Lights out as millions mark Earth Hour around the world

Earth Hour

London during Earth Hour. Creative Commons: Earth Hour Global, 2015

With 172 countries participating, and over 1,400 landmarks plunged into darkness, 2015 marked the world’s biggest Earth Hour to date.

As millions of people came together in the planet’s largest grassroots movement for climate change, landmarks from the Eiffel Tower, the Houses of Parliament and the Kremlin to UNESCO world heritage sites including the Acropolis in Athens, the walled city of Baku all switched their lights out in a global, collective call for climate action.

The Philippines held a glow in the dark Zumba party, while in Romania a drum and fire show marked the occasion. In Finland, citizens came together for a large candlelight dinner.

As Moscow’s Kremlin switched off the lights, citizens switched on their power by collecting close to 70,000 signatures to petition a moratorium on the exploration of Arctic oil, while in Malaysia citizens attended the first-ever Earth Hour 2015 carnival in Petaling Jaya.

Across the globe in Colombia, around 1,100 people enrolled in a ‘110KW’ marathon along a climate change trail highlighting the need for communities to strengthen their defences against the worst impacts of climate change.

Coming after massive demonstrations around the world in the last year,Earth Hours adds more voices to the growing number of people calling, and marching, for real climate action in the lead up to Paris.

In New York City last September over 400,000 people took to the streets in the People’s Climate March, in just one of 2646 events that took place that day.

Earth Hour - Spain

The Royal Palace in Madrid, Spain. Creative Commons: Earth Hour Global, 2015

Along with the New York March, the global ratcheting up of the divestment movement on Global Divestment Day, and a pre-election climate march in London, Earth Hour shows that people are not backing down from their demands for a safe and liveable climate and a world free from carbon pollution.

Sudhanshu Sarronwala, Chair, Board of Directors, Earth Hour Global said:

Science shows us that climate change is a global concern, Earth Hour shows us that people have the power to take on the climate challenge. Earth Hour turns out the lights, but the future of our planet is brightened by the countless individual actions of supporters around the world. 

This year’s Earth Hour comes at a pivotal moment for the climate fight as round the globe, nations are preparing to follow in the footsteps of Switzerland, Norway, Mexico and the European Union by submitting climate change commitments to the United Nations in the lead up to the end-of-year climate talks and the road through Paris.

Earth Hour - Romania

Earth Hour show in Herastrau Park, Bucharest, Romania. Creative Commons: Earth Hour Global, 2015

These climate action plans will form the basis for a worldwide agreement on climate change.

But as millions of people came together this weekend to switch off the lights for change hopes for a solid year of climate action are being bolstered by inspiring actions.

In Norway last week voted in favour of a decision to set binding greenhouse gas emission targets for 2020, 2030 and 2050, while a major pension fund announced it stopped investing in over coal companies, while in India a government decision not to dig for coal in the Mahan forest gave grassroots movement to protect region a major reprieve.

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