Moscow/Singapore: For the very first time, Russia’s Kremlin, the residence of the President, and Red Square switch off for Earth to celebrate Earth Hour’s largest conservation outcome so far.
Moscow’s Kremlin and Red Square, the most important site of Russia’s historical and political events, join a long list of the world’s icons participating in the largest environmental event which itself has become the iconic symbol of people’s commitment to protect the planet.
In addition to the Kremlin and Red Square, around 100 landmarks across 70 cities and towns join the switch off in Russia.
“WWF’s Earth Hour in Russia 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.
Not only is Russia joining in the symbolic show of support for Earth Hour through lights off at the Kremlin and Red Square, its citziens have shown how they can positively impact the world we live in when WWF-Russia last year secured more than 120,000 signatures for a petition to pass a long-awaited law to protect the country’s seas from oil pollution.
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 last December.
Fuelled by that achievement, WWF’s Earth Hour in Russia then looked at forest protection and has now secured more than 100,000 signatures from Russian citizens to petition for amendments to the current forest legislation for Earth Hour 2013.
This could be the catalyst for the return of a ban on industrial logging in an area of land twice the size of France, with protective forests equalling almost 18% of all forest territory in the country.
Also on the eve of the seventh Earth Hour, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called on the world to mobilise beyond the hour as extreme weather increasingly harms families, communities and economies.
“We participate with an undimmed determination to take action on climate change. Everyone has a role to play. Governments need to provide the political will, businesses can contribute solutions, and civil society, especially young people, can mobilise global action. Together, let’s do our part and shed light on common sense answers for a cleaner, greener world,” said the Secretary-General.
Earth Hour 2013 will celebrate environmental outcomes generated by its participants beyond the hour.
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.
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.
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%.
Joining the Kremlin and Red Square for Earth Hour 2013 are: Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge, Tokyo Tower, Taipei 101, The Petronas Towers, Beijing National Stadium (Bird’s Nest), Marina Bay Sands Singapore, Gateway of India, The Burj Khalifa, The Church of the Nativity (Birthplace of Jesus, Bethlehem), Table Mountain, Dubrovnik City Walls, Eiffel Tower, Avenue Habib Bourguiba, The Acropolis, Tower of Pisa, The Spanish Steps, Brandenburg Gate, Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, The UK Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Christ the Redeemer Statue, CN Tower, Las Vegas Strip, Times Square, The Empire State Building, Niagara Falls and more.