The lights will go out around the world at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday night to celebrate the tenth annual Planet Earth Hour and to remember the need to take action against climate change as a result of the combustion of coal, oil and gases from cars and power plants.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) initiative started in Australia in 2007 as a gesture against man-made carbon dioxide emissions. In 2017, it will consist of turning off electric lights for one hour in 7,000 cities in 172 countries at 8:30 a.m. to highlight the need to act on climate change and save a few megawatts of energy in the process.
While Earth Hour organizers said they did not audit the initiative’s energy-saving results, the group has commissioned an investigation which indicated that up to one in four Australians participates. WWF says that Earth Hour can accredit several environmental initiatives, such as the declaration of a marine park of 3.4 million hectares in Argentine waters, the planting of a forest in Uganda and the ban on soft plastics in the Galapagos Islands.
The first edition, ten years ago, took place only in the Australian capital, WWF recalled. “We launched Earth Hour in 2007 to show leaders that citizens were concerned about climate change,” said Siddarth Das, director of the initiative.
“That symbolic moment is now a worldwide movement. It’s really humble and says a lot about the powerful role people play in the issues that affect their lives,” he added. In this edition, at 20:30 local time, all kinds of activities will take place in other cities: a concert with candles in Lisbon, tree planting in Tanzania, and as it is traditional, many monuments will turn off its lights: the Empire State Building, the Egyptian pyramids, the Kremlin, the Acropolis of Athens, the Alhambra of Granada, etc.