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You probably know all about Earth Day. It’s a late-April day full of events that support environmental protection. But have you heard of Earth Hour?

Established by conservation organization WWF (formerly known as World Wildlife Fund), Earth Hour’s goal is to put a spotlight on the effects of climate change and increase everyone’s appreciation for the environment. To do that, the campaign asks people to turn off the lights in their homes and businesses for one hour at 8:30 p.m. (local time) on the last Saturday of March. This year, Earth Hour will take place on March 27.

The Need For Earth Hour

The first Earth Hour took place in Sydney, Australia, in 2007. During the event, as a show of solidarity to raise awareness about climate change, 2.2 million homes and businesses turned off their lights for one hour, a Time and Date article explains.

The following year, 50 million people across 35 countries participated. You may recall seeing images of landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the CN Tower in Toronto, and the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia all being dark.

However, as the Earth Hour website points out, the climate crisis remains -- and has actually gotten worse because it has led to the loss of biodiversity and nature. The intent of the campaign today is to “increase awareness and spark global conversations on protecting nature, not only to combat the climate crisis, but to ensure our own health, happiness, prosperity, and even survival.”

“Healthy, natural ecosystems are the cornerstone of thriving, equitable, and sustainable societies,” Marco Lambertini, the director general of WWF International, said in a statement. “Our current socio-economic models are leading to the devastating destruction of nature, which is increasing our vulnerability to pandemics, accelerating climate change, and placing livelihoods at risk.”

This Year’s Event

The campaign’s initial intent was to ask people to -- collectively -- turn off lights for one hour. Although that is still the intent, Earth Hour has also included events and activities. This year, to ensure public safety as the COVID-19 pandemic continues around the world, Earth Hour will cast a “virtual spotlight” on the environment.

“In addition to switching off your lights, we also invite you to raise awareness and create the same unmissable sight online, so that the world sees our planet, the issues we face, and our place within it, in a new light,” the Earth Hour site explains. “Together, we can speak up for nature and build the momentum and public awareness needed to push world leaders into action.”

How To Participate

In addition to switching off your lights for one hour, Earth Hour asks people to keep an eye out for a new video -- and then take action. After the video is released, the organization wants to “take over the social media feeds of millions around the world.”

By having as many people as possible work to spread the video “far and wide,” the campaign will “get the world watching” and “get the world talking,” the organization explains. Details on how to create the virtual spotlight by sharing the video on all social media platforms can be found here.

A Chance To Look At The Night Sky

With an estimated 7,000 cities -- and millions of people -- around the world participating in Earth Hour by turning off lights, this will also be a good chance to go outside and look at the moon and stars. The moon will be especially prominent.

March’s full moon, known as the Worm Moon because earthworms typically begin to emerge in March, will occur March 28. Although the moon won’t quite be full on March 27, weather permitting, it should still appear larger and brighter than normal. That’s because the Worm Moon is also a supermoon -- the term used to describe the moon when it’s full at, or close to, its nearest approach to Earth.

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