By Annabel Cooper
Major city landmarks and municipal buildings were plunged into darkness for an hour on Saturday night as Edinburgh joined 830 cities around the world for the World Wildlife Federation‘s (WWF) Earth Hour.
Edinburgh Castle, the Forth Rail Bridge, the Scott Monument and the National Galleries were among the public buildings taking part in the mass switch off. The synchronised, world wide blackout aimed to publicise the effects of climate change ahead of this week’s G20 summit. Earth Hour began in Sydney in 2007 but this was a first for Edinburgh. Council leader, Jenny Dawe, was instrumental in bringing the symbolic protest to her city. She said:
‘A colleague in the council had told me about Sydney 2007 and I thought it was such a great idea that I really wanted Edinburgh to take part this year. It’s a way of making people think about the environment and their part in making the world a better place to live.’
Standard Life and Lloyds Banking Group were among the Edinburgh based commercial companies who lent their support to the protest. They joined the thousands of homeowners across the city who chose to sit it out in the dark alongside one billion others worldwide. The protest comes at a good time for campaigners who hope climate change will not be knocked off the international agenda by financial woes and at a time when the Scottish Government is looking to pass its Climate Change Bill, and Edinburgh Council implements its Carbon Reduction Plan. Council Leader Jenny Dawe is adamant everyone can do their bit. She said:
‘We take the issue of Climate Change very seriously. As part of the carbon reduction plan , the council is working with developers to ensure that all new buildings aim to be carbon neutral. Edinburgh Council alone cannot save the world but if we can get as many other people as possible to buy into this agenda, then it will be all the better for the future.’