The origins of Earth hour

Posted by  Mark Schenk —July 24, 2010
Filed in Collaboration, Culture

Earth HourEarth Hour has been held annually since 2007, in late March. In that first year, Earth Hour focussed on getting one city, Sydney, to switch off its lights for 60 minutes. In 2010, over 1 billion people participated in 128 countries and over 4000 cities. Where did this global phenomenon originate? What forces were arrayed to make it happen?

I hadn’t thought much about those questions until last night, when Shawn and I were at a conference dinner and heard Todd Sampson (of the Gruen Transfer fame…oh yeah, he has also climbed Mt Everest solo) talk about creativity. Todd described how, in 2006, he met with five other people in the Hilton hotel in Sydney. The group wanted to tackle a big question: how do you change people’s behaviour for the benefit of the planet without using fear? The answer they came up with… Earth Hour. The World Wildlife Fund got behind the initiative, people’s imaginations were ignited and the rest is history.

We are always on the lookout for little things that make a big difference. Earth Hour shows us that we can switch off our lights. Time to start making some beeswax candles in preparation for the next Earth Hour which will be held at 8.30pm 26 March 2011.

Mark Schenk About  Mark Schenk

Mark works globally with senior leadership teams to improve their ability to communicate clearly and memorably. He has been a Director of Anecdote since 2004 and helped the company grow into one of the world’s leading business storytelling consultancies. Connect with Mark on:

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