15. “Earth Hour” – “Lights out” for the climate


From the famous Sydney Opera House to the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Big Ben in London and the Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, there were numerous sights to see.

“The more people participate, the stronger the global signal,” said WWF climate spokeswoman Lisa Plattner to ensure that the home is also kept in the dark. In Austria, the Schönbrunn Palace and Belvedere in Vienna and the Ars Electronica building in Linz have announced their participation, reports WWF Austria for the 15th edition.

Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen also advertised the action on social media on Friday. The presidential office distributed a video showing how Van der Bellen, accompanied by his dog Juli, operates the light switches in the Hofburg. The lights also went out in the town hall for an hour. The European Parliament also turned off the lights in all of its buildings. The “Hour of the Earth” is now being held on all continents in more than 180 countries. More than 7,000 cities worldwide take part, it said.

Political differences were secondary: Russian President Vladimir Putin also had the outside lights in the Kremlin go out for an hour. In New Zealand, which was one of the first countries in time, the WWF had asked the population to participate widely. In Russia, more than 30 cities across the country took part in the campaign. One of the first cities was Vladivostok on the Pacific, about eight hours by plane from Moscow. Russia has eleven time zones and is feeling the effects of rising temperatures around the world with the thawing permafrost in Siberia.

Among other things, the Sky Tower observation and telecommunications tower in Auckland and the parliament building in the capital Wellington were shrouded in darkness in New Zealand. Light-off campaigns were also planned in Australia and Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia and the Philippines. In addition, the Gardens by the Bay park in Singapore, which is one of the highlights of the city-state because of its impressive light spectacle, has confirmed its participation.

In early December, the New Zealand government declared a climate emergency. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern wants to put climate protection even higher on the political agenda and plans, for example, to make the entire public sector climate-neutral by 2025. “More frequent and extreme weather events, rising sea levels and the catastrophic loss of nature and wildlife are causing havoc in our environment and in our own lives,” said WWF New Zealand. “Earth Hour” is an opportunity to demand urgent action.

Today, according to WWF information, “Earth Hour” is the largest global climate and environmental protection campaign. Since 2007, millions of people all over the world have switched off the lights on a certain day in March at 8.30 p.m. local time, thus setting an example for the protection of the planet. Numerous public buildings are also darkened. The starting shot was once fired in the Australian metropolis of Sydney, when around 2.2 million people switched off the lights on March 31, 2007 – and thus made history.

Also this year “Down Under” was one of the first countries in the world after New Zealand to go out. The world famous Sydney Opera House participated for the 14th time in a row. Australia is particularly hard hit by climate change and had only experienced the worst flooding in decades in the past few days.


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