Earth Hour: Belgian cities go dark to shine a light on climate change

Earth Hour: Belgian cities go dark to shine a light on climate change
Earth Hour in Brussels, archive imagine. Credit: Belga

Antwerp and Brussels will join hundreds of cities across the world taking part in Earth Hour by turning off the lights of various monuments for one hour on Saturday 26 March.

From the façades of Grand Place and the spheres of the Atomium in the capital to Antwerp's town hall, lights will be switched off across the cities from 20:30 to 21:30 as part of the annual worldwide action organised by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to highlight the fight against climate change.

"Climate, energy and environmental issues are at the heart of every crisis today, both locally and globally. It is essential that we make everyone aware of these issues and the best ways to deal with them," a statement from the City of Brussels read.

Prior to the lights being turned off on Grand Place, the façade of the Town Hall will feature a projection on the theme of water (from 20:15 to 20:30).

The Atomium during Earth Hour, archive imagine. Credit: Belga

In the city of Antwerp, the lights of 38 public buildings and monuments will be switched off, including the town hall, Het Steen, the cathedral and other historical façades including on the Grote Markt, Kaasrui and Oude Koornmarkt, as well as churches and museums.

The city's authorities are also calling on residents to show their commitment by switching off the lights at home at the same time.

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"Earth Hour is an excellent moment to reflect on the problem of light pollution, which disrupts the biological rhythm of humans and animals. But even more so, Earth Hour makes us reflect - all over the world - on our energy consumption, and our dependence on harmful fossil fuels," Tom Meeuws, the city's environment councillor, said.

Saving energy for climate

During Earth Hour, which has taken place on the last Saturday in March every year for the past 15 years, lights are cut in more than 190 countries and territories globally to raise awareness about the importance of saving energy for the climate.

Since it was first organised in 2007 as a symbolic lights-out event in Sydney to raise awareness of climate change, Earth Hour has become one of the world's largest grassroots movements for the environment, according to the event's organisers. This year, Earth Hour coincides with Earth Overshoot Day in Belgium, which marks the day when the country uses up all the resources that its territory can regenerate in one year.

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