Scots are preparing to celebrate Earth Hour this weekend. 

The annual event takes place this Saturday - but what is it?

Here is everything you need to know about Earth Hour 2021.

What is Earth Hour?

Earth Hour is a global switch-off event organised annually by WWF.

Individuals, households, communities and businesses in 185 countries are encouraged to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour to show their support for the planet.

The first Earth Hour was held by WWF Australia on 31 March 2007, when more than 2.2 million Sydney-siders turned their lights off.

But Earth Hour is not just about saving electricity one hour a year.

It is the culmination of a grassroots movement that every day encourages people to protect nature and take action against climate change.

Its aim is to spark conversations on issues like climate change and loss of habitat and biodiversity, and inspire initiatives to tackle them.

HeraldScotland: Earth Day girl candleEarth Day girl candle

What’s new this year?

In 2020, the world failed to meet the targets set a decade ago to prevent nature loss.

Earth Day 2021 will be focused on drawing public attention to this issue.

Marco Lambertini, director general at WWF International, said: "Healthy natural ecosystems are the cornerstone of thriving, equitable and sustainable societies.

“Our current socio-economic models are leading to the devastating destruction of nature which is increasing our vulnerability to pandemics, accelerating climate change, and placing livelihoods at risk.'

''2021 is a crucial year for humanity. As the world tries to turn the tide and recover from the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic and rebuild itself, we need to put nature at the centre of our recovery efforts to future proof our economies and societies.

“Earth Hour is a critical moment for individuals, leaders, and environmentalists to unite and call for urgent action to reverse nature loss and secure a nature-positive world by 2030.” 

Since public sighting of entire cities switching off will not be possible this year, WWF came up with Earth Hour Virtual Spotlight.

They are inviting supporters to recreate the same unmissable sight online, by watching and sharing a must-see video that will be posted on the night. The goal: making it the most-watched video in the world on March 27 and beyond.

HeraldScotland: Earth Hour girl reading lightEarth Hour girl reading light

How can I get involved?

WWF is encouraging people to support Earth Hour within the confinements of their homes. 

Designing a window poster, sharing nature-themed content online and writing letters are all creative ways to speak up for nature..  

The organisation behind Earth Hour is also inviting people to stay connected online despite Covid-19. You can do this joining one of their events and using their gifs – especially created for the occasion – and the hashtag #ForNature.

Something as simple as talking to friends and family about nature can get them to change their behaviour. You can also share your story on Instagram with the hashtag #VoiceForNature for a chance to see your face on the Earth Hour website.

Earth Hour is also a good occasion to introduce a new habit that benefits the planet, like cutting down meet or turning the tap off while brushing your teeth.

You can visit the Earth Hour resources to discover why your actions matter.

Earth Hour also reminds us that if we come together to ask for change, leaders will be forced to take action to reverse nature loss. For example, you can make your voice heard signing petitions.  

HeraldScotland: Earth Hour candlesEarth Hour candles

When is it?

Earth Hour will take place on Saturday, 27 March at 8:30pm at your local time.

The Earth Hour website has a list of more than 20 things you can do at home for a memorable night.