Cities and monuments switch off for Earth Hour

2017-03-25 19:00
A view of Malaysia's landmark Petronas Twin Towers during lights out for Earth Hour in Kuala Lumpur. (Daniel Chan, AP)

A view of Malaysia's landmark Petronas Twin Towers during lights out for Earth Hour in Kuala Lumpur. (Daniel Chan, AP)

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Sydney - Australia's Opera House and Harbour Bridge plunged into darkness on Saturday to mark Earth Hour, as global landmarks began dimming their lights to draw attention to climate change.

Millions of people from about 170 countries and territories are expected to take part in the annual bid to highlight global warming caused by the burning of coal, oil and gas to drive cars and power plants.

The event, which originated in Sydney, has grown to become a worldwide environmental campaign, celebrated across all continents.

Global movement

Conservation group WWF, which organises Earth Hour, said great strides had been made in highlighting the dire state of the planet.

"We started Earth Hour in 2007 to show leaders that climate change was an issue people cared about," said co-ordinator Siddarth Das.

"For that symbolic moment to turn into the global movement it is today, is really humbling and speaks volumes about the powerful role of people in issues that affect their lives."

In Sydney, many harbourside buildings switched off their lights for an hour from 20:30 local time as the call for action began rolling out across the world.

From Australia, it was moving westward through Asia, with many of the skyscrapers ringing Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour going dark in solidarity while at Myanmar's most sacred pagoda, the Shwedagon, 10 000 oil lamps were to be lit to shine a light on climate action.

In Singapore, some 200 organisations, including buildings along the city-state's iconic skyline, went dark to mark the occasion. Organisers said about 35 000 people watched performances and participated in a "carbon-neutral run" which saw some runners in panda and tiger costumes to raise awareness of wildlife protection.

And in Japan, Tokyo's famed Sony Building in Ginza extinguished its bright lights to honour the occasion.

The event will also be marked throughout Africa, Europe and the Americas.

Climate issues

Monuments, including the Empire State Building, the Kremlin, Big Ben, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Eiffel Tower and Egypt's pyramids are all scheduled to switch off.

Lisbon will host a concert by candlelight, Singapore a "carbon-neutral run" and Tanzania will organise a tree-planting ceremony.

WWF said teams around the world would use Earth Hour this year to highlight climate issues most relevant to individual countries.

In South Africa, the focus would be on renewable energy while in China, WWF said it was working with businesses to encourage a shift towards more sustainable lifestyles.

Read more on:    wwf  |  earth hour  |  australia  |  global warming

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