Over 4,000 cities to go dark during Earth Hour

More than 4,000 cities from 131 countries and about 750 major landmarks will turn off their lights during the global Earth Hour event on Saturday, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said on Friday.

Earth Hour is organized annually on the last Saturday of March by the WWF. The initiative traces its origin back to Australia in 2007 when businesses and residents in Sydney turned off their lights for one hour to make a statement about energy use and global warming. Four years later, it is the largest voluntary event in history.

“Earth Hour is your chance to vote for Earth by shutting down your lights between 8:30pm and 9:30pm your local time,” the WWF website reads.

Moscow, Geneva, Budapest, Berlin, Rome, Barcelona, Helsinki, Oslo, Madrid, Paris, London, Amsterdam and Vienna are some of the European cities that will turn off nonessential lighting in the name of sustainability. In Asia, Bangkok, Singapore, Mumbai, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Seoul, New Delhi, Auckland and Shanghai will support the WWF’s initiative. In North America, Toronto, Vancouver, New York and Chicago are among those that will go dark; in the South, cities including Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Santiago, Sao Paulo, Valparaiso will take part, and even Davis research station in Antarctica will turn off its lights.

“This year Earth Hour asks people to commit to the event, big or small, for the coming year, taking Earth Hour beyond the hour,” said Andy Ridley, cofounder and executive director of Earth Hour. Cities participating in the global initiative will not just switch off their electricity, but will also plant greenery and install LED street lamps.

Among the cities taking part in Earth Hour 2011, many have already committed to taking action beyond the hour. In Sydney, plans are in the works to switch to LED lights in parks and streets. Medellin, Colombia, has committed to long-term water protection and tree planting initiatives to go “beyond 60 minutes,” WWF said.

MOSCOW, March 25 (RIA Novosti)

Leave a comment