Letting nature shine: Earth Hour goes lights out for climate change
The United Nations' headquarters goes dark for Earth Hour 2018. Photo courtesy of UN
To spotlight the need for conserving the planet’s natural resources, buildings around the globe went lights out over the weekend.
The efforts were part of the 11th Earth Hour, a global movement aimed at drawing attention to climate change and getting people to connect with the world on which they live.
Scores of structures went dark for 60 minutes March 24, including the Eiffel Tower and Big Ben. In addition, countless businesses flipped the switch as well.
The theme for 2018, ironically, was "Let Nature Shine."
These 60 minutes are "an opportunity" to shift "the consumption culture and behavior change toward sustainability," Indian Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan told The Associated Press.
The symbolic comes at a time when other commercial buildings consume nearly a fifth of the world’s energy use and nearly 30 percent of the energy used in those facilities is wasted, according to Energy Star.
At the same time, owners and managers are more attune to the need for conservation and efficiency.
The U.S. Green Building Council reports that nearly 75,000 commercial projects are participating in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) across the globe, with 1.85 million square feet of building space becoming LEED-certified every day.
“LEED is a critical tool in creating structures that mitigate greenhouse gas emissions; create healthier indoor environments for workers, students and community members; and, lower utility bills for building owners through reduced energy and water use,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, USGBC’s chief operating officer.
The Earth Hour initiative began in Australia in 2007 by the World Wildlife Fund to combat man-made carbon dioxide emissions, which have been linked to global warming. This year, 7,000 cities across more than 180 countries switched off electric lights for one hour at 8:30 p.m. local time.
Earth Hour 2019 is slated for 8:30-9:30 p.m. local time March 30.