Earth Hour: People's Insights Vol. 2 Issue 7


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This week, we distill insights around Earth Hour - a global movement that mobilizes people to show their support for the environment by switching off their lights for one hour every year.

100+ thinkers and planners within MSLGROUP share and discuss inspiring projects on social data, crowdsourcing, storytelling and citizenship on the MSLGROUP Insights Network.

Every week, we pick up one project and do a deep dive into conversations around it -- on the MSLGROUP Insights Network itself but also on the broader social web -- to distill insights and foresights. We share these insights and foresights with you on our People’s Insights blog and compile the best insights from the network and the blog in the iPad-friendly People’s Lab Quarterly Magazine, as a showcase of our capabilities.

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Earth Hour: People's Insights Vol. 2 Issue 7

  1. 1. crowdsourcing | storytelling | citizenship | social dataPeople’s Insights Volume 2, Issue 7Earth Hour
  2. 2. People’s Insights100+ thinkers and planners within MSL- In 2013, we continue to track inspiringGROUP share and discuss inspiring proj- projects at the intersection of social data,ects on social data, crowdsourcing, story- crowdsourcing and storytelling, with a fo-telling and citizenship on the MSLGROUP cus on projects that are shaping the FutureInsights Network. Every week, we pick up of project and curate the conversations Do subscribe to receive our weekly insightsaround it — on the MSLGROUP Insights reports, quarterly magazines, and annualNetwork itself but also on the broader reports, and do share your tips and com-social web — into a weekly insights report. ments with us at @PeoplesLab on Twitter.Every quarter, we compile these insights,along with original research and insightsfrom the MSLGROUP global network, intothe People’s Insights Quarterly Magazine.We have synthesized the insights from ouryear-long endeavor throughout 2012 toprovide foresights for business leaders andchangemakers — in the ten-part People’sInsights Annual Report titled Now & Next:Ten Frontiers for the Future of Engage-ment. People’s Insights People’s Insights People’s Insights weekly report quarterly magazines Annual Report Volume 2, Issue 7, Future of Earth Hour January - March, 2013 Citizenship
  3. 3. What is Earth Hour?Earth Hour is a global movement that mobilizes “the world’s largest movement for the planet.”people to show their support for the environment Now, Earth Hour strives to go beyond one hourby switching off their lights for one hour every and drive meaningful change – both as a naturalyear. Organized by WWF, the movement began evolution of the movement as well as a responsein Sydney in 2007 and has since spread to 7,000 to the rising cynicism and criticism it faces.cities & towns in 150 countries & territories.An editorial in the Philippines Daily Inquirier Building Scalementions: Local chapters of WWF lead the efforts to introduce Earth Hour into more cities and towns,“First held in 2007, Earth Hour has grown from a partner with local authorities and organize Earthcitywide activity in Sydney, Australia, to a worldwide Hour events. The movement also carves out aevent held every March to cut power consumption role for individuals and organizations. Peopleand highlight the need to raise awareness of can volunteer as Earth Hour organizers, write toclimate change and the dangers everyone faces… local authorities to support the cause, introduce“Earth Hour has happily become a public-private Earth Hour within their schools work placespartnership, with individual and corporate entities and communities, and spread the world withas well as government agencies taking part in the posters, online banners and email signatures.collective action.” And, organizations are encouraged to participate, share their story and partner or sponsor events. People, celebrities and organizations have marked their commitment for Earth Hour in diverse ways and helped build the profile of the movement. For instance, Google turned its homepage black during Earth Hour 2008. National Geographic Asia and Cartoon Network suspended programming during Earth hour 2010. Celebrity activists and ambassadors spread the word amongst their vast following on social media. And in 2013, astronautSource: Earth Hour 2013 Official Video Chris Hadfield contributed to the buzz by tweetingIn its seven years, Earth Hour has achieved photos of cities before and after Earth Hour fromtremendous scale and is widely regarded as the outer space.Source: 3
  4. 4. Source: or Women’s Day, and participate to engage with their audience. Source: In addition to grassroots efforts, local chapters of WWF usually organize concerts and screenings around the event, and local campaigns such as encouraging Singaporean government agencies to turn up thermostats by one degree, and giving away a solar power system to an AustralianSource: community that pledges to switch to renewable energy. Blogger Anna Rudenko shares:People, organizations and local leadersparticipated to mark their solidarity for the “WWF Canada is doing its part by writing the firstenvironment and commitment to sustainable crowd-sourced anthem for Earth Hour—creativeliving. As Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje minds are invited to create lyrics for the songs,commented: which will express their deep love for the planet and explain why we should take care of it.”“Earth Hour is another way to highlight AnnArbor’s commitment to reduce our reliance on Globally, Earth Hour encourages participatingfossil fuels and raise awareness on how citizens cities to switch off lights at prominent landmarks,and government play a part in addressing climate and has recently launched I Will if You Will andchange.” Earth Hour City Challenge to increase reach and inspire commitments beyond one hour.Organizations also seem to view Earth Hour asother established days, such as Valentine’s Day Volume 2, Issue 7, Future of Earth Hour January - March, 2013 Citizenship
  5. 5. Source: How To Upload an ‘I Will If You Will’ challengeSource: Earth Hour City ChallengeI Will if You Will Launched in 2011, the annual Earth Hour City Challenge invites cities to compete for the titleLaunched in 2011, I Will if You Will is a platform Earth Hour Capital. Cities submit developmentthat enables people, celebrities and brands to plans that show their commitment to switchingrally their networks around the cause in a fun way. to renewable energy and an international teamAs Duncan Macleod, editor of The Inspiration of judges selects a winner. Winning cities gainRoom, summarizes: access to technical assistance and financial“The IWIYW campaign uses the Earth Hour grants.YouTube channel to encourage people to share Linda Nowlan noted:personal dares with the world, by asking “What areyou willing to do to save the planet?” The concept “With more than 70 per cent of the world’s CO2of the campaign is based on a social contract for emissions generated by cities, the Earth Hourtwo parties – connecting one person, business or City Challenge is designed to mobilize action andorganization to a promise and their friends, family, support from cities in the global transition toward aor customers to a challenge.” climate-friendly future.” Source: Cities also compete for a People’s Choice Award,Earth Hour encourages people to upload their based on public voting. People can vote byown I Will challenges and lets them choose clicking on a button, sharing a photo of their cityfrom nine You Will challenges, thereby retaining on Instagram or by posting a suggestion on howcontrol and ensuring meaningful challenges are the city can become more sustainable.proposed. The You Will challenges are also a funway to show people what they can do beyondlimiting their electricity usage. Source: 5
  6. 6. Cynicism and controversyWhile both I Will if You Will and the City right, then reassuring people that all they need to isChallenge are designed to encourage cities, turn off a switch is deeply disorienting.”organizations and people to go beyond the one Bjørn Lomborg, author of The Skepticalhour, the overall movement is still associated Environmentalist, recently published the articlemainly with the one hour lights off. The Earth Earth Hour Is a Colossal Waste of Time—andHour FAQ maintains this positioning: Energy, in which he calls for more attention“Earth Hour does not purport to be an energy/ on real solutions to global warming and lesscarbon reduction exercise, it is a symbolic action.” trivialization of the issue:Blogger Jeff Sparrow points out that this opens “[Earth Hour’s] vain symbolism revealsthe doors for criticism: exactly what is wrong with today’s feel-good environmentalism. Advertisement Earth Hour“The problem, then, with purely symbolic actions like teaches us that tackling global warming is easy.”Earth Hour is that they might actually foster cynicismmore than dispel it. Spratt, for instance, argues that The article has been shared 26,500 times, hasonly a mobilization on the scale we saw during the rallied together Earth Hour skeptics and hasSecond World War will make any difference. If that’s sparked a debate around the role of Earth Hour.Source: slate.comCriticism around the movement echoes the concerns people have raised around slacktivism andmovements such as Kony2012. Gordon Hinds commented:“We have a habit of doing faddish things that we Indeed, Earth Hour seems to have enteredfeel make a difference and make us emotionally what social activist Bill Moyer terms “Stage 5:satisfied that we belong to some sort of like minded Movement Identity Crisis” in his “Eight Stages ofcommunity, but the brutal reality is that nothing Successful Social Movements,” where activistsactually is achieved at all.” expect rapid success and often feel hopelessness and burn out:Several people argue otherwise, that large scaleacts of solidarity are crucial to bringing climate “The problem, however, is not that the movementchange back into the limelight. Rupp Carriveau, has failed to achieve its goals, but that expectationsa professor at University of Windsor who that its goal could possibly be achieved in such aspecializes in clean energy tech, commented: short time were unrealistic.”“For the purists — yes, I can understand theargument against [Earth Hour]. But I still thinkthat, in the big picture, it makes sense to unplugpeople for a while and have them think about it.” Volume 2, Issue 7, Future of Earth Hour January - March, 2013 Citizenship
  7. 7. Movements need to stay authentic– and relevantBuilding awareness is a crucial step for a Jeremy Heimans, co-founder of,movement, but today’s audience demands and recently, believesmeaningful action and real change. that movements are for the long term, and must build with time:Marketer Adam Ferrier’s reflection on theKony2012 campaign holds true for Earth Hour as “It’s all about the simplest action rather thanwell: creating some big, grand plan. Don’t make it too hard for people to participate. Invite participation,“Through social media and the wisdom of the but don’t require a huge commitment upfront. It’scrowds everything that’s based on image, and also important to build people up over time, takinglacking in substance gets torn apart.” bigger and bigger actions.” In addition to more meaningful actions, more accountability and measurement are also key for a movement of this size. Nidhi Makhija, member of the MSLGROUP Insights Network, believes that data can play a larger role here: “Earth Hour has launched several initiatives that are driving real change – the Earth Hour Forest in Uganda, and the I Will if You Will petition to pass an environment protection law in Russia. Now, Earth Hour needs to start measuring the impact of these large scale actions and giving people ways to measure the impact of their individual actions. Companies like Opower and Green Bean RecycleSource: are already using data to drive behavioral change.” (Earth Hour took place from 8:30pm to 9:30pm on March 23, 2013.) 7
  8. 8. People’s Lab:Crowdsourcing Innovation & InsightsPeople’s Lab is MSLGROUP’s proprietary comment on other people’s content andcrowdsourcing platform and approach that collaborate to find innovative solutions.helps organizations tap into people’s insights forinnovation, storytelling and change. The People’s Lab crowdsourcing platform and approach forms the core of our distinctiveThe People’s Lab crowdsourcing platform insights and foresight approach, which consistshelps organizations build and nurture public of four elements: organic conversation analysis,or private, web or mobile, hosted or white MSLGROUP’s own insight communities, client-label communities around four pre-configured specific insights communities, and ethnographicapplication areas: Expertise Request Network, deep dives into these communities. The People’sInnovation Challenge Network, Research & Insights Quarterly Magazines showcase ourInsights Network and Contest & Activation capability in crowdsourcing and analyzingNetwork. Our community and gaming features insights from conversations and communities.encourage people to share rich content, vote/ Learn more about us at: |
  9. 9. For People’s Lab solutions,