Beyond the Hour: Earth Hour City Challenge For A Low Carbon Economy

Founded in Sweden to celebrate Earth Hour 2011, the Earth Hour City Challenge initiative has been created to celebrate cities that are taking amazing steps forward in creating a greener, cleaner and more sustainable city to live and inspiring other cities to do the same.

Hundreds of millions of people, businesses and governments around the world unite each year to support the largest environmental event in history – Earth Hour. But do you think we need more than one hour of engagement to save the world?

The Earth Hour City Challenge aims to fulfill this need for continued engagement. Cities in Canada, India, Italy, Sweden and the United States will be invited this year to participate in an Earth Hour City Challenge, urging them to take a leadership role in the global transition towards a low-carbon economy.

“Cities currently account for over 70 per cent of global CO2 emissions – so their leadership in reducing emissions will be crucial if we are to avoid escalating levels of climate change” said Jim Leape, Director General of WWF International.

“But there are exciting opportunities for cities that approach this challenge with creativity and determination. Cities can be hotspots for innovations that help people lead more fulfilling lives with much lower carbon footprints. The Earth Hour City Challenge aims to highlight these examples, and the leading role cities around the world can and must play in transitioning towards a one-planet future.”

At the Earth Hour City Challenge pilot last year, Sweden’s third largest city Malmö took top honors, identified as an inspiring example of how a city can demonstrate low-carbon urban development. Malmö has achieved this through consistent and long-term planning, a comprehensive approach to energy, construction, transportation and density and by promoting enabling environments for innovation and sustainable lifestyles.

Malmö will now challenge cities in selected pilot countries for the title in 2013. Cities are invited to submit inspiring and credible plans for low-carbon development and for dramatically increasing the use of sustainable, efficient and renewable energy solutions for review by an international jury.

The jury will place particular emphasis on how the cities plan to meet people’s everyday needs (for buildings, transport, energy) in a renewable future, rewarding solutions that can make cities greener and cleaner places to live while improving citizens’ quality of life. Once reporting closes on November 19, the international jury will select five national champions and one Global Earth Hour Capital of the year to be announced to the world in March 2013.

About the Author

Hi there! I am Priti and I specialize in strategy and communications for impact organizations that aim to create social, environmental and economic wealth for all stakeholders. Working from the ground up, I help these do-gooders craft effective programs for community engagement, outreach and profitability. Follow my work covering do-gooders, cleanweb, start-ups and Web 2.0 businesses on Ecopreneurist and at Crowdsourcing Week. I enjoy traveling with my boys, cooking up a gourmet meal from scratch and entertaining! Join my community for Social Entrepreneurs on G+ Follow me on Twitter, on LinkedIn and Google+