CLIMATE: It must be observed by millions of people in 187 countries, who will turn off their lights at the appointed time …
The Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbor Bridge were plunged into darkness this Saturday for the launch of “Planet Hour” (“ Earth Hour”) , an annual campaign around the world to mobilize climate change and for the preservation of nature.
This “Time of the Planet”, the first edition of which had started in Australia in 2007, must be observed by millions of people in 187 countries, which will turn off their lights this Saturday evening at 8.30pm local time.
The event is presented by its organizers as “the biggest movement from the grassroots” for the fight against climate change. “Its goal is to raise awareness about the protection of the environment and wildlife,” says Dermot O’Gorman, an official for Australia of the WWF conservation NGO, which coordinates event around the world.
Individuals are invited to turn off the lights at their homes and light a candle, while many buildings and monuments will be plunged into darkness for an hour around the world, from the Eiffel Tower to Christ the Redeemer Rio through Big Ben, the Kremlin, the Acropolis, the skyscrapers of Hong Kong, the Burj Khalifa Tower in Dubai, St. Peter’s Basilica and Niagara Falls.
The mobilization this year focuses on the effects of climate change on biodiversity and animal or plant species. “More than half of all animal and plant species are threatened with extinction in some of the most naturally biodiverse regions if we continue,” warned Dermot O’Gorman.
A symbol, but not that
Symbolic as it is, “The Hour for the Planet” has in recent years led to successful campaigns to, for example, ban the use of plastic in the Galapagos Islands or plant 17 million trees in Kazakhstan.
Dianna Ali, who was having dinner with her family in Sydney when the lights went out, explained that this initiative enabled her to become more aware of the impact of her lifestyle on the health of the planet. “Since the launch of the Hour for the Planet, I am more aware of the energy I spend. I think … how simple a person can make the difference, “she told AFP.