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Observing the Impact of WWF Earth Hour on Urban Light Pollution: A Case Study in Berlin 2018 Using Differential Photometry

Leibniz Instute for Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, 12587 Berlin, Germany
GFZ German Centre for Geosciences, 14473 Potsdam, Germany
Sustainability 2019, 11(3), 750;
Received: 11 January 2019 / Revised: 24 January 2019 / Accepted: 28 January 2019 / Published: 31 January 2019
Earth Hour is one of the most successful coordinated mass efforts worldwide to raise awareness of environmental issues, with excessive energy consumption being one driver of climate change. The campaign, first organized by the World Wildlife Fund in Australia in 2007, has grown across borders and cultures and was celebrated in 188 countries in 2018. It calls for voluntarily reduction of electricity consumption for a single hour of one day each year. Switching off non-essential electric lights is a central theme and resulted in 17,900 landmarks going dark in 2018. This switch-off of lights during Earth Hour also leads to reduction of light pollution for this specific period. In principle, Earth Hour allows the study of light pollution and the linkage to electricity consumption of lighting. However, quantitative analysis of the impact of Earth Hour on light pollution (and electricity consumption) are sparse, with only a few studies published showing no clear impact or the reverse, suffering from residual twilight and unstable weather conditions. In this work, light pollution measurements during Earth Hour 2018 in an urban park (Tiergarten) in Berlin, Germany, are reported. A novel light measurement method using differential photometry with calibrated digital cameras enables tracking of the switching off and switching back on of the lights of Berlin’s iconic Brandenburg Gate and the buildings of Potsdamer Platz adjacent to the park. Light pollution reduction during the event was measurable, despite the presence of moonlight. Strategies for future work on light pollution using such events are discussed. View Full-Text
Keywords: light pollution; earth hour light pollution; earth hour
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Jechow, A. Observing the Impact of WWF Earth Hour on Urban Light Pollution: A Case Study in Berlin 2018 Using Differential Photometry. Sustainability 2019, 11, 750.

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