This night in some 7,000 cities in more than 170 countries, people will turn off their lights to mark Earth Hour, an event its organiser, the World Wildlife Fund, claims is the world’s largest voluntary action.
Earth Hour is a worldwide movement organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). The event is held annually encouraging individuals, communities, households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour, from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. towards the end of March, as a symbol for their commitment to the planet. It was started as a lights-off event in Sydney, Australia, in 2007.
Millions of people will participate as homes, cities, hotels, universities and businesses turn off their lights at 8:30 p.m. local time for Earth Hour — a demonstration of commitment to fight climate change now in its 11th year.
Among the places going dark this year: the Empire State Building, the Space Needle, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Colosseum in Rome, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Sydney Opera House and the Eiffel Tower.
“There’s never been a more critical moment in the fight,” said Terry Macko, senior vice president of marketing and communications at World Wildlife Fund.
“Earth Hour is the opportunity to send a message that we remain steadfast in delivering on the goals of the Paris Agreement,” he added, referring to the United Nations climate pact signed last year that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emission and strengthen efforts to respond to climate change.
“Turning off lights for an hour does not affect emissions of greenhouse gases, but is a symbolic gesture,” said Aiguo Dai, a professor in the department of atmospheric and environmental sciences at the University at Albany.
“If all of us can find ways to save energy and reduce consumption of fossil fuel, then it will significantly reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases, and that could slow down global warming,” he said. “If that still won’t be enough, we need to develop new sources of green energy and move away from fossil fuel.”
The impact has been stark. Eight of the 10 hottest years ever recorded have all occurred since 2007. Last year smashed all previous records, pushing Earth systems into what the World Meteorological Organisation this week called “truly uncharted territory”.
“If homo sapiens really has the wit and ambition to survive this century, from here on every hour has to be Earth Hour.”
Last year, Earth Hour took place between 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm, local time, on Saturday March 19. In 2017, it will be held from 8:30 pm and 9: 30 pm on Saturday, March 25.
Here are some tips from the World Wildlife Fund on how to spend your hour in the dark:
- Burn calories by doing a candlelight workout with friends.
- Spot the landmarks around you that participate in Earth Hour.
- Make art in the dark with your friends and share a good laugh when the lights turn back on revealing the masterpiece.
- Host a candlelight dinner party with family and friends.
- Look at the stars.
- Commit to reducing your carbon footprint.