Earth Hour has so far attracted over 1400 cities in over 80 countries. In Sweden, as many as 156 Local Authorities are participating, with Gothenburg and Malmö taking the lead.
Earth hour is supported by both private persons and companies. In Sweden even the milk cartons have gone black to show the support from the Swedish dairy industry.
Many commercial radio channels will stop their broadcasts for the duration of Earth Hour. In Stockholm, many landmarks such as the Castle and the Globe Arena will go dark. But the nation’s capital is not officially taking part. In an interview with Swedish Radio News Ulla Hamilton, City Commissioner for the Environment in Stockholm explained their position.
“We don’t think environmental issues should be made into some ‘one hour publicity stunt’ – these are questions that should be addressed on a daily basis”, said Hamilton.
The shadow Commissioner Yvonne Ruwaida, challenged Hamilton and said that Earth Hour was a marvellous chance to increase awareness of the climate problems, to influence politicians and create debate in society – and that to take Hamilton’s stance was childish and immature.
“It is good if people are aware of climate issues, but in that case they should be aware all the time and not just for one hour on a Saturday night,” Hamilton retorted.
Earth Hour started two years ago in Australia when Sydney went dark. Last year the manifestation attracted 35 countries and 50 million people, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature. This year a billion people are expected to take part – making it the largest worldwide manifestation ever.