Global warming

World cities switch off lights to mark Earth Hour

Monuments in Paris and worldwide will switch off lights tonight for Earth Hour.
Monuments in Paris and worldwide will switch off lights tonight for Earth Hour. AFP PHOTO BERTRAND LANGLOIS

Earth Hour, one of the world's most symbolic events in the struggle against climate change, returns on Saturday 27 March. In Paris and some 7,000 cities across 150 countries worldwide, iconic monuments, companies and citizens will turn off their lights to raise awareness about the sombre future facing the planet.

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This year's 15th edition of Earth Hour is dedicated to the world's forests.

Originally started by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Australia as a one-off event on 31 March 2007, it was repeated by the city of San Francisco in October of the same year. The following year, participation had grown to 35 countries and 400 cities. Google turned its search engine homepage "dark" for the day. 

Today, WWF asks the entire civil society, from citizens to companies to reflect on how precious our planet is and how vital it is to protect it.

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the series of lockdowns that have followed, Earth Hour has a new look: no big gatherings are planned near national monuments, but people can follow events online via the #Connect2Earth hashtag on Twitter.

Virtual darkness

People can virtually switch off lights during online events, such as on the Earth Hour Paris website, where web users can make a gesture of solidarity by turning one of the Eiffel Tower lamps off.

This year, a total of 154 countries join the movement. Lights are turned of on the Eiffel Tower in Paris, New York's Empire State Building, the Gizeh pyramids, Rome’s Coliseum, Rio’s Christ the Redeemer, Athena’s Acropolis, the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai, the Forbidden City in Beijing and others. 

The Earth Hour dark wave will move across the planet as it is marked at 20:30 local time in participating countries.

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