Sustainability Blog

The Hour the Earth Stands Still in 2022

By Apurva Gosalia - Mar 25, 2022

In the 1951 classic science fiction film The Day the Earth Stood Still, an alien comes to Earth to deliver a warning to mankind – mankind must stop developing atomic weapons. Otherwise, the alien threatens, the planet will be obliterated.

As a harmless yet impressive demonstration of his extra-terrestrial power, the next day, starting at noon in Washington D.C., the alien shuts down all non-essential electrical equipment on Earth for half an hour.

The film, based on the short story Farewell to the Master by Harry Bates, is considered a classic of its genre. Set in the early stages of the Cold War and the nuclear arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union, the film encapsulates the paranoia and fear of the age.

Now you may ask yourselves, is there a connection between science fiction and science fact and sustainability? Well, of course there is! Tomorrow, Saturday, March 26, is Earth Hour!

Earth Hour is a worldwide climate and environmental protection campaign in the form of switching off public lighting. It was launched in 2007 by WWF Australia and has been held every March since then. The goal of Earth Hour is to draw public attention to climate protection.

The first action’s goal was to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in Sydney, Australia’s largest city, by 5% within a year. At the time, Australia was one of the countries with the highest per capita CO2 emissions and had not signed the Kyoto Protocol until the 13th UN Climate Change Conference in Bali. 

>Read more about the United Nations and climate change here.

Australians were beginning to pay heed to climate change after a succession of droughts and forest fires. The issue was so significant that it was part of the 2007 general election campaign. Scientific forecasts, for example the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report, also attracted attention.

Earth Hour marked the beginning of WWF Australia’s CO2 campaign. On March 31, 2007, turning off the lights between 19.30 and 20.00 local time drew attention to the waste of energy caused by unnecessary lighting and other electricity use. Earth Hour 2007 received widespread global attention and evolved into a global event, starting in 2008. It has been repeated yearly on the last Saturday of March ever since.

Earth Hour 2022 on March 26 begins at 15.30 in D.C. (20.30 CET). On it is called “the most important ever” because of the focus on the second, “crucial” part of the 15th United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity Conference of the Parties taking place from April 25 to May 8 this year in Kunming, China, where a new 10-year plan for the conservation of global biodiversity is to be adopted. At the same time, “nature” is described as one of the “most important partners” in the fight against man-made global warming and for halting the 1.5 degree Celsius Paris Agreement target.

Earth Hour 2022 is open-source and welcomes everyone to take part and help disseminate its mission and impact and recommends to businesses the top five things they can do to shape the future.

The Day the Earth Stood Still is set 70 years ago, amid growing hostilities between what were allies only six years before. Now, with a hot war between old allies Ukraine and Russia entering its second month, it feels as if the Earth is standing still again. 

Earth Hour 2022 can be a universal signal for climate protection but also for peace in Ukraine, Europe and the whole world.


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