Symbolic darkness in the name of environmental protection: around the world, many people turned off their lights for an hour during the "Earth Hour" campaign. According to the organizers, the motto "Together for more climate protection" was followed in around 190 countries and hundreds of cities on Saturday. The climate and environmental protection campaign launched by the WWF in Australia has been setting an example since 2007 that humanity must take better care of the earth.
Depending on the local time, sights, offices and apartments remained dark for 60 minutes from 8:30 p.m. Countries in the Asia-Pacific region gave the go-ahead. In New Zealand, for example, the Sky Tower observation tower and the Harbor Bridge in Auckland as well as the parliament building in the capital Wellington remained in the dark. The world-famous Harbor Bridge and the Opera House followed a little later in the Australian metropolis of Sydney. In Malaysia, the lights went out at the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur. And in Thailand's capital, Bangkok, five iconic structures also went black, including the country's national shrine, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.
Shortly thereafter, the Brandenburg Gate in Germany was in the dark for an hour. According to the WWF, more than 550 cities had registered for the campaign. Unlike in previous years, however, the lights of some sights were no longer on anyway - partly as a result of the energy crisis. With regard to the Ukraine war, the State Ministry in Baden-Württemberg pointed out that lighting had been reduced as much as possible since the summer as a contribution to saving energy.
Russia was not there this time. The lights on public buildings there stayed on. Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov justified this by saying that the initiator WWF was on Russia's list of "foreign agents". The controversial law behind this list serves to stigmatize people, media and non-governmental organizations in Russia who do not follow the line. Russia had taken part in earlier "Earth Hour" campaigns since 2013 and, for example, switched off the facade lighting on the Kremlin.
The tail light was also switched off on the American continent this year: in Toronto, Canada, the CN Tower went dark. In the neighboring USA, the Space Needle in Seattle and the Willis Tower in Chicago were temporarily unlit, as were New York's Empire State Building. In Los Angeles, the lights of the solar-powered Ferris wheel on the Santa Monica pier stayed off.
"Earth Hour is not about saving energy by turning off the lights," WWF explained. Rather, the action is a symbolic and peaceful form of protest. "Forest fires, droughts and floods in 2022 have once again shown us the dramatic effects of the climate crisis," said the WWF. "This decade will decide whether we can still limit the climate crisis to a manageable level."