Lights are being turned off on landmarks and other famous sites around the world today for the 10th annual Earth Hour, part of a global effort to back action on climate change.
At 8.30 tonight (local times) lights will go off in over 7,000 cities across the globe for one hour. The skyline will turn dark as the world will observe the Earth Hour.
In Tokyo, lights were seen to turn off at Tokyo Tower. In New Delhi, lights were being turned off at the India Gate monument. In France, the Eiffel Tower was expected to go dark briefly. In London, the Tower Bridge was set to go dark. And in New York, the Empire State Building had plans to turn off the lights.
Thousands of landmarks across the landmasses plunged or were set to plunge into darkness for one hour. The agenda of Earth Hour is to unite people to protect the planet by reducing pollution and adopting clean energy for future.
Last year even the International Space Station marked Earth Hour by switching off lights.
Earth Hour travels this year from Samoa (independent country) to The Cook Islands (another independent country) across the international date line in the Pacific Ocean.
Organised by the Worldwide Fund for Nature, or WWF (still popularly known by its old name of World Wildlife Fund), Earth Hour has gained immense support since its inception in 2007 from Sydney in Australia.
Earth Hour has now reached to about 180 countries with millions of people switching of lights and shutting down electrical equipment to create awareness about environmental degradation and need to protect it.
The penetration of Earth Hour has increased with rising awareness about global warming among the masses across the world.
The earth's average temperature is rising at a faster rate than ever leading to extinction of species at an alarming rate. Scientists believe that one of six living species now faces the risk of extinction.
Global warming and climate change have dominated scientific discourse in the past more than one decade. With the ever rising population of the world, climate change has put humankind at a great risk along with other species.
Global warming, rising levels of pollution due to ever increasing industrialisation, declining forest cover and rising sea levels are some of the dangers that drastically affect the workings of life on earth.
Though the largest polluters are big industries, the WWF tries to make the masses more aware about the impending dangers of adverse climate so that they could put pressure on the respective governments to frame environment-friendly policies and laws.
With Earth Hour, the WWF aims to engage people across the globe to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle. Turning off lights for an hour is just an annual reminder that if the world does not mend its ways, it will be heading to a dark age, literally.
The WWF website says that the last year was the hottest year on record for the third year in a row, signalling that the earth is constantly and consistently warming. It acknowledges the good works done by the world leaders in the form of the Paris Agreement - where India played its part. But it is the time to deliver the action needed to protect the planet, it says.