Saturday, 29 March 2014

Always look on the bright side

The headlines this week have all been about how Britain will keep the lights on in the midst of the government’s failure on long term energy policy and blatant profiteering by the country’s big six energy suppliers.

But this evening an estimated 10 million people in Britain will turn their lights off voluntarily as part of Earth Hour, a symbolic gesture to show support for environmental issues.

Now in its eighth year, the mass participation world-wide event comes as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) prepares to launch its latest report in Japan on Monday, outlining how climate change will affect wildlife, food supplies, water and the weather.

"It's fortuitous timing that as millions of people around the world take part in WWF's Earth Hour, the world's leading scientists release the latest IPCC report, which highlights the various impacts of climate change," said Colin Butfield, director of public engagement and campaigns at WWF-UK.

"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, with an estimated 10 million Britons expected to take part.

Launched in Australia in 2007, WWF says 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 saw more than 7,000 towns and cities in 154 countries take part.

A survey commissioned by WWF-UK this week found that almost half (47%) of respondents said they would be willing to switch their political allegiance to a different party based on the strength of environmental policies, with 73% saying the leaders of the UK's main political parties are not currently giving enough emphasis to the environment.

Tonight from 08.25 pm the WWF website will be live-streaming highlights of Earth Hour, from the spectacular London and global landmark switch offs to a special performance from Sophie Ellis Bextor -

For further illuminating reading see - The end of night and Fear of the dark

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