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'Earth Hour' tonight: lights out 8:30 to 9:30

One billion people, major cities worldwide pull the plug

Posted: March 28, 2009 2:12 a.m.
Updated: March 28, 2009 10:00 a.m.

For those who'd like to get a jump on celebrating Earth Day later this month, Earth Hour tonight provides an early opportunity. 

The nonprofit Earth Hour organization, in association with other groups such as the World Wildlife Fund, has asked environmentally conscious people worldwide to turn off their electric lights for 60 minutes, starting at 8:30 p.m. tonight local time.

“Help make Earth Hour a powerful statement on climate change that can’t be ignored by turning off your lights tonight at 8.30 pm in your time zone.” said Andy Ridley, Earth Hour executive director.

Organizers have invited a billion people in more than 2,800 cities representing 83 countries on all seven continents, as well as more than 800 international monuments, icons and landmarks, to join them in killing the juice for an hour.

The idea is to underscore savings that we can achieve by cutting our energy consumption, and how much we can reduce the negative effects on Earth's atmosphere.

The "lights out" event also points out what could happen if the electric power grid so mission-critical to Americans' way of life is interrupted by natural or man-created catastrophe.

The hour of darkness could be fun. The group is inviting people to upload photos and videos documenting their experience.

Other creative ways to spend the hour could result in a baby boom nine months from now.

Along with the WWF, Earth Hour has backing and support of major online players such as Google, which is helping to promote the hour on the Internet with a rare link on its traditionally Zen home page.

Google also suggests computer users adjust the power settings on their machines to minimize wasted energy. Users can save up to $60 per year on electric bills and cut almost half a ton of carbon dioxide emission sin to the atmosphere over the next year, according to Google, which refers to the Climate Savers Computing Initiative for details.

Social-networking fans can help by joining Earth Connect to share opinions about climate change using blogs, e-mail and Twitter. This effort aims to gather a billion words to present at November's U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.

College students can help by mobilizing their schools' efforts to adopt green computing practices. Students may pledge to Power Down for the Planet and produce a video offering tips on cleaner computing.

"Earth Hour is about more than dimming lights for 60 minutes; it’s about making a commitment to reduce energy consumption throughout the year,"


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