Landmarks and homes around the world went dark at 8:30pm local time Saturday night, as cities, households, and businesses participated in the 11th annual Earth Hour—a call from environmental campaigners for a coordinated international effort to combat climate crisis.
This year, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), which organizes the event, aimed to raise awareness about the significant loss of biodiversity that's been linked to the warming of the planet, pollution, and the exploitation of natural resources.
"Nature is in alarming decline. Halting its loss is urgent and crucial as much as tackling climate change," said Marco Lambertini, director general for WWF International, in a statement. "Biodiversity and nature is the foundation of life, essential to our wellbeing. Yet, we continue to take nature for granted while our actions are pushing it to the brink."
The Eiffel Tower in Paris, the London Eye, the Sydney Opera House, and the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur were just some of the global landmarks that went dark to mark the event.
This year's Earth Hour came a day after the release of a report by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) on the "dangerous" decline in biodiversity. Researchers detailed grave threats to coral reefs and warned of the dangers of overfishing and unsustainable agriculture and forestry practices.
"The totality of forms of life on the planet, what we call biodiversity, provides the infrastructure for the healthy functioning of natural systems," said Cristiana Paşca Palmer, executive secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which partnered with WWF to coordinate Earth Hour. "This is critical not only to safeguarding life on Earth but also to the wellbeing and development of the human species...Earth Hour links people from all around the globe, as we take time to connect to Earth. In fact, in connecting to Earth, we connect to ourselves, we connect with our humanity."
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Since it began in Sydney in 2007, Earth Hour has spread to 180 countries around the world.
On social media, observers shared images of darkened iconic landmarks.
I'll never forget seeing the #EiffelTower go dark on my #ParisTrip That's when I heard about #EarthHour! I was amazed to see so many major landmarks turning off their lights to support taking better care of our planet! https://t.co/0kQhdYNYmh pic.twitter.com/0W5py0W1gQ— Nikki Chi (@the_nikki_chi) March 24, 2018
Millions of people around the world are observing the annual #EarthHour to raise awareness about climate change.— dwnews (@dwnews) March 24, 2018
Australia's Sydney Opera House and Harbor Bridge were among the first landmarks to join the blackout.https://t.co/2yHRvNT3ro pic.twitter.com/pNXAulzpmj