Prague will darken monuments for Earth Hour, people are asked to join in from home

The annual environmental celebration Earth Hour will be scaled back due to coronavirus restrictions

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 27.03.2020 12:29:31 (updated on 27.03.2020) Reading time: 3 minutes

The center of Prague will darken for Earth Hour on March 28, between 8:30 and 9:30 pm. As part of the worldwide Earth Hour event, city company Technologie hlavního města Prahy (THMP) will gradually turn off lights on monuments according to their time of origin. Earth Hour is intended to help the environment be encouraging people to turn off unnecessary lights.

The 12th century to the 21st century each will be represented by one building. This is to point out that without a favorable environment it would not have been possible for Prague to grow over the centuries, and climate change needs attention even today.

The following Prague buildings will gradually have exterior lighting turned off: Strahov Monastery, Old-New (Staronová) Synagogue, Charles Bridge, Old Town Hall, Malá Strana Bridge Tower, Klementinum, Estates Theatre, Rudolfinum, Čechův most, and Memorial to the Victims of Communism.

Rudolfinum is one the participating buildings. via Raymond Johnston

“With the symbolic extinguishing of [lights on] urban landmarks, we not only want to show that we know about climate change and we want to actively participate in tackling it, but also to remind people that despite the difficult situation during a pandemic, life goes on and we should continue to do things that are important,” City Councilor Jan Chabr (United Force for Prague) said.

The Prague City Council approved Prague’s climate commitment to reduce CO2 emissions and the measures necessary to meet it last year. “One of them is the project of a synergic renewal of the Prague public lighting and distribution network cables, which foresees the creation of up to 3,000 charging points for e-mobility on public lighting poles,” he added.

According to the deputy chairman of the board of THMP, Tomáš Novotný, the Strahov Monastery will be the first to be extinguished and the Memorial to the Victims of Communism will be the last, nine minutes later. “Charles Bridge, the Rudolfinum, the Old Town Hall and the Klementinum will not be left aside either. The individual buildings will be switched off gradually from the oldest one, always one minute apart, and will remain off until 9:30 pm,” he said.

The aim is to recall that the fate of the whole society has always been dependent on a favorable environment. “We can no longer influence history, but the future is in our hands. Therefore, at THMP, we drive environmentally friendly vehicles, consider healthy lighting aspects and, last but not least, we responsibly manage waste in our work,” Novotný added.

Since 2010, the event has been held in the Czech Republic. Unlike in the past, there are no public side events due to the quarantine requirements to battle coronavirus. Instead, people are asked to turn off lights in their own homes.

“While in other years … people took to the streets and held joint events, this year Earth Hour will be held only from the safety of homes,” Petr Ledvina, Earth Hour organizer for the Czech Republic, said.

The Earth Hour 2019 in the Czech Republic involved a record 165 municipalities, 77 companies, over 750 individuals, and 11 monuments. Some 14 public events were held. The main monuments in Prague, Brno, Ostrava and Plzeňwent out, as did public lighting in hundreds of smaller municipalities.

Earth Hour is an annual international climate event held on the last Saturday of March. Households, businesses, public institutions and major cultural sights turn off their lighting for one hour to highlight climate change.

Earth Hour is an annual international event launched by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). It first took place in 2007 in Sydney, Australia, to draw attention to climate change. The lights of the Sydney Opera House went out that year. Earth Hour now engages millions of people in more than 180 countries and territories.

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