Wednesday, March 26, 2008

chicago and san francisco go dark for earth hour

The Chicago Tribune reports that there will be dark spots in the Chicago skyline for an hour Saturday night when more than 160 downtown buildings switch off their lights. The Sears Tower, John Hancock Center, the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel, 485 area McDonald's and Chicago's theaters (Oriental Theatre, Cadillac Palace and the LaSalle Bank Theatre) all plan on participating by switching off as many "non-essential" lights as possible as part of the Earth Hour global campaign to raise awareness about climate change. The Allerton Hotel will even be turning off its historic "Tip-Top-Tap" sign during the night-time hours for the first time since the 1940s.

The World Wildlife Fund
’s (WWF) Earth Hour climate change campaign is largely symbolic in an effort to get the word out about reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions.

Although it can be a little more than symbolic. At the first Earth Hour in Sydney, Australia, on March 31. 2007, the site claims, "Over 2.2 million Sydney residents and over 2,100 businesses switched off, leading to a 10.2% energy reduction across the city." But organizers stress that Earth Hour is more than cutting back for one hour. It's about "taking a stand and thinking ahead about what you, your neighbors and your city can do to slow climate change."
Chicago will serve as the U.S. flagship city for Earth Hour in 2008, with Atlanta, Phoenix and San Francisco joining as leading partner cities. But everyone throughout the US and around the world is invited and encouraged to turn off their lights for an hour on March 29 at 8 p.m. local time--whether at home or at work, with friends and family or solo, in a big city or a small town. (main site)
Interstingly enough, San Francisco was so inspired by last year's Sydney event, that they created Lights Out San Francisco and held a citywide energy conservation event on October 20, 2007. For that hour, such icons as the TransAmerica Building, Alcatraz, the Golden Gate and Bay bridges and City Hall turned off their lights. To promote long-lasting energy saving, organizers distributed free compact fluorescent light bulbs throughout the city. They were planning the second Lights Out event for March 29, 2008, but out of solidarity, Lights Out has chosen to support the Earth Hour campaign instead.

Both of my favorite cities offer suggestions to promote energy consciousnes after the event - check out both San Francisco's and Chicago's energy saving tips.

According to NBC News, Earth Hour will "literally be a worldwide event. It will start in Christchurch, New Zealand, and then roll through 14 time zones and 25 cities in 10 countries, including Brisbane, Bangkok, Tel Aviv, Copenhagen, Dublin and Toronto. It will be the largest worldwide voluntary power down in history, according to WWF officials." Pretty good for an event that only happened in Sydney last year!

Some of the international cities choosing to participate in the 2008 event include Atlanta, San Francisco, Phoenix, Bangkok, Ottawa, Vancouver, Montreal, Dublin, Brisbane, Sydney, Perth, Melbourne, Canberra, Adelaide, Copenhagen, Aarhus, Aalborg, Odense, Manila, Suva, Chicago, Tel Aviv, Toronto and Christchurch.

Will you participate?

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