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Earth Hour: staying relevant in the battle on climate change

In the dying days of March for the past 15 years, people of all countries, races and beliefs have joined together to symbolically turn off their lights showing support for stronger action on climate change.

However, in recent years Earth Hour seems to have faded from our minds in Australia.

A survey by The Standard revealed most respondents had either last taken part in Earth Hour several years ago or had never taken part. About 85 per cent said they had seen no advertising for this year’s event.

Earth Hour: staying relevant in the battle on climate change

Data from The Standard Survey showing when survey subjects last took part in Earth Hour.

World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) engagement specialist Jasmine Ledger said Earth Hour had spread from Australia to the world and was still growing.

“It’s important to keep in mind that Earth Hour began in Sydney in 2007,” Ms Ledger said. It was just one city taking part, and it had a lot of traction, but it’s actually grown since then.”

Ms Ledger said the movement had attracted both environmentalists and everyday people.

We have 190 countries and territories taking part worldwide, which is 97 per cent of countries and territories on the planet.

“We are also seeing more school involvement … last year about 10 per cent of all schools in Australia took part.”

Ms Ledger said most campaign advertising was released in the week leading up to the event. “While it might seem that you aren’t seeing the same amount of marketing as you might normally see, we are seeing increased participation globally and locally,” she said.

Earth Hour: staying relevant in the battle on climate change

Seen from space: lights turning off for earth hour.

Most of the the survey respondents said they had forgotten about it because of a lack of marketing, but one person said it was perhaps getting lost among other environmental campaigns. “I think it has lost … importance as other causes have risen in prominence,” they said.

Other events include the School Strike 4 Climate, which generated a mass turnout of people.

However, Ms Ledger said she didn’t see competing campaigns as a negative. “It’s a shared cause,” she said.

It’s brilliant to see any movement for the environment getting attention.

Despite a perceived low-level of marketing and the rise of other high priority events, Ms Ledger said Earth Hour was as prominent as ever.

“Earth Hour is the largest movement for the environment.”

“We’ve seen a slow but steady increase in participation … last year we saw nearly one in three Australians take part, and we are anticipating similar participation this year,” she said.

Those figures reflect The Standard’s survey results, which indicate one-in-three respondents will take part in Earth Hour this year.

Ms Ledger said that with increased participation, Earth Hour will remain relevant in both Australia and beyond.

Earth Hour: staying relevant in the battle on climate change

WWF Engagement Specialist Jasmine Ledger says Earth Hour participation is still steadily growing. Picture: Angus Delaney

It wasn’t restricted to 60 minutes once a year, she said.

“[That’s] a common misconception … it’s a multi-faceted movement, and we are encouraging people to make switches to benefit the environment itself beyond just the hour.”

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