Earth Hour: Famous landmarks worldwide plunged into darkness to highlight environmental issues

Famous landmarks across the UK and around the world have been plunged into darkness to mark Earth Hour - an annual campaign to draw attention to environmental issues.

For 60 minutes from 8.30pm landmarks such as the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, the Eiffel Tower and Moscow's red Square turned their lights off as part of the international event organised by conservation charity the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to urge action to save the planet.

The initiative aims to highlight the impact humans are having on the planet through climate change, pollution, plastic and food production.

WWF campaigns director Kate Norgrove said the charity is also asking people to reduce their environmental footprint – with advice available on the My Footprint app.

“Use your voice – tell your friends about the climate and nature crisis that we’re all facing,” she said.

“Discuss together how you can change your own footprint, and how you can ask the Government, both locally and nationally, to do more for the planet and our nature all around us.

“We’ve all been so much more connected to nature over this last year, and that’s been a fantastic thing, but we need to continue to protect it for future generations.”

The London Eye was plunged into darkness to mark Earth Hour. Credit: PA

Ms Norgrove said she believes individual actions such as switching to a renewable energy supplier, opting for a meat-free diet, buying second-hand, and letting wildflowers grow in gardens where possible can push governments closer to making greener choices too.

She said: “I think it’s these individual actions that people can take, that over time will create a groundswell of approval and the space in which governments and businesses can make the right choices.

“That’s what the most amazing thing is – by making one small action, and adding this to other small actions, we can change government and business for the better.”

Parliament has taken part in the initiative since 2010.

A normally glowing Piccadilly Circus was plunged into darkness. Credit: PA

Last year’s Earth Hour resulted in a 3.5% reduction in electrical demand for the Palace of Westminster and Portcullis House.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons said: “It’s fantastic news that Parliament once again is taking part in Earth Hour, joining landmarks across the country and the world to raise awareness of climate change.

“It shows our commitment to improving sustainability across the entire parliamentary estate, and that we’re playing our part in reducing energy consumption.”

In the past the London Eye and the Shard, Cardiff Castle, Liverpool Cathedral, Old Trafford, Brighton Pier and the Eden Project have taken part.

Established in 2007 by the WWF, the event engages millions of people in more than 180 countries and territories to switch off their lights to show their support for the planet.

This year it is inviting people to spread the message and post pictures online in its first-ever “Earth Hour Virtual Spotlight”.

A WWF statement said: “In 2021, world leaders will come together during key global conferences and forums to set the environmental agenda for the next decade and beyond.

“Crucial political decisions will be made on climate action, nature, and sustainable development – decisions that will directly affect the fate of humanity and our planet for years to come.”