India joined the Earth Hour movement in 2009, where 5 million Indians across 56 cities showed their support by switching off non essential lights and saving approximately 1000 MW of power in that one hour. Hundreds on educational institutions, 100 top public and private sector organizations, and governments of various cities participated.
The next year registered a 40% increase in participation as 7 million individuals across 125 cities switched off for Earth Hour. In the last three years, the campaign has grown into a national movement supported by individuals, local governments, private and public sector organizations, and institutions. In 2011, individuals across 130 Indian cities participated and committed to a better lifestyle, adhering to the new phase of the going beyond the hour. Over 1,000,000 students joined the movement as young environmentalists. Earth Hour penetrated beyond the urban and educated masses alone, witnessing participation from tier II and III cities, and villages with no access to basic energy requirements.
Local governments and state and city officials inspired citizens to observe Earth Hour leading by example, and switching off lights in State Chief Ministers residents and important landmarks across the state. Reiterating India’s sincere commitment towards environment conservation, for the first time ever, the Rashtrapati Bhawan switched off lights in 2011, so did the Prime Ministers’ residence.
The campaign has been endorsed by well known celebrities like Aamir Khan, Abhishek Bachchan and Vidya Balan, whose support has helped increase outreach significantly.