World plunges in dark for 'Earth Hour'
Sydney, March 23, 2013
The United Nations will join hundreds of millions of people across some 150 countries tonight (March 23) as they turn off their lights for 60 minutes - at 8:30pm local time - in a symbolic show of support for the planet.
Earth Hour was conceptualized by the World Wide Fund for Nature as an annual event for encouraging homes and businesses to turn off their lights for one hour to raise awareness on climate change.
This year's edition will be held on March 23, 2013 from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. local time with the expected participation of over 7,000 cities around the globe.
Sydney's skyline plunged into darkness on Saturday as the city cut its lights for the "Earth Hour" campaign against climate change, kicking off an event which will travel around the globe.
Many of the world's most iconic attractions, including the Empire State Building and Russia's Kremlin building will take part.
Sydney cut its lights at 0930 GMT to applause and cheers from a small crowd gathered to watch the skyline dim and to see the Sydney Opera House turn a deep green to symbolise renewable energy.
"It's really exciting," said Sydneysider Jessica Bellamy.
"It's been a very inspiring night because it's all about hope and change."
Last year more than 150 countries participated in the event which saw some of the world's most iconic landmarks dim, and this year the movement has spread to Palestine, Tunisia, Suriname and Rwanda.
In Australia, where Earth Hour originated with an appeal to people and businesses to turn off their lights for an hour to raise awareness about carbon pollution, the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge were among the first sites to participate globally.
"What started as an event in Sydney in 2007 with two million people has now become a tradition across the country and across the world," said Dermot O'Gorman, head of WWF-Australia.
"It's now an organic, people-powered movement... which is fantastic."
Newcomers to be plunged into darkness include Copenhagen's Little Mermaid, the statue of David in Florence and Cape Town's Table Mountain.
"I think the power of Earth Hour is in its ability to connect people and connect them on an issue that they really care about which is the environment," said O'Gorman as the city stood in darkness.
"Earth Hour shows that there are millions of people around the world who also want to do something."
With restaurant diners eating by candlelight, Outback communities going dark and iconic buildings standing in shadows, O'Gorman believes Earth Hour has played a part in drawing attention to energy use.-TradeArabia News Service