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Earth Hour 2014
Mar 28, 2014

Millions of people around the world will switch off lights in homes, offices and famous landmarks at 8.30 p.m. local time for an hour on 29 March to mark WWF Annual Earth Hour. Now in its eighth year, the mass participation event to show support for environmental issues comes as the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change prepares to launch its latest report in Japan on 31 March, outlining how global warming will affect wildlife, food supplies, water and the weather. It's fortuitous timing that as millions of people take part in Earth Hour, the world's leading scientists release the latest IPCC report, which highlights the various impacts of climate change. The significance of these two events is massive. Climate change is the biggest environmental threat facing our planet–it's real, it's happening right now, and we need to act fast.

Among the world's famous landmarks that will dim their lights are the Empire State building in New York, the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Kremlin and Red Square in Moscow, the Bosphorus Bridge in Turkey and the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. In the UK, the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge and the London Eye will all dim their lights.

Many prominent places in India will also follow the same line. Last year, many monuments like India Gate, Qutab Minar, Humayun's Tomb, Red Fort and other buildings had switched off lights. In 2013, about 150 cities and 10 million people participate in India according to WWF.

Launched in Australia in 2007, Earth Hour has now grown to become the world's biggest environmental event, mobilising people around a range of issues from deforestation to energy efficiency. Last year more than 7,000 towns and cities in 154 countries took part in it. The first Earth Hour was observed in 56 cities around the world.

This year, WWF is launching Earth Hour Blue, a digital crowd-funding and crowd-sourcing platform that enables participants to help raise funds and take action on a range of environmental issues. Projects that are open for donation range from teaching fishermen in the Philippines how to build boats without using wood from the local forests to a solar-lighting project  to reduce human-wildlife conflict in India.

WWF says the awareness and funding generated by Earth Hour has led to several significant conservation successes in the past few years. In 2013, Argentina used its Earth Hour campaign to help pass a senate bill to create a new 3.4 million hectare marine reserve. In Uganda, half a million trees planted in an Earth Hour Forest  helped to help offset deforestation, while in Paraguay, public support led to an extension of an existing logging moratorium.


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