SINGAPORE - Iconic landmarks in downtown Singapore, such as the ArtScience Museum, Esplanade, Gardens by the Bay and Singapore Flyer, went dark at 8.30pm on Saturday (March 25) as non-essential lights were switched off for the world's largest grassroots movement for the environment - Earth Hour.
At the F1 Pit in Marina Bay, 35,000 people - the largest turnout in the annual event's history in Singapore - watched a light show and music performances, as well as took part in a night run, in what the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said was a show of mass support for environmental action.
This year, being the tenth anniversary of the first Earth Hour in 2007, was celebrated with a special event, the 5km Earth Hour Run, where reusable bottles were distributed instead of the usual disposable cups, and participants were also offered water in jelly form to reduce waste. Winners were given biodegradable medals that would sprout basil shoots if planted.
The run was held together with the annual Osim Sundown Marathon, both of whose carbon emissions generated by waste, transport and other energy use were offset by WWF through financial contributions to other projects that help reduce emissions.
"Earth Hour shows how everyone can play a part in shining a light on environmental action and this year, we aim to redefine what sustainability means for people in an urban city like Singapore," said WWF-Singapore's communications director Kim Stengert.
"Introducing environment-friendly solutions to meet the demands of a large-scale, high-intensity event like the 5km Earth Hour Run shows that with collective action, every sustainable choice makes an impact," he added.
Across Singapore, people at venues ranging from shopping malls to hotels to community centres partook in activities to mark Earth Hour.
At the Star Vista shopping mall, shoppers pedalled hard on stationary bikes to generate electricity to illuminate Disney Tsum Tsum displays during lights-out, while patrons at selected Breadtalk outlets across Singaporecoloured artwork of endangered wildlife.
At Royal Plaza on Scotts, guests dined on vegetables grown on the hotel's roof. The hotel said this reduces the carbon footprint of transportation.
The heartlands were buzzing with green activities too.
At "Just One Earth" organised by the North East Community Development Council at Serangoon Community Club, pre-schoolers and their families created new things from old, such as aprons from old shirts and garbage enzymes from fruit peels.
Accounts manager Amith Malani, 34, who came with his four-year-old daughter Aanya, said: "I am so glad I came because as parents we are always busy working...we benefited a lot from today's programme. I can now tell my daughters that things can be recycled and we should not cultivate the habit of buy and throw."