10 facts you didn't know about Earth Hour, and how you can get involved

Mark your calendars for Saturday 25th March at 8.30pm.

Earth Hour 2023
(Image credit: Future)

Pssst: it's Earth Hour today (Saturday 25th March), a global movement orgainsed by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) charity.

Held once a year, its aim is to encourage the world to turn off all non-essential electric lights for an hour. The task really is simple: to dim your bulbs between 8.30pm and 9.30pm to mark your commitment to the planet.

Fun fact: more than 385,000 people across 175 countries will be taking part.

And in the meantime - keep reading for ten facts you didn't know about Earth Hour, plus a bit more about what the hour marks and the all-important reasons you should get involved.

Don't miss our guides to Earth Day, B Corp brands, and how to spot greenwashing, while you're here.

Earth Hour 2023: 10 need-to-knows

What is Earth Hour?

According to the WWF website, Earth Hour is a global sustainability movement. "Millions of people around the world switch off their lights to show they care about the future of our planet – our shared home," they share.

"Joining Earth Hour’s switch-off reminds us that even small actions can make a big difference."

"When we make changes in our own lives, and when we share that with others, we also inspire the people around us to change – and we help grow a movement that businesses and governments can’t ignore," they conclude.

Why is Earth Hour important?

Now, more than ever, we all need to be living more sustainably. It's an absolutely crucial decade for climate and nature action, and by marking your commitment this Earth Hour, you take one step closer to making a lasting change.

Only last week, a final IPCC report gave a "final warning" on reversing climate change before the damage becomes irreversible. 

So, will you do your bit?

10 facts you didn't know about Earth Hour

1. It began in 2007

Earth Hour first began life in Sydney back in 2007. That year, 2.2 million homes across the city turned off their lights.

2. It expanded internationally in 2008

The World Wide Fund for Nature (previously known as the World Wildlife Fund) charity noticed Sydney's efforts and expanded the movement internationally the year after, in 2008.

3. Famous landmarks take part

It's not just homes that make the effort to mark Earth Hour - businesses and famous landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower, Sydney's Opera House, the Empire State Building, The Great Pyramids, the Burj Khalifa, Big Ben, and the Colosseum take part, too.

4. The aim is simple - save our planet

Earth Hour isn't just about switching off lights, either. The aim of the awareness hour is to switch off any unnecessary lights, plugs and sockets and watch the impact worldwide.

5. There's an Earth Hour Forest, too

In 2013, the Ugandan WWF branch bought the world’s first Earth Hour Forest in an attempt to combat current deforestation rates. As of 2021, the charity had protected over 2,700 hectares of land and aims to repopulate it with 500,000 trees.

A photo posted by on

6. The theme of this year is impactful change

The theme of this year's Earth Hour? "Reduce, Reuse, Change the Way We Live." 

This comes as global warming only continues to accelerate at a rate much faster than originally predicted. 

7. It really helps

Fun fact: switching the lights off really does make a difference. In 2020, the Philippines reduced their electricity consumption during Earth Hour by 611MWh. That roughly translates to the same amount of energy that twelve coal-fired power plants use in an hour.

8. The logo's pretty neat

Ever seen the Earth Hour logo? It's got the number 60 on it, symbolising the 60 minutes Earth Hour asks you to switch your lights off for. Their new logo has a plus sign too, representing the "commitment to continue to do positive eco-acts that go beyond Earth Hour," they share.

9. This year looks set to be the biggest ever

As scientists continue to stress that we'll likely surpass the Paris Agreement 1.5 degrees global warming cap in 2030, Earth Hour are taking things up a notch, with this year set to be bigger and better than ever.

Their aim is to create the Biggest Hour for Earth ever. How? "By calling on our supporters across the globe to switch off their lights and give an hour for Earth, spending 60 minutes doing something - anything - positive for our planet," their website states. 

10. It's held in March for a reason

Finally, Earth Hour is held annually in late March every year. Wondering why? Well, it's to make sure the Spring and Autumn equinoxes coincide in the northern and southern hemispheres. In other words, it's held when the sun is setting at around about the same time all over the world - and when an event that asks the world to switch out its lights will be most powerful.

Research by Elli Collins 

Ally Head
Health, Sustainability and Relationships Editor

Ally Head is Marie Claire UK's Health, Sustainability, and Relationships Editor, eight-time marathoner, and Boston Qualifying runner. Day-to-day, she works across site strategy, features, and e-commerce, reporting on the latest health updates, writing the must-read health and wellness content, and rounding up the genuinely sustainable and squat-proof gym leggings worth *adding to basket*. She regularly hosts panels and presents for things like the MC Sustainability Awards, has an Optimum Nutrition qualification, and saw nine million total impressions on the January 2023 Wellness Issue she oversaw, with health page views up 98% year on year, too. Follow Ally on Instagram for more or get in touch.