5 Amazing Initiatives That Started in Australia

Inspiring movements that began Down Under and then set off to change the world.

Sydney Opera House Earth Hour

The Sydney Opera House goes green for Earth Hour (max blain / Shutterstock.com)

Inspiring grassroots initiatives pop up every day, in every corner of the earth. They are sparked by empowered, motivated people who want to make the world a better place. These shining individuals create campaigns that bring important health issues to the public eye, raise funds for people in need, and work tirelessly to protect the environment.
The advent of social media and a highly-connected global culture has helped such campaigns cross oceans and national borders, cultures and economic differences - to spread positive messages all over the world.
Even from all the way Down Under. Like Neighbours and Vegemite before them, these five initiatives started in Australia and then spread around the world as they grew in popularity and scope.


By challenging men to grow moustaches during the month of November, the Movember Foundation raises funds and awareness for men’s health issues.
STARTED: Melbourne, 2003.
GLOBAL IMPACT: By 2014, over four million participants helped raise some $580 million for the cause. The foundation runs official campaigns in 21 countries, along with rogue pockets of support in dozens of other locations. The campaign has been particularly successful on social media, relying on organic word-of-mouth posts to spread the message.
WEBSITE: http://www.movember.com 


In an effort to unite people to take care of the planet, Earth Hour is an environmental movement centered around a once-a-year lights off event.
STARTED: Sydney, 2007.
GLOBAL IMPACT: In 2015, Earth Hour was marked in 172 countries and territories around the world. Among them, over 7,000 iconic landmarks powered down for 60 minutes, such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Big Ben in London and Times Square in New York. The movement also works towards environmental goals year-round, lobbying for legislative changes and educating the masses on climate change.
WEBSITE: http://www.earthhour.org


Everyday Hero is a fundraising platform that encourages people to do good however they can, giving a beautifully-designed visual representation of the time, money and effort going towards a particular cause.
STARTED: Australia-wide, 2007
GLOBAL IMPACT: Since its Australian launch eight years ago, Everyday Hero has grown grown into an international movement helping over half a million people all do good for the causes they love and support.
WEBSITE: https://www.everydayhero.com/us


Clean Up the World is a global environmental campaign, which empowers communities to clean up, fix up and conserve the planet.
STARTED: Sydney, 1989
GLOBAL IMPACT: Clean Up the World began as Clean Up Sydney Harbour Day, which saw 40,000 volunteers spending a sunny day in 1989 picking up trash from the center of the beautiful waterside city. The following year, some 300,000 people got together to clean up the entire country, and three years later it went global, with the support of the United Nations Environment Program. Celebrating its 22nd year in 2015, Clean Up the World brings together an estimated 35 million volunteers from 130 countries annually.
WEBSITE: http://www.cleanuptheworld.org/


Like Movember, Beard Season asks male participants to grow facial hair - but this initiative encourages participants and their friends and family to book a skin check for melanoma.
STARTED: Sydney, 2013
GLOBAL IMPACT: Founded in memory of 26-year-old skin cancer victim Wes Bonny by a group of his friends, Beard Season has made its way around the world in less than two years. Thousands of people post photos of their “fine field of facial follicles” to the movement’s Facebook page, and the website provides details of clinics around the world that provide skin checks.
WEBSITE: http://www.beardseason.com