Earth Hour 2024: Which big UK landmarks are taking part - and how can you 'give an hour for the Earth'?

People taking part in Earth Hour this year, on 23 March, are being urged to 'give an hour for the planet'
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A worldwide movement which calls on people to give up an hour of their weekend to show their commitment to our planet's future is back for another year.

The date for Earth Hour 2024 has now been set, with WWF's global grassroots environmental awareness event set to take place on Saturday, 23 March this year. Beginning in Australia in 2007, the Earth Hour movement has now grown to millions of participants in 185 different countries, with many major world landmarks taking part and going dark each year.

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The event typically involves turning off the lights in your home or business for an hour - from 8.30 to 9.30 pm. The largely symbolic action allows people across the globe to unite, and show their leaders they care about nature and the climate - and the future of our planet.

So, which famous UK buildings can we expect to shine a little less bright on the big day in 2024 - and can you still take part without turning off your lights? Here's everything you need to know:

It will be lights out for the London Eye this year, for Earth Hour 2024 (Photo: thelastminute.com/Supplied)It will be lights out for the London Eye this year, for Earth Hour 2024 (Photo: thelastminute.com/Supplied)
It will be lights out for the London Eye this year, for Earth Hour 2024 (Photo: thelastminute.com/Supplied)

Which UK and London landmarks will be taking part this year?

Many of the UK’s most prominent landmarks will be switching of their lights in support this year. So far, we know these will include the London Eye, the four Tate museum (across London, Liverpool and Cornwall), and Buckingham Palace.

Bella Sereno, environmental and sustainability manager at Tate, said: "We at Tate are delighted to participate, raising awareness and solidarity on a global level. A reminder to us all on what needs to be done and how impactful we can all be together."

What difference does turning off your lights for an hour make?

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It's worth noting that Earth Hour is intended to be largely a symbolic action. However, WWF says it has never has it been more important than now to send a message to world leaders that we must take urgent action to tackle the nature and climate crisis - with the world fresh off the back of its hottest year ever recorded.

"All over the world, animals and people are losing their homes because we’re destroying forests, polluting rivers and oceans and making the climate crisis worse," WWF said in a statement. "But there is hope. We can all play our part in taking small actions to make a difference. By switching off and giving an hour for earth, we are all helping to bring our world back to life."

This is not to say, however, that turning off the lights makes no difference whatsoever. A 2014 study by UC Davis researchers looking at hundreds of changes in electricity demand during Earth Hour - across six different years and 10 different countries - found that the event cut power use by an average of 4% each year.

What other ways could you 'give an hour to the Earth?'

Turning off your lights is not the only way to take part. This year, WWF is asking people to give an hour for the Earth on 23 March - something anyone can accomplish in all sorts of ways. Here are some of the nature charity's recommendations:

  1. Get outside and make your outdoor space more nature-friendly. If you don’t have a garden or even a window box, there are community gardens and allotments that could benefit from your green fingers (here are a few NationalWorld stories which might help - from learning to attract bumblebees; to discovering the best way to set up a birdbox; to planting for birds and wildlife).
  2. Connect with colleagues who also have a passion for nature by screening our Save Our Wild Isles business films where you work. Get the conversation started and discuss how your workplace can be part of the solution.
  3. Calculate your personal impact with WWF’s footprint calculator and make a plan to reduce it - you can make a big difference by taking small steps in your everyday life.
  4. Cook a sustainable meal. There are so many tasty plant-based recipes out there so get going and cook up a special Earth Hour feast during the hour.
  5. Become a walrus detective and search for walrus in images from space, to learn more about how the climate crisis is affecting them.
  6. Spend an hour on you. WWF has this year partnered with the Mental Health Foundation to create a guide filled with tips and tools for how all of us can connect with nature, to help us thrive even in challenging times.
  7. Explore the WWF campaign hub and find out how you can sign a petition, influence politicians, and make a difference in your local area.
  8. Get your friends, family and neighbours inspired by nature by organising a screening of the Save Our Wild Isles documentary series on the BBC iPlayer.
  9. Join WWF's Earth Hour ‘All Together’ challenge on the MyFootprint app - simply turn off electricity for the hour of Earth Hour and again three or more times the following week and be a part of the app community’s impact.
  10. Switch off and take an hour to connect with loved ones. This is where Earth Hour all began - and you'll be part of a movement of millions of people all around the world.
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Amber Allott is NationalWorld’s environment and sustainability specialist, covering all things green - from climate to conservation. If you liked this article you can follow Amber on X (Twitter) here and sign up for the free daily NationalWorld Today newsletter here - with Amber bringing you the UK's most important, pressing, weird and wonderful environmental stories every Tuesday.

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