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Orchestrated with the help of a Dubai Police marching band, more than 60 pavilions at Expo 2020 sequentially turned off their lights for 60 seconds over the course of Earth Hour on Saturday night, creating a stunning domino light effect and attracting thousands of spectators.

The “Switch Off Parade” was organized by Emirates Nature and WWF International to raise awareness of climate change and the need to care for our planet. Cities around the world powered down their nonessential lights for an hour on March 26, as is custom since the Earth Hour movement began in 2007.

As part of this year’s campaign in the UAE, with switching off all lighting at the expo not feasible for health and safety reasons, Emirates Nature and WWF International organized the special public event as an awareness-raising solution. Starting at Peru at 8.30 p.m. and terminating outside the UK an hour later, each of the participating pavilions — namely the Saudi Pavilion, Slovenia Pavilion and Terra District — switched off its electricity for one minute as the marching band passed.

“It is apt to have carried out this year’s event at Expo 2020 as it embodies the UAE’s vision of being at the forefront of sustainable development through innovation,” said Laila Mostafa Abdullatif, director general of Emirates Nature-WWF.

“Although Expo 2020 is coming to an end, the legacy of what has been built — the ideas, the cooperation, and the symbolism of the world in one place looking toward a prosperous future where people and planet collaboratively thrive — illuminates how we must move forward. We’ve received overwhelming support this year from corporate entities, individuals from all across the country and the youth of our nation. Their participation and involvement has supplemented our belief that we’re on the right track to truly ‘Shape our Future.’ Our message to everyone out there is that this is just the beginning. It’s time to go ‘Beyond the Hour’ and become a true ‘Leader of Change’,” she added.

“This year’s Earth Hour at Expo 2020 was a massive success. In addition to over 100 participants in the parade march, there were thousands of spectators along Al-Ghaf Avenue, a major artery that runs through Expo 2020. The rallying of the parade marchers and the pavilion switch off was significant as it correlates our overall mission — to collectively come together, lead the change toward the climate crisis and go beyond the hour to shape the future,” said Rasna Al-Khamis, director of marketing and engagement for Emirates Nature-WWF.

In addition to the Switch-Off Parade, the likes of Burj Khalifa, Burj Al-Arab, the Museum of the Future, the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi, and various other famous landmarks across the country also powered down, and a significant number of residents took part in their own switch off.

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