In 178 countries and territories around the world Saturday, millions of people switched off their lights for Earth Hour, an annual event to highlight the global threat from climate change.
Taking place months after the historic climate summit in Paris, Earth Hour 2016 was celebrated across seven continents, aboard the International Space Station and served as a strong visual reminder of the globe's determination to tackle our planet's biggest environmental challenge yet. As more than 400 iconic landmarks dimmed their lights, a collective hope that our actions today can create promise for the planet and future generations shined through.
"The past 24 hours have shown us yet again the impact we can achieve when we unite for a cause," said Siddarth Das, Executive Director, Earth Hour Global. "Every light switch turned off represents a call to switch on our collective power and be the first line of defence for our planet as we form the frontlines of climate change."
While the Earth Hour movement has grown from a one-city event in Sydney in 2007 to the world's largest grassroots movement for the environment, the need for climate action has also accelerated. This year, WWF and Earth Hour teams used the Earth Hour movement to engage people in critical climate conversations and solutions.
As buildings in Singapore's central business district turned off their lights, people at the WWF-Singapore event came forward to "plant a forest" in Sumatra, Indonesia which lost 2 million hectares of forest to burning between September and October 2015.
"As new climate records are broken month after month, the record-breaking participation of Earth Hour reminds us that we are also witnessing mounting momentum to change climate change. The grassroots are meeting the governments in their ambition for strong climate action, sparking hope for the future we can shape for generations to come," added Das.
Earth Hour 2016 by the numbers (based on initial estimates collected on 20 March 2016):
- record participation by 178 countries and territories;
- over 6,600 events registered on digital maps by individuals and organizations;
- 1.23 million individual actions taken to help change climate change (on-the-ground activities, digital actions and climate petitions);
- lights out at over 400 iconic landmarks including the Sydney Opera House (Sydney), Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament (London), the Tokyo Tower (Tokyo), the Empire State Building (New York), Marina Bay Sands Hotel (Singapore) and the Eiffel Tower (Paris);
- over 2.5 billion impressions of official campaign hashtags in the week leading up to and on Earth Hour (14-19 March).