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From the Sydney Opera House to Table Mountain, The Petronas Towers to The Brandenburg Gate, and The Tokyo Tower to The Empire State Building - a long list of the most recognisable icons across the globe will be participating in Earth Hour 2013 this Saturday March 23 at 8:30PM, as the worldâ€™s largest movement for the planet celebrates the environmental outcomes generated by its participants around the world.
More than 150 countries and territories will be participating; Palestine, Tunisia, Galapagos, Suriname, French Guyana, St. Helena and Rwanda are among those joining the global movement for the first time in 2013.
The Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge, The Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Singaporeâ€™s Marina Bay Sands, The Tokyo Tower, Taipei 101, The Birdâ€™s Nest in Beijing, The Gateway of India, the worldâ€™s tallest building The Burj Khalifa, the Ancient Citadel of Erbil in Kurdistan, Table Mountain, The Bosphorus Bridge, The Statue of David, The Eiffel Tower, The Brandenburg Gate, The Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen, The UK Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, The Empire State Building, Niagara Falls, Los Angeles Airport (LAX) are some of the key landmarks participating in 2013.
Not only is Russia joining in the symbolic show of support for Earth Hour with around 100 landmarks switching off across 50 cities and towns, its citizens have led the way for Earth Hour showing how they can positively impact the world we live in when WWF-Russia collected 120,000 signatures for a petition to pass a long-awaited law to protect the countryâ€™s seas from oil pollution last year. The petition, which was part of Earth Hourâ€™s â€˜I Will If You Willâ€™ campaign, was then presented to the government and became instrumental in the passing of that law in the Russian parliament.
"Russia has considerably raised the bar for Earth Hour and has become a shining example of the incredible environmental outcomes that can be achieved when people work together and take action beyond the hour," said Andy Ridley, CEO and Co-Founder of Earth Hour.
Fuelled by that achievement, WWFâ€™s Earth Hour in Russia then looked at forest protection and now aims to secure more than 100,000 signatures from Russian citizens to petition for amendments to the current forest legislation for Earth Hour 2013. If successful, it will reinstate a ban on industrial logging in an area of land twice the size of France, with protective forests equaling almost 18% of all forest territory in the country. As of this writing, over 85,000 signatures have been secured.
"Through Earth Hour's 'I Will If You Will' campaign, people from all walks of life, from all corners of the globe have been empowered to do what they can â€“ both individually and collectively â€“ to secure a sustainable future for the planet. Russia and Russians have shown how effectively that can be done both during Earth Hourâ€™s symbolic gesture of concern and beyond the hour," Ridley added.
It's not only in Russia that conservation outcomes are being achieved through the Earth Hour movement. In Uganda, the first Earth Hour Forest was created as an important first step in the fight against the 6,000 hectares of deforestation that occurs in the country every month. WWF Uganda identified close to 2,700 hectares of degraded land, and set a goal to fill it with at least 500,000 indigenous trees as part of their Earth Hour 2013 campaign.
In Botswana, former President Mr Festus Mogae has made a four-year commitment to plant one million indigenous trees as part of his â€˜I Will If You Willâ€™ challenge and kicked it off by planting 100,000 trees in a severely degraded area in Southern Botswana called Goodhope.
In the US, nearly 35,000 Girl Scouts participated in Earth Hour 2012 through their Save Energy Project by installing 132,141 energy efficient light bulbs in homes and community centres, eliminating 77,553,119 pounds of CO2 emissions, the equivalent to the CO2 sequestration from planting 7,495 acres of trees per year.
And in Argentina, Earth Hour organisers and WWF affiliate FundaciÃ³n Vida Silvestre Argentina is mobilizing thousands of participants to help champion the passing of a Senate bill to make Banco Burwood the biggest Marine Protected Area (MPA) in the country. If successful, the 3.4 million-hectare MPA will raise the level of protection of Argentinaâ€™s Exclusive Economic Zone from 1% to 4%.
Landmarks switching off for the first time for Earth Hour this year include Copenhagenâ€™s The Little Mermaid and Florenceâ€™s Statue of David. This is also the first year Cape Townâ€™s Table Mountain will switch off on Earth Hour since its ascendance into the New 7 Wonders of the Natural World.
The long list of visually captivating icons that will switch off for Earth Hour includes Sydneyâ€™s Harbour Bridge and Opera House, the first icons to take part since the campaignâ€™s inception in 2007, before landmarks across Asia including the Tokyo Tower, Taipei 101, Bird's Nest (Beijing National Stadium) and Kuala Lumpurâ€™s Petronas Towers, celebrate their actions for the planet.
The Indian subcontinent will have the Gateway of India switch off, at the same time as 4 villages in Madhya Pradesh receive solar lanterns, the first form of energy they will ever use. Earth Hour then makes its way through the Middle East, where the worldâ€™s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai will go dark for one hour before Earth Hour proceeds to the ancient city of Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan.
In Palestine, Earth Hour will be the first environmental action/event taking place since the UN recognized it as a State, with switch off events taking place at Al-Jundi Square and Palestine Square in Gaza. Earth Hour is being coordinated from both Gaza and the West Bank, with switch off events taking place in Gaza City, and the cities of Nablus, Bethlehem, and Ramallah.
From Tunisia, which officially participates in Earth Hour this year right up to Vaduz Castle, the palace and official residence of the Prince of Liechtenstein, Europe and Africa will stand together. Eleven cities and towns in Tunisia will participate in the lights off event, with the main event taking place at Avenue Habib Bourguiba, the historic venue of the initial protests that triggered the Arab Spring. It will be attended by Tunisiaâ€™s President Moncef Marzouki. Dubrovnik city walls in Croatia, the Eiffel Tower in Paris and Berlinâ€™s Brandenburg Gate will also join the worldâ€™s largest voluntary action for the environment.
Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben in London will be the main landmarks in the United Kingdom to go dark. Then Earth Hour makes its way across the Atlantic Ocean to South America, with celebrations in Peru reaching from the Pacific, to the Andes and into the Amazon River, also one of the New 7 Wonders of the Natural World - Iquitos, the city where the Amazon River begins, is taking part.
The Big Apple will also have its most famous landmarks take part with Times Square, and the Rockefeller Center switching off, alongside New York Cityâ€™s famous Empire State Building. The bright lights of the Las Vegas Strip will also go dark for the hour, as well as LAX and Niagara Falls.
The CN Tower in Toronto, Canada will also dim its lights for the sixth year after the city was the second to ever come on board for the campaign. Canadaâ€™s Vancouver has also been announced as the Global Earth Hour Capital in the Earth Hour City Challenge, for its overall holistic and strategic approach to climate action.
As an open sourced campaign, Earth Hour uses social media to connect a global community of people inspired to change the world we live in.
For live updates on Earth Hour 2013 starting Thursday March 21, head to http://earthhour.org/live
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