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Friday, September 22, 2023

Amid Covid-19 restrictions, Earth Hour turns lights off for climate

In spite of  coronavirus restrictions, people around the world marked Earth Hour on Saturday, March 28, 2020 by switching off lights on both landmark buildings and in regular homes for an hour to boost awareness of climate change.

Earth Hour
Lights dimmed at UN Headquarters, in New York, to observe Earth Hour in 2017. Photo credit: UN Photo/Evan Schneider

The initiative, started by environmental group the WWF in 2007, asks people, companies and local authorities to turn off lights for one hour from 8:30 pm local time in their town or city.

The day kicked off in the Pacific with the lights going off in New Zealand, followed by Fiji and Australia.

In New Zealand’s Auckland, the Sky Tower went dark, while in Palmerston North, environment group Extinction Rebellion’s local branch hosted an event in which people brought candles, solar lights, torches and drums.

In Australia, Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge both turned their lights off.

Photos and videos were shared on social media, but the buzz was somewhat dampened by lockdowns in connection with the international coronavirus pandemic.

People also took part in German towns and cities.

The lights were shut off for an hour at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.

It also went dark at Cologne Cathedral and the Frauenkirche in Munich, among many other sites, WWF said. Many people also participated at home and switched off the lights there.

According to WWF, more than 100 landmarks from across the world switched off to show their support for Earth Hour.

These include the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, Tokyo’s Skytree, the Colosseum in Rome, the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, among others.

In the U.S., the Empire State Building in New York City was one of the main landmarks to take part, according to a WWF statement.

WWF-Australia hosted a live-stream on YouTube and various other social media platforms in which Australian comedians and artists, including Cody Simpson and Montaigne, performed from their own homes.

“Staying connected as a community and looking for positive ways we can contribute is more important than ever as the world responds to the coronavirus crisis,” said WWF-Australia’s chief executive Dermot O’Gorman.

Organisers decided to go ahead with the Earth Hour despite the world being in such flux due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, all the official public events were cancelled to prioritise community safety rules.

In order to comply with lockdown restrictions, the WWF suggested activities at home, such as playing games by candlelight.

Coincidentally, lockdowns across the globe have led to a reduction in pollution. 

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