Darkness aimed to illuminate an issue, that is the thinking behind “Earth Hour”. On Saturday, 19 March 2016 both well-known sights and private households will be flipping their light switches off for a full hour from 8.30 to 9.30 p.m. The action is intended to direct attention to an important topic, namely climate change. For the tenth time the environmental organization WWF is calling on people, companies and cities all over the world to join in. The purpose of Earth Hour is not only to save energy, but also and above all to serve as a reminder that human-induced global warming has been on the rise for years. One in every six animal species is threatened by extinction according to the WWF – because their habitat and consequently their basis for life are changing. “If we don’t take action to reverse the trend, climate change will start killing off species on a global scale”, warns Silke Hahn from WWF Germany, and Earth would lose its beauty and diversity. “In the end humans too will be the ones to suffer, because we are destroying the basis of our own lives.”
Record participation in Germany?
The first Earth Hour took place in 2007. In Sydney, more than two million Australian households turned off the lights and the darkness sent a signal around the globe. One year later as many as 370 cities in 35 countries joined in the effort, distributed over 18 time zones. In 2014 the sights in 7,000 cities were without illumination for one hour: the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, the Colosseum in Rome, the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Because each of the landmarks is plunged into darkness at local time, Earth Hour lasts 24 hours in total. In Germany the WWF is expecting record participation this year. More than 100 cities have announced their participation, from Flensburg in the north to Freiburg in the south, from Aachen in the west to Frankfurt/Oder in the east.
Switching the lights off one time is of course not enough to resolve pressing problems like climate change and species extinction. Earth Hour is a call for each individual to make a contribution to climate protection. “It is precisely the many small decisions in everyday life that have a big impact”, says Silke Hahn. For example, the WWF recommends leaving the car at home whenever possible or eating less meat. And as an added bonus, it would be good for your own health, too.
Earth Hour on 19 March 2016 from 8.30 p.m. until 9.30 p.m. in Germany