Earth Hour event sheds light on climate change debate

LANDMARKS in the North East will be plunged into darkness as part of an international event to raise awareness of climate change.

The Tyne Bridge and Millennium Bridge during the WWF Earth Hour lights switch off

LANDMARKS in the North East will be plunged into darkness as part of an international event to raise awareness of climate change.

The Sage Gateshead, Newcastles Theatre Royal and Durham Cathedral are among venues due to take part in Earth Hour on Saturday.

Light switches around the region will be flicked to off between 8.30pm and 9.30pm on March 27.

Schools, businesses and householders across the North East are being asked to take part in the event, which aims to involve a billion people around the world.

They are asked to turn off lights and electrical items and enjoy an hour in darkness.

The event is supposed to symbolise how people can act together to make changes which benefit the environment and to highlight how the amount of energy we use contributes to climate change, which experts say is one of the most serious threats facing people and nature.

Last year people in more than 3,000 cities and towns in 83 countries around the world took part in Earth Hour. More than 100 countries have pledged support this time.

The Discovery Museum in Newcastle, Durham County Council and Durham University have all signed up to take part this year. Dalton Park shopping centre off the A19 will dim its canopy lights to take part in Earth Hour, which is organised by conservation charity the WWF.

Schools including Marine Park First School in Whitley Bay, West Walker Primary School in Newcastle, Blaydon West Primary School in Gateshead and Barley Mow Primary School in Chester-le-Street have also signed up to support the event.

In March 2007 2.2 million people in Sydney, Australia, took part in Earth Hour, turning their lights off, including floodlights on landmarks such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House and staging events such as weddings by candlelight.

The following year the event went global as thousands of people and businesses pledged support. Iconic buildings around the world, including the CN Tower in Toronto and San Franciscos Golden Gate Bridge went dark.

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