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 world'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, Singapore's Marina Bay Sands, The Tokyo Tower, Taipei 101, The Bird's Nest in Beijing, The Gateway of India, the world'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 country's seas from oil pollution last year. The petition, which was part of Earth Hour's 'I Will If You Will' 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.
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 'I Will If You Will' challenge and kicked it off by planting 100,000 trees in a severely degraded area in Southern Botswana called Goodhope.
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. Canada'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.
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 Fundación 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 Argentina's Exclusive Economic Zone from 1% to 4%.
Landmarks switching off for the first time for Earth Hour this year include Copenhagen's The Little Mermaid and Florence's Statue of David. This is also the first year Cape Town'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 Sydney's Harbour Bridge and Opera House, the first icons to take part since the campaign's inception in 2007, before landmarks across Asia including the Tokyo Tower, Taipei 101, Bird's Nest (Beijing National Stadium) and Kuala Lumpur'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 world'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 Tunisia's President Moncef Marzouki. Dubrovnik city walls in Croatia, the Eiffel Tower in Paris and Berlin's Brandenburg Gate will also join the world'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 City'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.
Earth Hour 2013 will take place at 8.30pm - 9.30pm on Saturday 23 March.
For live updates on Earth Hour 2013 starting Thursday March 21, go to http://earthhour.org/live.
See the Earth Hour 2013 Official Video at www.ehour.me/2013ViD.
Press images can be downloaded at http://earthhour.org/media-centre/images.
Downloadable video footage of the global event will be available in four B-rolls for media, covering major regions at http://www.earthhour.org/media-centre/videos.
Earth Hour Canada media centre: http://www.wwf.ca/events/earthhour/media/
To join the Earth Hour community head to:
About WWF's Earth Hour
Join hundreds of millions of people worldwide and switch off your lights on Saturday, March 23 from 8:30 PM to 9:30 PM. Visit www.wwf.ca/earthhour to join the movement.
WWF's Earth Hour is an opportunity for individuals, businesses and communities around the globe to unite in a powerful call to action of hope for a better, healthier planet. In Canada, BMO Financial Group and the Toronto Star are the national sponsors, Ontario Power Authority is a regional sponsor and Staples Canada is the education sponsor. As sponsors for WWF's Earth Hour, BMO Financial Group, Toronto Star, Ontario Power Authority and Staples Canada will harness their incredible ability to engage employees and reach customers in spreading our message and encouraging individual action.