Earth Hour and Arbor Day in Times of COVID-19

On Mar. 27 at 8.30 p.m., many buildings and landmarks throughout the city of Wiesbaden will turn off their lights for one hour (photo credit: Noah Buscher)

Every year, millions of people around the globe turn off their lights in recognition of the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) Earth Hour as a symbolic gesture of their commitment to preserving our planet.

Thousands of cities around the globe drape their buildings and landmark in total darkness for one hour between 8.30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m. local time.

Last year, more than 7,000 landmarks in more than 180 countries including landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, the Acropolis and the Skytree in Tokyo, went completely dark. In Germany, almost 400 cities and municipalities participated in the event, including numerous local companies and institutions.

For more than ten years, the city of Wiesbaden has been participating in the WWF Earth Hour with a public event full of music and entertainment elements in the Kulturpark at the Schlachthof.

However, this year is a lot different than previous years: The current pandemic situation is making public events impossible. Nevertheless, the city of Wiesbaden wants to support the WWF in their efforts to protect our earth. Therefore, on Mar. 27 at 8.30 p.m. many buildings and landmarks throughout the city will turn off their lights for one hour.

This year, the city of Wiesbaden’s Environmental Department is offering the chance to Wiesbadeners and those who call Wiesbaden their home in Germany to submit questions about how to make more climate-friendly decisions in one’s everyday life. The answers to the questions are part of a radio broadcast on Mar. 27.

Wiesbaden Environmental Department spokesperson Hella Frey encourages to submit questions in English. “Questions and suggestions can be submitted to the Instagram ( or Facebook ( channel of the city of Wiesbaden,” she said.

Similarly, following in April is another special day to recognize the importance of nature protection. Arbor Day is celebrated by many countries, but its date varies depending on the climate and suitable planting conditions. On this day, people are encouraged to plant trees – a tradition that dates back to the year 1872, on which an estimated one million trees were planted in Nebraska. The day has been celebrated in Germany since 1952 and has been set to happen every year on 25 April.

The city of Mainz, for example, donates young trees to Mainz residents every year. Residents have to apply to be considered by the city to receive a free tree planted in their backyard.

Public Affairs Officer of the city of Mainz, Ralf Peterhanwahr, confirms that the event “Der geschenkte Baum” (A tree for free) will come back this year. “It’s a very well-received event,” he said.