Andy Ridley is the CEO and Co-Founder of Earth Hour, the world's largest global environmental movement, which initiated in Sydney, Australia in 2007 as a campaign for action on climate change.
Earth Hour has swept the globe and brought together hundreds of millions of people. In 2011, more than 5200 cities and towns took part in 135 countries across every continent, reaching over 1.8 billion people.
2012 takes the global community beyond the hour by committing to ongoing actions for the planet after they switch off the lights. Extending beyond climate change, Earth Hour has launched a campaign called I Will If You Will, which utilises a dynamic YouTube platform to unite the global community and dare the world to save the planet.
Born in Norwich, England, Andy moved to Sydney in 2002, becoming an Australian citizen in 2009. Prior to settling in Australia, Andy left Norwich - via an honours degree in Modern Studies at Manchester Metropolitan University - for the bright lights of London, where he headed up the special projects team for the Prince's Trust, working on a number of UK charity campaigns including the very successful 'Party in the Park'.
An avid scuba diver, Andy was drawn to Australia by the promise of some of the world's most spectacular coral reefs and marine wildlife sanctuaries. Landing the role as Communications Director with WWF Australia, he worked on major conservation campaigns to protect the Great Barrier Reef, Southern Ocean and Coral Sea, pristine marine wilderness areas threatened by the effects of global warming.
In 2004, inspired by the idea of a campaign to engage everyday people and businesses in the climate change debate through a simple action, Andy initiated a think tank between Leo Burnett and Fairfax Media, forming a partnership to deliver a 'lights out' campaign, which would later become known as Earth Hour.
Andy's vision came to fruition on 31 March 2007, when over two million people and two thousand businesses in Sydney switched off their lights for the inaugural Earth Hour. By 27 March 2010 the open-source nature of the Earth Hour message had swept the globe, with hundreds of millions of people in over 4,500 cities and towns across 128 countries and territories on every continent contributing to the world's greatest ever voluntary action.
In addition to individual support, Earth Hour garnered the backing of businesses, including Google, Blackberry, HSBC, IKEA, Nickelodeon, PwC and many other multinationals. Earth Hour also attracted support from governments at all levels and high profile global ambassadors including UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. In the space of three short years, Andy's inspiration, led by WWF in partnership with Leo Burnett and Fairfax Media, had gone from a one-city initiative to a global phenomenon.
Earth Hour has been supported by hundreds of media support worldwide including international outlets such as TIME Magazine, CNN and the Discovery Channel to help spread Earth Hour's message of hope and action for a better, healthier world to a global audience.s
Earth Hour has also been lauded for its ingenuity, vision and reach, receiving MTV's Good Karma Award, The Gold Banksia Award (Australia's premier environmental honour) and the Cannes Titanium Lion, amongst a host of international accolades.
As one of Tourism Australia's 'Friends of Australia', Andy was recently asked to become an ambassador for the Great Barrier Reef's inclusion in the list of New7Wonders of the world. A fitting title for a natural wonder whose plight helped inspire the inaugural Earth Hour; a movement that now transcends all barriers of race, culture, religion, society, generation and geography to protect and celebrate the one thing that unites all of humanity - the planet.
For more information about Andy Ridley or Earth Hour contact:
Rebecca George, Earth Hour Global, Rebecca@earthhour.org +61 421 988 035