Media Release: Scottish countdown begins toward record Earth Hour

WITH only a month to go, Scotland’s participation in WWF’s annual global Earth Hour initiative looks set to break all records this year, it was announced today (Friday 25 February).

On Saturday 26 March at 8.30pm buildings across Scotland will be plunged into darkness as thousands of people switch off their lights or hold events in the dark to demonstrate support for people and wildlife affected by climate change.

Says a spokesperson: “To mark the official countdown, WWF Scotland today revealed that alongside support from the Scottish Government, hundreds of schools, businesses and iconic landmarks such as Edinburgh Castle and Falkirk Wheel that – for the first time ever – every one of Scotland’s 32 local authorities had committed to supporting the global event.

“Last year, around the world 4,616 cities and towns in 128 countries took part. Earth Hour 2011 is set to be even bigger and better with new countries and territories already registered to take part including Jamaica, Uganda and Swaziland.”

Dr Richard Dixon, director of WWF Scotland, said:

“We are well on track to make Scotland’s Earth Hour the biggest and best ever, thanks to the support of the Scottish Government and all our local authorities.

“While the world still waits for nations to agree a new legally binding agreement to reduce global climate emissions, we must all continue to encourage more local action to reduce pollution.

“Earth Hour is a fun and simple way for people to show their support for strong action on climate change.

“Across Scotland, hundreds of schools, businesses and individuals are getting together to hold a wide range of activities, including torch-lit walks or candle-lit dinner parties.

“This year, we are also asking people to think what they can do beyond the Hour to tackle climate change at home or in their work place and in their community.”

The event has the support of the Scottish Government, Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond MSP, said:

“The Scottish Government is delighted to back WWF’s Earth Hour.

“Our world-leading Climate Change Act with its target to cut emissions by 42 per cent by 2020 is challenging but achievable and in doing so we will create a cleaner, greener Scotland with a thriving low carbon economy.

“We are committed to leading by example and to encouraging others to do the same.

“Every person in Scotland typically contributes twice the global average in terms of greenhouse gas emissions produced as a result of our everyday behaviour.

“Small changes in our daily lives will not only help reduce emissions but can also contribute towards a healthier lifestyle, improve our environment and offer real financial savings.

“WWF’s Earth Hour provides an opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to tackling climate change in a simple yet effective way.”

Meteorologist and former weather presenter, Heather Reid, is lending her support to WWF’s Earth Hour, she said: “I’m delighted to be supporting WWF’s Earth Hour and would encourage as many people as possible to sign up and take part.

“It’s a simple way to send a strong, visual message to decision makers that people care about the impacts of climate change.

“This year, we are asking people to think about what they can do beyond the Hour, this may include walking your children to school rather than taking them by car, or setting up a car-share with work colleagues.

“Little changes to our day to day routines can make a big difference to our environment.”


Notes to Editors

[1] WWF’s Earth Hour – 8.30pm, Saturday 26 March 2011 For more information about WWF’s Earth Hour

WWF’s Earth Hour lights-out initiative started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia when 2.2 million individuals and more than 2,000 businesses turned their lights off for one hour to take a stand against climate change. A year later and Earth Hour had become a global sustainability movement with more than 50 million people across 35 countries participating. Global landmarks such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, CN Tower in Toronto, Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and Rome’s Colosseum, all stood in darkness, as symbols of hope for a cause that grows more urgent by the hour.

In March 2009, hundreds of millions of people took part in the third Earth Hour. Over 4,000 cities in 88 countries officially switched off to pledge their support for the planet, making Earth Hour 2009 the world’s largest global climate change initiative.

In March 2010, WWF’s Earth Hour became the biggest Earth Hour ever. A record 128 countries and territories joined the global display of climate action. Iconic buildings and landmarks from Asia Pacific to Europe and Africa to the Americas switched off. People across the world from all walks of life turned off their lights and came together in celebration and contemplation of the one thing we all have in common – our planet.

Here in Scotland, 29 local authorities, 300 schools and over one hundred businesses and organisations joined in. Some of Scotland’s most iconic landmarks went dark including Edinburgh Castle, The Falkirk Wheel, Inverness Castle, the Scottish Parliament, Holyrood House and Kelvingrove Museum.

WWF’s Earth Hour 2011 will take place on Saturday 26 March at 8.30PM (local time). This Earth Hour we want you to go beyond the hour, so after the lights go back on think about what else you can do to make a difference. Together, our actions add up.

[2] Photographs of Heather Reid supporting WWF’s Earth Hour available here

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Contact: Mandy Carter
Phone: 01350 728200