“Earth Hour” started in many parts of the world

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A symbol for climate protection: around the world, lights were switched off for an hour in homes and at famous buildings on Saturday evening. In Germany, among other things, the Brandenburg Gate was in the dark for an hour from 20:30. With the “Earth Hour,” the environmental foundation WWF sets a sign for more climate protection every year.

Numerous cities in more than 100 countries participated in the 17th “Earth Hour” under the motto “Together for more climate protection.” In Germany, more than 550 cities have registered for the action, which starts at 8:30 p.m. local time, according to WWF. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who has strongly advocated climate protection for years, called for participation. The event is a reminder that “everyone can do their part,” Guterres wrote on Twitter.

The city of Vienna also called for participation. Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler (Greens) showed up in a video on Twitter dressed as a building technician undercover on an “energy-saving mission” at the ministry.

WWF Austria additionally announced a public painting action in Vienna-Neubau at the Platz der Menschenrechte on Mariahilfer Straße under the motto “Renaturieren statt Betonieren.” “Lights out!” is then called from 20.30 to 21.30. “The destruction of nature is reaching dramatic proportions worldwide – our Earth urgently needs a time-out,” said Joschka Brangs, spokesman for biodiversity at WWF Austria. In this context, the NGO pointed out that of eight million species worldwide, up to one million are threatened with extinction. He said that high soil consumption was particularly weighing on the last remaining natural areas in Austria.

“Landmarks like Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin or the statue of Christ in Rio de Janeiro are again symbolically turning off the lights. Apart from that, this year we are calling on all people worldwide to take action themselves and create awareness for the long-term protection of nature,” Brangs said, wishing that it would not remain just with the symbolic turning off of lights. Millions of people in more than 190 countries will again participate this year.

In addition, people should become active on “Earth Hour” day: “Give the Earth an hour and do something – anything – positive for our planet for 60 minutes,” wrote WWF International. Examples included reconnecting with nature outdoors, picking up trash on a beach, planting a tree, shopping plastic-free or watching a documentary about climate change and biodiversity loss.

Hours before the action began in Central Europe, the lights had gone elsewhere. In New Zealand, the Sky Tower observation and telecommunications tower and the Harbour Bridge in Auckland were dark, and in Sydney, Australia, the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. In Malaysia, the lights of the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur – once the tallest buildings in the world – went out for an hour.

This time, Russia was not among them; the lights on public buildings there stayed on. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov justified this in advance by saying that the WWF, as the initiator, was now on Russia’s list of “foreign agents.” “Foreign agents” are often accused in Russia of divisive activities. The country had previously participated in the campaign since 2013, including switching off facade lighting at the Kremlin, Russia’s center of power.

The WWF launched Australia’s global climate and environmental protection campaign in 2007 – a sign that humanity must take better care of the earth. In addition to cities and public authorities, companies and private individuals can also participate in the campaign.

“Earth Hour is not about saving energy by switching off lights,” WWF explained. Rather, it said that Earth Hour is a symbolic and peaceful protest. “Forest fires, droughts and floods in 2022 have once again shown us the dramatic effects of the climate crisis,” WWF said. “This decade will determine whether we can still contain the climate crisis to a manageable level.”

(S E R V I C E – https://www.wwf.at/earthhour)

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