According to best estimates by the organisers, Saturday 29 March 2014 the people of 152 nations and 7000 cities will turn off their lights for one hour to prove the world can unite to tackle climate change.
Neither Earth Hour nor any other clever social marketing initiative have made inroads into the rate of destruction of the environment thus far. Earth Hour has raised awareness, but so far, the awareness hasn’t translated into environmental benefits. Many people including reputable scientists believe that we have passed the point of no return and that it is now a question of damage control rather than the opportunity to maintain what we have or even to turn this ship around. Nobody likes bad news and people are clinging to hope. Earth Hour gives hope because it brings people together and signals good will.
This year, Earth Hour is trying to take the initiative further than in previous years adopting crowd funding and an extensive network of partner organisations to help turn this year’s Earth Hour from a ‘moment into a movement’.
In Australia, for example, the campaign collaborates with Get Up to shine the light on the Barrier Reef and its long term plight.
“We want to use the movement’s power to help Australians make the connections between tackling climate and saving our Great Barrier Reef.” Get Up campaign email.
Mobilising crowds like this is an achievement in itself, there is no doubt about it. BUT has it made a real difference to the crucial challenges of the day?
What effort and energy has gone into Earth Hour to what effect?
Has anybody evaluated the initiative beyond participation?
I can’t answer either one of these questions but would suggest that we need to evaluate Earth Hour and other initiatives in the future so we can make informed decisions and invest our energy to the best effect. We are running out of time and must go ‘beyond feel good’ to ‘do good’.
As always, I am keen to hear what others think and have collated a few other references for further reading.
My first blog about Earth Hour in 2011.
Earth Hour evaluation for a public relations award.
Saudi Gazette, beyond the 60 minutes.
Last but not least the brilliant video from the people at Earth Hour: