NEW YORK – Cities around the world turned out the lights Saturday evening to mark the 10th annualEarth Hour, a global movement dedicated to protecting the planet and highlighting the effects of climate change.
As night came on, the lights went out in cities from South Korea to the United States in what the World Wildlife Fund describes as a moment of solidarity for climate action. The group sponsors the event and says people in 178 countries and territories had planned to participate.
Lights went out for the hourlong event — from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. local time — in Beijing, Moscow, Beirut, Cairo, Athens, Rome, and Paris. The lights atop the Empire State Building in New York were dimmed, and some billboards in Times Square also went dark.
In Seoul, the glass-covered City Hall was among several public buildings where officials switched off the lights inside and out. Lights illuminating landmarks such as the massive COEX shopping mall, the city's main railway station and several bridges on the Han River were all either turned off or dimmed.
In Beijing, Chinese actress Li Bingbing showed up at the iconic Temple of Confucius, which was shut dark for an hour while municipal government officials announced that the city's energy conservation slogan would be "Consume less, consume wisely."
The Taipei 101 skyscraper was among the buildings to go dark in Taiwan's capital.
Philippine officials in metropolitan Manila led hundreds of environmental activists, students and movie and TV celebrities in switching off lights at the Quezon Memorial Circle in suburban Quezon city. Amid the darkness, some participants pedaled bamboo bikes attached to small energy generators to power LED lights and illuminate a giant Philippine map to symbolize the country's yearning to shift to renewable energy sources, organizers said.
The first Earth Hour event was held on March 31, 2007, when the WWF conservation group inspired people in Sydney to turn out the lights for an hour. Since then, the WWF-organized event has expanded to thousands of cities and towns around the world and has been held every March.