2015 marks the ninth year of Earth Hour, the WWF-led global event at which people and businesses turn off the lights to illuminate climate change awareness. Businesses, communities and individuals in nearly 170 countries will flip their switches for an hour this Saturday, March 28th at 8:30 pm local time.
The 2015 event hashtag, #YourPower, emphasizes individual responsibility in advancing action, and once again, major brands are joining Earth Hour and encouraging their stakeholders to follow. Timex will donate $1 to Earth Hour Blue, the WWF crowdfunding platform, for every individual that pledges to participate. Verizon plans to darken 25 million square feet of building space — the equivalent of nearly 12 Empire State buildings — across offices in 37 countries.
Relatedly, Verizon is encouraging businesses and consumers to “go beyond the hour” by committing to GHG reduction goals. Over 3,000 Verizon employees will join Earth Hour from their homes, and the company has pledged to donate to WWF in honor of their participation.
Animated promotional efforts include a video and special Earth Hour game from "Angry Birds" maker Rovio Entertainment, as well as a video from the animated television series “Pocoyo” to educate younger viewers on climate change and to encourage support for Earth Hour. Other notable corporate participants include IKEA, ING, Fairmont Hotels, Hilton Hotels, HSBC, Philips, The Body Shop, Volvo Construction, H&M and** Sony Mobile**. These companies add to the nearly 100 businesses and organizations — and one super hero — that participated in 2014.
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Besides 60 minutes of symbolic unity, Earth Hour is also a noteworthy fundraiser for environmental initiatives. Earth Hour Blue raised over $60,000 to support environmental projects in 2014. This year’s crowdfunding projects include the restoration of Sumatran elephant habitats, forest conservation in Uganda, and distribution of solar lights in the Philippines, among others.
Earth Hour is also a perfect time for individuals to unplug from electronic devices. Candle-lit dinners, street parties, recycling drives, and yoga classes are among the activities scheduled globally during the event. And condom company Durex is reviving its cheeky 2014 Earth Hour campaign encouraging people to #TurnOffToTurnOn. In the words of Santigold: “Lights out, we’ll make it easy, we’ll make it fun.”