Singapore, 29 March 2014 – A record number of approximately 9,000 attendees joined fans and supporters of WWF-Singapore and Spider-Man, Earth Hour’s first-ever Super Hero ambassador, along with the cast, director and producers of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 that include Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx and Marc Webb, for the world’s largest Earth Hour Lights Off event.
Singapore being the home and global headquarters of the Earth Hour movement, hosted this year’s Earth Hour flagship event at The Float@Marina Bay bringing Singapore’s signature Marina Bay skyline into darkness.
Earth Hour has grown into a global phenomenon that inspires people to spare a thought for Mother Earth. It now encompasses over 7,000 cities and towns in over 160 different countries and is participated in by hundreds of millions of participants across seven continents. The entire movement is run out of Singapore.
The Earth Hour lights off is an annual symbolic event that encourages the civic society to go beyond the hour and do their bit for the planet. This year it was observed from 8:30-9:30pm on Saturday, 29 March, and iconic buildings around the city-state such as Marina Bay Sands, ArtScience Museum, Marina Bay Financial Centre, Marina Barrage, Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, Merlion Park, Singapore Flyer, Helix Bridge, The Fullerton Heritage properties and buildings in the Central Business District, turned their lights off in an iconic show of support and commitment for the Earth Hour movement.
Earth Hour this year also coincided with the culmination of Urban Redevelopment Authority’s i Light Marina Bay 2014, Asia’s only sustainable light art festival that showcases innovative content and the intelligent use of lighting, making this year’s celebration a remarkable visual treat.
“To witness Earth Hour in Singapore, the home and heart of this wonderful WWF organised initiative, makes a powerful impression on me. To see the people of this beautiful city-state, stand united in the common purpose of making those adjustments to their lifestyles that will help make deep, meaningful improvements to humanity’s impact on the planet, inspires me,” said WWF Director General Designate Dr. Marco Lambertini , from Singapore.
“As we speak, Earth Hour moves across the globe, following the setting sun, sending billions of people around the world a message that each one of us have the power to make a difference,” he added.
Earlier this year, Spider-Man was declared as the first Super Hero ambassador for Earth Hour with a message to inspire individuals to use their power to become superheroes for the planet. The stars and director of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 had endorsed their support for WWF’s Earth Hour Blue platform, the world’s first crowdfunding platform, to save the planet which aimed to harness the power of the crowd to raise funds and support for on-the-ground environmental projects from across the world.
On Wednesday, 26 March, WWF-Singapore’s crowdfunding project Stop the Killing! on Earth Hour Blue, which aimed to stop animal trafficking in Southeast Asia became the first project in the WWF network that was completely funded by civic society. The project received an overwhelming response on social media from the people of Singapore, and its target of US$20,000 was hit in less than a month. It will help kick-start a 360° effort to tackle wildlife crime and the illegal wildlife trade in Asia and will also provide assistance to wildlife rangers – the true heroes at the frontline of conservation in countries such as Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.
“The collective power of everyone in Singapore and their commitment in going beyond the hour can help drive our cause forward. We have seen that with the success of WWF-Singapore’s crowdfunding project. The journey of sustainable change starts with the adoption of green practices and eventually to ensure Singapore emerges and remains as one of the most livable and responsible global cities in the world,” said Elaine Tan, CEO of WWF-Singapore. “This action proves that when people come together – from individuals, communities and companies, we can make a big difference. Everyone can be the ambassador of sustainability and drive positive change for the planet.”
Singapore’s Earth Hour campaign also stood out uniquely as it ran its on-the-ground campaign with an extensive, parallel new media and digital campaign. The campaign’s hashtag #earthhoursg trended worldwide on 28 March, one day before Earth Hour. A phenomenal achievement for the digital campaign of one of the smallest countries in the world celebrating Earth Hour. The students of Commonwealth Secondary School tweeted their Principal Aaron Loh (#MrLoh) to trend worldwide on the same day, after WWF-Singapore organised a surprise visit of Andrew Garfield and Jamie Foxx to the school.
“From people coming together for the lights out event every year, Earth Hour has positioned itself in the region with a rapidly growing digital presence that has helped power our movement,” said Andy Ridley, CEO and Co-Founder of Earth Hour.
“WWF’s digital campaign ensured that its crowdfunding project, its overall visibility, and the engagement of audiences in Singapore was amplified. The quantum of social media shares, likes and mentions was unprecedented and to us, it is an indicator that support of WWF in the virtual world is as strong as in the real world. Our digital campaign was driving ground level, real time action and support from the people of Singapore in the form of pledges and organisational adoption of the four key actions advocated by WWF-Singapore,” said Sourav Roy, Director of Communications of WWF-Singapore.
Over 600 organisations and landmark properties officially participated in this year’s campaign, which urged people to “Use Your Power” to save the planet. These individuals and companies committed to switching off the lights or to one of the four key actions – turn up their air-conditioners by one degree, switching to LED lights, use less plastic bags, and take shorter showers – so as to make a difference.
The Guest of Honor for this year’s Earth Hour celebrations, Ambassador Burhan Gafoor, Chief Negotiator for Climate Change at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, “I am delighted to know that WWF-Singapore is encouraging the power of the individual, and actively promoting simple lifestyle changes that can make a difference to combat climate change. I hope more Singaporeans will make these lifestyle changes to reduce their carbon footprint not only during Earth Hour but every time that they can.”
As always, this year’s celebrations was made grand by the people participating in it. Approximately 9,000 participants took part in various activities, one of which was dancing on an energy floor platform and generating electricity from it. Over 92,000 joules of energy was produced through this, which was used to power up a display panel. Some of the prominent artists and performers who livened up the celebrations were LuMen Dancers, Superfly Monkey Dragons Parkour group, Invincible Diamonds Cheerleaders, Rose Kasmani, Masia One + Inverse Proportions and DJ Dave Does (Aos), resident DJ from The Butter Factory.
The event’s own carbon footprint was strictly monitored right from the beginning to the end with all efforts put in place to minimise the environmental impact. For instance the event was powered by using recycled cooking oil. WWF also engaged sustainability consultant, Sustain Ability Showcase Asia, to offset the remaining carbon footprint through WWF’s Gold Standard Projects.
Besides the iconic Marina Bay area, other parts of Singapore also switched off for Earth Hour. Home-grown brand NTUC FairPrice turned off all non-essential lights in close to 250 FairPrice stores.
Earth Hour 2014 in Singapore received the support of URA – the official venue partner for The Float@Marina Bay, National Environment Agency (NEA), National Climate Change Secretariat (NCCS) and Marina Bay Sands, the associate partner.
Singapore Post was this year’s major sponsor, while IKEA and NTUC FairPrice, sponsors. Hot FM91.3, Kiss 92 and UFM 100.3 extended support as the official radio stations and Clear Channel, StarHub, SMRT and SMRT Media came onboard as media partners. Other key partners included Energy Floors, Lumenere, The Singapore Scout Association, The Hoffman Agency and VeganBurg. Yahoo! Singapore was Earth Hour 2014’s official online partner.