 24 if you want to show you care about the planet’s future.
Last year, millions of people in the UK chose to mark the WWF’s Earth Hour by going ‘lights out’ for 60 minutes.
Other ideas include stargazing, a onesie party or a book club get-together.
The WWF also recommends looking for a local landmark switch-off.
Chichester Cathedral is marking the hour by reducing the lighting on the Cathdral Green. Cathedral spokesperson Ruth Poyner said: “We are delighted to be participating in Earth Hour.”
Chichester businesses have also committed to celebrating or promoting Earth Hour in response to a letter campaign this week by Chichester city councillor Sarah Sharp.
At the time of writing, they include Cotswold Outdoor, COOK, beauty specialists Jane Bulbeck, Vape Store, The Body Shop, the East and North Street branches of Marks & Spencer, Fat Face, Swarovski, tReds, Between the Lines, L’Occitane, The Co-operative Bank, Rohan, Clintons, Lush, Q Hair and Beauty and the East Street branch of Costa Coffee.
A spokesperson for Jane Bulbeck said Earth Hour is ‘a brilliant idea’: “I have put a note in the diary to switch off the lights in the window as well as the desk before we close. I’ll also be switching off my lights at home.”
Cllr Sharp said: “Compared to last year, I feel Earth Hour might have more resonance due to the rising awareness of coffee cups and plastic pollution in the sea. The beauty of Earth Hour is that everyone can join in. You can take part in your own home by spending an evening without the radio, tv or phone - just light a candle, prepare a meal from scratch to reduce the amount of plastic used and be part of a global movement to ensure the world we hand over to our children is the best it possibly can be.”
Richard Simpson from frozen food chain COOK said: “COOK is delighted to be sponsoring the Earth Hour event taking place in Chichester this year.”
Richard is offering a free pudding to a bring-and-share meal for readers who would like to take part with Cllr Sharp in promoting Earth Hour on Saturday. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
For Earth Hour ideas, see www.wwf.org.uk/updates/60-things-do-dark
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