The waters of Sydney Harbour were to plunge into darkness on Saturaday night, with the iconic Opera House and Harbour Bridge preparing to kill their lights in a global call for action on climate change.
Chatham Island, the largest of a tiny group of Pacific islands 800 kilometres southeast of New Zealand, kicked off Earth Hour by switching off its diesel generators at 0645 GMT, or 0830 pm local time.
But the 25 hour global energy saving marathon was to officially begin in Sydney at 0930 GMT with a spectacular switch to darkness before spreading across the world.
Millions in the harbourside city were expected to observe an hour without light to mark Earth Hour, a global grassroots movement that began in Sydney two years ago, when 2.2 million people switched off their lights.
It has since grown to include 3,929 cities, villages and localities across 84 countries.
“It is a very positive, hopeful campaign,” Andy Ridley, the event’s director, told reporters in Sydney.
“We want people to think, even if it is for an hour, what they can do to lower their carbon footprint and take that beyond the hour.”
Some 371 landmarks will power down the world over including the Vatican, Niagara Falls, the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building, the Las Vegas casino strip, the Acropolis and Beijing’s “Bird’s Nest” Olympic stadium.