An hour of darkness: Earth Hour 2015 kicks off around the globe Live updates

Hong Kong's central financial district's (L-R) Bank of China Tower, Cheung Kong Centre, HSBC headquarters and Standard Chartered Bank are pictured with most of their lights switched off during Earth Hour March 28, 2015.(Reuters / Tyrone Siu)
This year some 7,000 cities in 27 different time zones will be flicking off their lights in observation of the ninth annual Earth Hour, in an effort to raise climate change awareness and spread the message of energy conservation.

Iconic landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower, London’s Big Ben, as well as the gargantuan Moscow State University building are slated to participate in the symbolic switching-off.

The campaign was started in Australia by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in 2007 with 2.2 million people taking part, and since then swept across the world in what the WWF calls “the world’s largest grassroots movement.”

This year in Australia, one of the first countries to hit the 8:30pm start time, the event is meant to highlight the impact of climate change on farming.

The United Nations has also voiced support for the event. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that this year’s Earth Hour holds particular significance as it comes just nine months before a key UN climate crisis meeting in Paris.

“Climate change is a people problem. People cause climate change and people suffer from climate change. People can also solve climate change,” he said in a video address. “This December in Paris, the United Nations is bringing nations together to agree a new, universal and meaningful climate agreement. It will be the culmination of a year of action on sustainable development.”