I am sitting here in the wee hours of Saturday morning, March 29th, pecking away at the keyboard in hopes that everyone who reads my blog will tune in sometime during the next 17 hours. I am hoping for this because between 8 and 9 p.m. this evening, the entire world is being asked to “dim down” by turning off lights for one hour. The event, dubbed Earth Hour, is an international environmental awareness campaign that started last year in Sydney, Australia and that the World Wildlife Fund is taking global this year.
In Sydney last year, 2.2 million people and 2100 Sydney business establishments turned off their lights for an hour. The carbon emissions saved owing to the brief shut down amounted to the same as taking 48,000 cars off the road for an entire year. So far this year, 35 nations, 370 cities, towns and councils worldwide have pledged to turn out their lights for one hour. This includes Christchurch, New Zealand; Bangkok, Thailand; Seoul, South Korea; Dubai; Antarctica’s Casey Base; Manila, Philippines; Copenhagen, Denmark; Rome, Italy; Dublin, Ireland; and Mexico City.
Chicago is Earth Hour’s US flagship city, with Atlanta, San Francisco, Phoenix, and a dozen more joining in. In the windy city, local McDonald’s restaurants will dim their golden arches, theaters will darken their marquees, and Wrigley Field will go dark. The Sears Tower, the Hancock Building, the Ferris wheel on Navy Pier, and some 200 downtown buildings plan to turn out the lights at 8 p.m. Although the actual impact of turning off lights for one hour is minimal, promoters hope the event will get people talking about things that can be done to head off climate change and taking personal action to be better environmental stewards of our precious planet. I certainly plan to flip my switches to the off position for an hour and I hope you will participate as well.