Manchester unplugged: Landmarks switch-off the lights in support of Earth Hour’s climate change awareness

By James McLaughlin

Manchester landmarks are being plunged into darkness as part of a worldwide climate change initiative, this Saturday.

The Imperial War Museum, The Trafford Centre’s Main Dome and Manchester Arndale’s iconic tower will switch off non-essential lighting as part of Earth Hour, between 8.30 – 9.30pm.

Old Trafford Football Ground, which has been involved every year since the scheme’s inception, will turn out its lights all night.

Manchester United Group Environmental Manager, Keith McIntosh, said: “We want to show it’s not just about an hour, we’re turning off for the whole night and the message extends even further than that.”

Organised by conservation charity WWF, Earth Hour started in 2007 with 2.2million people in Sydney, Australia turning off their lights.

Since then it has gained global momentum and Manchester continues to get more involved each year.

WWF spokesperson Giulia Biasibetti said: “Manchester has always given strong support to Earth Hour. Last year 19 schools signed up with Old Trafford and the Arndale Centre switching off their lights.”

The Arndale and Trafford Centre have been involved in Earth Hour for the last four years and have indicated that they will continue spreading the campaign’s message.

Director of Operations at The Trafford Centre, Gordon McKinnon, said: “Earth Hour is just one hour in our lives, but the effect it has can last all year round, and for the rest of our lives, so it’s bigger than just those 60 minutes of darkness.”

The scheme is designed to raise awareness of climate change and has involved switch offs around the globe including the Eiffel Tower, the Pyramids of Giza and Times Square.

David Allinson, Centre Director at Manchester Arndale, said: “Manchester Arndale is committed to helping the environment in which we live and work and every little action we make can collectively make a big impact.

“We hope to go beyond Earth Hour with a range of energy-efficient initiatives and sustainable projects at the centre.”

In addition to the landmarks extinguishing their lights, Manchester Metropolitan University have encouraged staff to turn off non-essential electrical appliances at the end of business today.

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