townsville­bul­letin. com. au Global move­ment a sym­bol of sup­port

Townsville Bulletin - - Earth Hour Around the World -

LIGHTS DIMMED: The Eif­fel Tower’s fa­mous light­ing fell into dark­enss as part of Earth Hour LIGHTS went off around the world on Satur­day as land­mark build­ings and or­di­nary homes flipped their switches while the an­nual ‘‘ Earth Hour’’ cir­cled the planet in what was dubbed the world’s largest vol­un­tary ac­tion for the en­vi­ron­ment.

In Paris a minute’s si­lence was ob­served for Ja­pan as the city of light went dark, with il­lu­mi­na­tions switched off at the Eif­fel Tower, Notre Dame cathe­dral, City Hall, opera houses and many bridges, fountains and pub­lic places.

Syd­ney’s Opera House was the first of many global land­marks to go dark as the event got un­der way, with hun­dreds of mil­lions of peo­ple pre­pared to fol­low suit to en­hance aware­ness of en­ergy use and cli­mate change.

Oth­ers in their turn in­cluded Bei­jing’s ‘‘ Bird’s Nest’’ sta­dium that hosted the 2008 Olympics, the Lon­don Eye fer­ris wheel, Times Square in New York and Brazil’s Christ the Redeemer statue.

Many were switch­ing off their flood­light­ing, ad­ver­tis­ing signs and other il­lu­mi­na­tions for an hour from 8.30 pm lo­cal time.

‘‘ The amount of power that’s saved dur­ing that time is not re­ally what it’s about,’’ Earth Hour co-founder and ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Andy Ri­d­ley told AFP in Syd­ney, where the move­ment be­gan in 2007.

‘‘ What it is meant to be about is show­ing what can hap­pen when peo­ple come to­gether.’’

R i d l e y s a i d a r e c o r d 1 3 4 coun­tries or ter­ri­to­ries were on board for this year’s event.

Or­gan­is­ers also asked peo­ple to com­mit to an ac­tion, large or small, that they will carry through the year to help the planet.

Ri­d­ley said Earth Hour, or­gan­ised by global en­vi­ron­ment group the WWF, this year would also fo­cus on con­nect­ing peo­ple on­line so they could in­spire each other to make com­mit­ments to help pro­tect the en­vi­ron­ment.

In Aus­tralia, or­gan­is­ers said an es­ti­mated 10 mil­lion peo­ple, nearly half the pop­u­la­tion, took part, with Syd­ney Har­bour Bridge an­other of the land­marks to go dark.

Hong Kong’s neon water­front dimmed, while in Sin­ga­pore all dec­o­ra­tive lights were switched off and non-c r i t i c a l o p e r a t i o nal l i g ht s low­ered at Changi Air­port.

In Ja­pan, which is reel­ing from a huge earth­quake and tsunami that struck this month, sev­eral thou­sand p e o p l e a n d a h o t e l - t u r n e d - evac­u­a­tion cen­tre in the north­east marked Earth Hour.

‘‘ Peo­ple in Ja­pan will have a spe­cial feel­ing this year when they turn the switches off,’’ WWF spokes­woman Hideko Arai said ahead of the switch-off.

In Rus­sia some cities were join­ing in, from PetropavlovskKam­chatsky, the most easterly city o n t h e Kam­chat k a p e n i n s u l a , through to Moscow to Mur­mansk in the far north.

I n Athens mon­u­ments b e i ng dark­ened in­cluded the Acrop­o­lis, the par­lia­ment build­ing, the pres­i­den­tial palace and the tem­ple of Poseidon near the city.

Lights went out in 52 Ro­ma­nian cities, where con­certs and can­dle­light marches were or­gan­ised.

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