Earth Hour

Earth Hour

Press Releases

11th March 2008


1st February 2008

Cathy Freeman to feature in Earth Hour campaign

Racing through Sydney, Freeman turns out the lights in support of Earth Hour

March 11 2008: Australian Olympic gold medalist Cathy Freeman will feature in a new television Community Service Announcement to support the global WWF-Earth Hour climate change campaign.

The CSA shows Cathy Freeman racing through the streets of Sydney switching off as many lights as she can in 60 minutes. Landmarks such as the Sydney Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, and well- recognised pubs, restaurants and hotels around the city are seen going dark.

“Cathy Freeman’s ability to capture the public’s imagination is unparalleled. She captured the spirit behind Earth Hour – that everyone has a part to play,” said Andy Ridley, WWF’s Executive Director of Earth Hour.

“We wanted to find a way of illustrating how much of a contribution one person could make. Despite a massive storm on the night Cathy managed to turn off 6,399 lights in one hour,” said Ridley.

The advert was developed by Stephen Coll and Nils Eberhardt at the Sydney advertising agency Leo Burnett, who worked in conjunction with the production company Caravan Pictures which is owned and operated by brother sister team Ben and Emma Lawrence.

“We only had one person in mind from the beginning - Olympic Gold Medallist Cathy Freeman. We presented her with a unique challenge - how many lights in Sydney could she turn off in one hour? She accepted immediately. Cathy was fantastic to work with. The Earth Hour cause is very close to her heart and she generously gave her time,” said Leo Burnett’s writer Stephen Coll.

In a hectic two weeks, the production team performed a minor miracle, recruiting a small army of volunteer cameramen and producers, and securing access to premises throughout the CBD including the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Dozens of Sydneysiders volunteered their premises for the cause, with the City of Sydney assisting with filming permits.

For more information on Earth Hour, to pledge your support or find out how you can get Earth Hour happening in your city, go to

To view the Earth Hour CSA featuring Cathy Freeman go to: ftp://EHconfidential:quiet1@

For still images from the CSA or to interview Andy Ridley contact:
Kath Eggleston, WWF-Australia Press Office
T: +61 2 8202 1294 / 0408 408 562 E:

About Earth Hour
On March 31 2007, for one hour, Sydney made a powerful statement about the greatest contributor to global warming – coal- fired electricity – by turning off its lights. Over 2.2 million Sydney residents and over 2,100 businesses turned off their lights, leading to a 10.2% energy reduction across the city. What began as one city taking a stand against global warming caught the
attention of the world. In 2008, 24 global cities will participate in Earth Hour at 8pm on March 29. Earth Hour is the highlight of a major campaign to encourage businesses, communities and individuals to take the simple steps needed to cut their emissions on an ongoing basis. It is about simple changes that will collectively make a difference – from businesses turning off their lights when their offices are empty, to households turning off appliances rather than leaving them on standby.

About WWF
WWF-Australia is part of the WWF International Network, the world's largest and most experienced independent conservation organisation. It has close to five million supporters and a global network active in more than 100 countries. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the planet's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. This is achieved by working on the ground with local communities, and in partnership with government and industry, using the best possible science to advocate change and effective conservation policy.


Earth Hour was a campaign launched by World Wide Fund for Nature Australia (WWF) and the Sydney Morning Herald, inviting corporations, small businesses, government departments, and individuals in Sydney, Australia to switch their lights and other unnecessary electrical devices off for one hour from 7:30pm to 8:30pm on March 31, 2007.


Earth Hour has many objectives including:
* Being part of a 12-month campaign to reduce Sydney's carbon emissions by 5%.
* Raising community awareness on climate change.
* Demonstrating that simple steps can be taken to help reduce emissions.


68,506 individuals and 2,270 businesses registered their participation on the Earth Hour website. Although the event was focused on Sydney in 2007, people from other Australian and international cities participated.

According to statistics provided by Energy Australia, the event reduced electricity consumption during the hour by 10.2%, and a poll conducted by AMR Interactive estimates that 57% of Sydney's population participated..

This AMR Interactive research is commonly relied upon to claim that 2 million people took part in Earth Hour. However, there appears to be some difficulty reconciling this assertion with the claimed reduction in carbon dioxide of approx. 25 tonnes, being the equivalent of turning off only 200,000 televisions, or around 400,000 60W light bulbs for the hour in question.

Plans to make Earth Hour an annual international event are underway. [8] In May 2007, Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore encouraged Mayors from other cities to participate in Earth Hour. At present, according to the 2008 calendar published by the Sydney Morning Herald, the next Earth Hour will be held on 29 March 2008.


There has been some criticism of Earth Hour including:

* In an analysis, David Solomon of the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business argued that "Earth Hour shows a decline of only 2.10%, statistically indistinguishable from zero." This is one of the few statistical pieces of research undertaken that has been critical of Earth Hour.
* Herald Sun columnist, Andrew Bolt, has been extremely critical of Earth Hour reflected in the number of topics devoted to this issue in early 2007 on his blog.
* Journalist for the Australian, Caroline Overington criticised Earth Hour saying it was a "monumental flop", "the gains were negligible" and that the Sydney Morning Herald gave up on any "semblance of balanced reporting.". It should be noted that both Bolt and Overington work for newspapers published by the rival News Limited, and that Andrew Bolt is openly skeptical on global warming.
* An incorrect perception by some was that Earth Hour would mean all lights switched off meaning crime and safety risk especially in regard to thieves, personal safety and road safety. This was unfounded as all essential lighting such as street and security lighting remained switched on during Earth Hour.
* The ABC's Media Watch program highlighted what appear to be questionable "before and after" photos published by the Fairfax media (sponsor of the event).

Notable participants


* Sydney Opera House
* Sydney Harbour Bridge
* Luna Park Sydney
* Coca Cola Billboard, Kings Cross
* Taronga Zoo
* Sydney Tower


WWF reported that over 60 major companies participated in Earth Hour including:

* McDonald's - switched off 90 Golden Arches in Sydney.
* Woolworths - dimmed lights in 100 supermarkets, 60 liquor stores and 40 electronic stores.
* Commonwealth Bank - turned off all lights and signage in 17 office buildings in the three CBD's of Sydney. They also turned lights off in 30 Sydney.
* Colliers International


The following musicians helped promote Earth Hour:

* Missy Higgins
* Wolfmother
* Cat Empire (Credit: Wikipedia).

Foxtel Aurora Channel


In 2008 Earth Hour turns out the lights in at least 12 cities around the world and Aurora the Community Channel begins the countdown in March.

Want to be involved? It’s easy. At 8pm on Saturday March 29, 2008 turn out all the lights in your house and keep them off for the whole hour. Tell all your friends.

Last year Sydney locals and businesses recorded an impressive 10.2% drop in energy usage across the city at the appointed hour - the equivalent of taking 48,613 cars off the road for an hour.

In an effort to rally all Australians to get behind the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) Australia initiative, Aurora Community Channel dedicates the month of March to highlighting the effect of climate change on our planet and will bring you all the events leading up to lights out.

Plus Aurora will be screening daily tips on more easy changes you can make to help contribute towards halting climate change.

For more information on Earth Hour go to


Turn Off Your Lights & Turn On Your Rhythm
Saturday 31st March
7pm for 7.30pm Start
Bondi Beach Pavilion Forecourt
BYO Candle, Drums and Percussion
Everyone Welcome

Ciara Thorburn
Marketing Manager
(m) 0410 657 370


Earth Hour Greg Tingle Profile

World Wildlife Fund (Australia)


Sydney switches off lights - 31st March 2007
(Credit: The Sydney Morning Herald)

Sydney's famous icons switched off tonight as the city embraced Earth Hour, an initiative designed to highlight global warming.

The Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge and Luna Park all went dark and many lights in CBD buildings were turned off, although a number of lights remained on.

Australian actor Cate Blanchett described Earth Hour as a beginning.

"It's an hour of active, thoughtful darkness, a celebration of our awakening to climate change action," she said.

About 65,000 households and 2000 businesses committed to joining Earth Hour, which is part of an effort to cut the city's greenhouse gas emissions by 5 per cent in the next 12 months.

Celebrities and dignitaries including Labor MP Peter Garrett, Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore and federal Labor leader Kevin Rudd attended a function at Mrs Macquaries Chair and watched the city skyline go dark.

Restaurants offered candlelight dining, while the Coca Cola sign at Kings Cross was switched off for the first time since it was illuminated in 1974.

Street lights, safety lights, road lighting on the city's bridges and lights for public security were left on.

Entertainment and sporting venue lights operated as normal.

Earth Hour is an initiative of WWF-Australia and Fairfax Media. It is hoped in 2008 Earth Hour will go fully national.


World Wildlife Fund

Bondi Beach


Climate Action Bondi


Virgin Blue Hanger Ball 2008

Environmentalists and the environment