It’s almost time for the great global switch-off as Earth Hour is almost upon us again.
Millions of homes, offices and businesses will switch off their non-essential lights between 8.30pm and 9.30 pm local time on March 25.
The movement is a sign of solidarity showing commitment to saving the resources of the planet.
Organised by the World Wildlife Fund, Earth Hour started as a lights-off movement in Sydney, Australia, in 2007.
Now, more than 7,000 towns and cities around the world take part in Earth Hour.
One popular side effect of Earth Hour is planetariums and astronomical telescopes opening to the public worldwide to take advantage of an unusually dark night sky due to the switch-off.
Dark sky events
The biggest astronomical events have been held in Toronto, Canada, and Dublin, Ireland.
Concerts powered by alternative technology are also highlights of Earth Hour.
At one performance in Tel Aviv, Israel, the audience pedalled bikes to generate electricity for the artists.
Many cities switch out the lights in iconic buildings to demonstrate their commitment to saving the Earth’s resources.
The Earth Hour organisers explain that the hour is symbolic and not an exercise to save energy.
“Earth Hour does not purport to be an energy/carbon reduction exercise, it is a symbolic action,” said a spokesman.
Sign up to support Earth Hour
“Therefore, we do not engage in the measurement of energy/carbon reduction levels for the hour itself. Earth Hour is an initiative to encourage individuals, businesses and governments around the world to take accountability for their ecological footprint and engage in dialogue and resource exchange that provides real solutions to our environmental challenges.
“Participation in Earth Hour symbolises a commitment to change beyond the hour.”
The WWF wants people to sign up in support of Earth Hour as a climate change message for world leaders – especially new US President Donald Trump, who has indicated he might scrap climate control policies.
The Earth Hour web site has news and resources promoting special events and offering tips on how to organise your own event.
In 2017, Earth Hour will see special conservation events take place in 178 countries.