Earth Hour 2018: 350 cities in Central and Eastern Europe united to connect to our planet | WWF

Earth Hour 2018: 350 cities in Central and Eastern Europe united to connect to our planet

Posted on
29 March 2018
Bratislava/Budapest/Sofia/Bucharest/Kyiv - Over 350 cities across Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Ukraine, supported Earth Hour, with thousands celebrating and raising awareness on sustainable living. Nearly 850 well-known landmarks and facades of government buildings in Central and Eastern Europe turned dark to shine a light on climate action.
The darkened landscape highlighted individuals, businesses and organizations in a record 188 countries and territories worldwide to spark unprecedented conversation and action on stopping the loss of nature.
Slovakia switched off lights in a record number of cities. Hungary went dark with a spectacular show while residents in Borsodnádasd and Balaton municipalities held an evening torchlight procession. In Romania, hundreds of people showed their commitment to safeguarding nature by writing symbolic letters to rivers, forests and wildlife. Dozens of Earth Hour events brought together nature's lovers in Bulgaria with a small farm and craft food market, a night hike to Vitosha Mountain’s highest peak, and celebrations in over 110 cities. In Ukraine, thousands of people listened to music with the sounds of wild animals, joined a “zero-waste” festival, and watched an experimental light show.
In Slovakia, a record number of more than 50 cities and towns joined Earth Hour movement:
For the ninth time, Slovakia joined the world's largest environmental campaign for the Earth Hour. In downtown Bratislava, adults and children were attracted by educational stands, an eco-tour concert, and a creative workshop using recycled materials to create animals. Slovakian residents took a "promises4nature" pledge, which committed them to bringing environmental principles into their daily lives.
In Hungary, the lights of Budapest were switched off in a spectacular show: Recirquel Company Budapest performed a contemporary piece in MÜPA cultural center.  A message to save our planet appeared at the show’s finale. A large crowd  gathered for a night hike with candles to Buda Hills, one of the city’s viewpoints,  to watch the city’s lights switching off from above. Locally organized events engaged residents of Borsodnádasd and Balaton municipalities in a torchlight procession until they met halfway for a brass band candle-light concert; and in Magyarlak, there was a screening of Leonardo DiCaprio's documentary “Before the Flood” after which visitors made candle holders out of recycled bottles and join a "firefly hunt", with "fireflies" made of pebbles.

In Romania, hundreds of people showed their commitment to safeguarding nature: by writing symbolic letters to rivers, forests and wildlife. Earth Hour is the moment when people decide to recycle, go by foot or bicycle, use less water, switch to renewable energy, or change consumption habits. Romanians signed letters addressed to nature and made their commitment to nature. Across the country, some 60 cities participated in the festivities with celebrations and events promoting sustainable living.  There were also performances, music events, bicycle tours, and outdoor concerts.

In Bulgaria, celebrations highlighted the benefits of protected nature for local communities: A farm and craft food market of small producers from different parts of the country was organized in downtown Sofia during the day; the green light of Sofia traffic lights glowed in the shape of a heart, and greetings for the Earth Hour ran on the dashboard of Sofia's public transport stops. The traditional celebrations in front of the National Theater in Sofia raised awareness about climate change with a fire show and spectacular switching off the city lights. A night hike to Vitosha Mountain’s highest peak gathered over 260 people who called for protected mountains. Celebrations in over 110 cities sparked action for protecting nature and over 1,000 Bulgarian Scouts committed to minimize the use of plastic.

In Ukraine, thousands of people in more than 70 cities and towns connected to Earth: Kyiv, Lviv, Odessa, Vinnytsia, Kharkiv, Zhytomyr, Cherkasy and more Ukrainian cities joined the action this year. Ukrainians participated in eco-rides and a Zero Waste Fest, went to lectures on responsible consumption, listened to nature music with voices of otter, bear, pelican and lynx, watched experiments with lightning, enjoyed classical music with Svitlo Concert and took sightseeing tours with candles to highlight the importance of sustainable living.
And across the world
  • 188 countries and territories focused on environmental action and issues such as protecting biodiversity, sustainable lifestyles, deforestation, plastics and stronger climate policy;
  • lights out at around 17,900 landmarks including the Sydney Opera House (Sydney), Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament (London), the Tokyo Sky Tree (Tokyo), the Empire State Building (New York), the Pyramids of Egypt (Cairo), Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque (Abu Dhabi), Christ the Redeemer statue (Rio de Janeiro) and the Eiffel Tower (Paris);
  • 3.5 billion + impressions of official campaign hashtags between January and March 2018. Related hashtags also trended in 33 countries;
  • Around 250 celebrities and influencers worldwide also raised their voice for the planet including Andy Murray, Jared Leto, Ellie Goulding, The Killers, Amitabh Bachchan, Li Bingbing, Park Seo-joon, Claudia Bahamon, and Roger Milla;
  • Earth Hour partners include Zinkia Entertainment Ltd, creators of popular cartoon character Pocoyo, and crowdsourcing platform Userfarm.
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