“Let us stand together to make of our world a sustainable source for our future as humanity on this planet,” the anti-apartheid hero and former President of South Africa tweeted. At the same time, Earth Hour’s I Will If You Will campaign went viral, engaging tens of thousands of people to Dare the World to Save the Planet.
The challenge platform hosted at www.youtube.com/earthhour is receiving an estimated 20,000 visits per minute from people all over the world and has reached 2 million views in the last 14 hours. More than 100,000 visitors have now accepted the 80 feature challenges from celebrities, governments, organizations and individuals including global ambassador Miranda Kerr, Kumi Naidoo from Greenpeace International, Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, Latin American ambassador Claudia Bahamón, TV stars Giuliana and Bill Rancic, actress Isabel Lucas and local WWF ambassadors Nadya Hutagalung and Marc Nelson. More than 2000 unique challenges have been created, which will take Earth Hour participation for the benefit of our one fragile planet well “beyond the hour”.
As the lights went off across south-east Asia, record participation in one of the campaign’s major growth regions has ignited more passion for the movement. The Philippines participation in the event is “hoped” to have topped last year’s estimated figure of 18 million, cementing it as one of the top participating countries in the largest voluntary action for the environment.
“We believe the key to our success is the interconnected global community,” said Earth Hour Co-Founder and Executive Director Andy Ridley, who is in The Philippines for the event. “For the first time in history we have the power to connect behind a common purpose and the ability to create a network without national borders, based on the most influential voices and the smallest voices. The growth in social media, the world’s news media outlets and the digital revolution has allowed that to happen.”
The main Earth Hour event at the Great Wall of China saw hundreds of university students and International Earth Hour ambassador Li Bing Bing visually pledge their ongoing commitment for the environment in 2012. The China World Trade Center and the Olympic Park’s Bird’s Nest Stadium and Water Cube also turned their lights off to mark Earth Hour.
Nearly 1,500 Singaporeans stood shoulder to shoulder to create a massive `60+Singapore’ human formation along Orchard Road, one of the nation’s most glamorous shopping and entertainment neighbourhoods. Over 370 major businesses across the city state made commitments in support of Earth Hour, ranging from a simple flick of the switch to broader environmental commitments.
An astounding 74,502 buildings in Korea switched their lights from 8:30-9:30pm according to the Twitter account of the U.S. Embassy in Seoul.
By the time the lights off event had reached south-east Asia, `Happy Earth Hour’ became the #1 worldwide trend on Twitter.
In Indonesia, social media has helped drive the localized version of the I Will If You Will campaign, Ini Aksiku! Mana Aksimu?, with participants using digital media to organise grassroots action from across the archipelago. Celebrities Titi Dwijayanti (Titi DJ) and Jessica Iskandar pledged their IniAksiku commitments via YouTube.
Social media is again responsible for the massive turn-out in India, which culminated in an alternative power sourced MTV Unplugged concert in New Delhi. A similar concert and lights off event has been held at the Mysore Palace, India’s most popular tourist attraction. Megacities competed right across India for the title of Earth Hour Champion.
Nepal also celebrated its largest ever Earth Hour with dual events in capital Kathmandu and Lumbini, birthplace of Lord Buddha – with Earth Hour, supported by six monasteries, seven musicians and nearly 10,000 youth contributing to an ambitious plan to plant 1 million trees by 2020.
“Through Earth Hour, we want to promote the message of conservation – starting with Lumbini and travelling beyond its borders – as the way of life for human beings not just in Nepal but across the world,” said the Venerable Maitri Mahastavir, Spiritual Advisor of the Lumbini Development Trust.
Earth Hour 2012 is took place in a record 150 countries and territories across 6494 towns and cities.