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The firm’s chair Lyubov Duyko shut off the lights in St. Petersburg’s downtown to take part in Earth Hour 2015

3 April 2015

On March, 28, between 8:30 PM and 9:30 PM more than 150 countries around the world hosted the so-called Earth Hour – it is an annual international event under the auspices of the World Wildlife Fund. St. Petersburg participated in it very actively: about twenty buildings and bridges of the city on the Neva River at the time shut down the lights, including the Winter Palace, the Palace Square, Peter and Paul Cathedral, and others, and also the TV tower, the Old St. Petersburg Stock Exchange and Rostral Columns on Vasilievsky Island, some buildings on Nevsky Prospect, as well as the University embankment, the Palace embankment and English embankment, and major bridges, such as the Palace bridge, Troitsky bridge, Blagoveshchensky and Old Exchange bridges.

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Alexandrovsky Gardens hosted a festival flashmob organized by the “I want to make my city better” Youth Environmental Movement. Amongst the participants one could find the Russian Minister of Environment Sergey Donskoy, St. Petersburg vice-governor Igor Albin, WWF Russia’s environmental policy director Evgeny Shvarts, Deputy Chair of the Central Council of the All-Russian Society for Environmental Protection Lyubov Duyko and the Head of the “I want to make my city better” Movement Elvira Reutskaya.

Addressing the audience, Sergey Donskoy said that this year’s Earth Hour managed to engage more than a hundred Russian cities and more than 20 million people, as well as all of the country’s the natural reserves and national. And it is only Russia of all the countries participating in the event, where the main architectural symbol of state power, the Kremlin, will not be lighted during the Earth Hour, and this shows the massive involvement in the event of all kinds of people, from ordinary citizens to the country’s President.

St. Petersburg Vice-Governor Igor Albin welcomed a large number of young people who gathered in Alexandrovsky Gardens. "Everything that is going on around me – it is all my responsibility. My house, my street, my yard, my city, my country, my world! It is extremely important to care!"- thus he outlined the position of St. Petersburg. Vice-Governor stressed that many places of the city that are famous amongst its residents and guests will lose their usual decorations of lights during this hour, but they will nevertheless be lighted by the hearts of the people who participated in the campaign. "A unique phenomenon in the universe - Planet Earth, is a large and very complex living organism, there are no secondary parts in it, each part - soil, air, people, plants, animals – is an element of a vast ecosystem, and we must save this world as it is" he said.

"This event is about good and about care. Care of our planet and of the environment. It is so much necessary at our time. And so it is splendid that so many young people support us tonight. Let this hour without light provide us not only with energy savings, but also with a moment to think of the global problems of our Earth. The planet where we live depends on each of you, " – said Lyubov Duyko, Deputy Chair for Legal Affairs of the All-Russian Society for Environmental Protection.

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Evgeny Shvarts, Lyubov Duyko and Elvira Reutskaya also spoke on the importance of the public interest in the environmental problems of the planet and of the solidarity with the event’s participants around the world.

At 8 30 PM Moscow time a symbolic button was pressed by the stage the dispatch center of the St. Petersburg State Unitary Enterprise "Lensvet" shut off the lights of the buildings and bridges and at the same time the honorary participants of the event in Alexandrovsky Gardens lit ceremoniously the "candle of the good" the fire from which they shared with environmental volunteers and youth participants, and 200 candles started to fire in the crowd. The event continued with a concert "Music of the Elements", with classical and contemporary pieces performed on the original glassware. Children's choir sang compositions on love for nature and environmental activists of the youth movement "I want to make your city a better place" then released glowing balloons in the air.

According to the calculations of St. Petersburg State Unitary Enterprise "Lensvet", this year's electricity consumption in the city during the Earth Hour decreased by 1.3 Megawatts. "The volume of energy we spared which amounts to 7000 rubles might seem insignificant to the sceptics, but it is not the main thing, the main thing is our share in the great cause of saving the energy for our planet Earth, though not in the original way, but in the way that is comfortable for all of us," commented Igor Albin.

Earth Hour takes place throughout the world on the last Saturday of March in order to inspire everyone – individuals, organizations, schools, municipalities and businesses – to shut off the lights and electricity for one hour and to attract public attention to the problems of climate change and the use of natural resources. Russia has started participating in Earth Hour since the year 2009.

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