The lights on the dome of St Peter's Basilica will go dark on Saturday evening, 19 March, along with those that illuminate Bernini's colonnade surrounding St Peter's Square. From 8.30 to 9.30pm local time, the lights will remain dark for Earth Hour. This worldwide initiative is being promoted by the World Wildlife Fund International, to help raise awareness about the need to adopt more environmentally sound practices to protect the future of the planet - a message amplified now by Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si'.
The annual initiative, which began in 2007, invites cities around the world to turn off the lights on their national monuments and public buildings, as well as in offices, shops and homes, to help raise awareness about the need to adopt more environmentally sound practices to protect the future of the planet.
In Scotland, more than 120 churches will be taking part in the initiative. Westminster Abbey, Durham Cathedral, Old Trafford, Canterbury Cathedral, Windsor Castle, Tewkesbury Abbey, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, The Gherkin, Piccadilly Circus, Harrods and the Ritz are among those joining the blackout for 60 minutes in support of the Earth Hour campaign.
This year WWF-UK is hosting a night at the Southbank in London that will stream live content from around the world and feature a live acoustic performance by the band McFly, who have done the Harlem Shake in panda onesies to launch the campaign. Celebrity chefs including Raymond Blanc, Gordon Ramsay and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall have created special recipes for families to prepare and eat by candlelight, and WWF has teamed up with a Kevin McCloud, Miranda Richardson and Alistair McGowan, who have recorded readings of Rudyard Kipling's famous Just So stories.
For more information about Earth Hour visit: www.earthhour.org/earth-hour-live-watch-the-hour-unfold-around-the-world
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