The mission began in Sydney, Australia in 2006 to raise awareness about climate change – 2.2 million people and 2,000 businesses switched off their lights for one hour. Five years later, Earth Hour has grown to an event on global scale, with individuals, organisations and whole cities taking part. Well-known landmarks, such as Sydney Harbour Bridge, the CN Tower in Toronto, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and Rome’s Colosseum, all joined the global display of climate action – to make a contribution to our planet’s future.
With 4000 cities in 88 countries officially switching off lights, Earth Hour 2009 became the world’s largest global climate change initiative since it’s launch.
While some people celebrate Earth Hour in the company of their beloved ones, by having a candle-light dinner for two, local communities also make an effort to make the most our of Earth Hour. Carluccio’s caffè chain replaced non-essential lights with candles in their cafés. In Edinburgh, the Caledonian Hotel served “Earth Hour” cocktails with “green” themed nibble in the Caley Bar, whilst the Pompadour Restaurant designed a special “low carbon footprint” menu.
Whilst in Scotland, it seems Edinburgh is the leading town for Earth Hour events, there have also been activities taking place in our neighbourhood, such as giving golfers the chance to take to the greens after dark, for a round of night golf at the Fairmont St Andrews. Falkirk organised a torch lit historical walk, ending with candlelit drinks at the Behind the Wall pub. Under the motto “Night Out with the Lights Out in Stirling”, several restaurants and cafes including Beanscene, changed to candle light that night. Universities and schools became active by switching off the lights of buildings and organising parties.
This year, the city of Edinburgh is turning off lights of iconic buildings and monuments, such as the Council Headquarters, the City Chambers, the Scott Monument and Calton Hill. Fife Council is also joining Edinburgh by switching off lights at the Fife House in Glenrothes, the Town House in Kirkcaldy, the City Chambers in Dunfermline and the County Buildings, in Cupar.
The WWF is targeting more people to get involved, especially student groups. Many events were organised last year that the organisation knew nothing about, so they hope this year to coordinate with the organiser and provide support for their events.
Here, in St Andrews, the University’s Estate’s Environment Team is trying to get central buildings, such as the Gateway and New Hall, to switch off their lights. In addition, joint forces are working to put together a lantern and torch procession through town on the evening of the 26th March at 8.30pm. The aim of the procession is to get as many people as possible to join in, under the motto of “We’re marching on”. Even though lights are switched off, St Andrews will not sit in the dark, as the town’s beauty will be illuminated by sustainable means. It is the community aspect that should stay in the foreground, celebrating together, helping each other to give a light for the future.
There are 10 days to go. Join in on the celebration of Earth Hour 2011. Just leaves one question: St Andrews, can we do it?
For further information on the procession and Earth Hour in St Andrews, please contact the Sustainability Officer of the University’s Estate’s Team Hannah Plant or Samantha Gordine.
The exact route of the procession and additional information is to be confirmed.
For more information, go to the WWF Earth Hour website