Saturday, March 28, 2009

EARTH HOUR - Switch off your lights on March 28 from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m., local time.

This year, Earth Hour has been transformed into the world’s first global election, between Earth and global warming.

For the first time in history, people of all ages, nationalities, race and background have the opportunity to use their light switch as their vote – Switching off your lights is a vote for Earth, or leaving them on is a vote for global warming. WWF are urging the world to VOTE EARTH and reach the target of 1 billion votes, which will be presented to world leaders at the Global Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen 2009.

This meeting will determine official government policies to take action against global warming, which will replace the Kyoto Protocol. It is the chance for the people of the world to make their voice heard.

Earth Hour began in Sydney in 2007, when 2.2 million homes and businesses switched off their lights for one hour. In 2008 the message had grown into a global sustainability movement, with 50 million people switching off their lights. Global landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Rome’s Colosseum, the Sydney Opera House and the Coca Cola billboard in Times Square all stood in darkness.

In 2009, Earth Hour is being taken to the next level, with the goal of 1 billion people switching off their lights as part of a global vote. Unlike any election in history, it is not about what country you’re from, but instead, what planet you’re from. VOTE EARTH is a global call to action for every individual, every business, and every community. A call to stand up and take control over the future of our planet. Over 74 countries and territories have pledged their support to VOTE EARTH during Earth Hour 2009, and this number is growing everyday.

We all have a vote, and every single vote counts. Together we can take control of the future of our planet, for future generations.

VOTE EARTH by simply switching off your lights for one hour, and join the world for Earth Hour.

Do you want to show you care about energy conservation? Simply switch off your lights on March 28 from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m., local time.

This is Earth Hour, and Saturday is the third annual worldwide event. Earth Hour is both a symbolic act and the start of a practical habit.

Millions of homes and businesses and hundreds of major landmarks will go dark for one hour to show that energy conservation is important and to send this message to political leaders attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference in December 2009.

At the same time, Earth Hour reminds each of us how easy it is to conserve -- just turn off non-essential lights and electronics to reduce our own power consumption.

Lighting accounts for about 11 percent of a typical American home's energy bills, while computers and electronics add another 9 percent. So by shutting off these things when we're not using them, we can lower our load significantly.

Get into the habit this weekend with one hour in the dark. Make it fun by having dinner by candlelight, taking a stroll under the stars, or playing card games by a fire. The Daily Green has a few entertaining ideas for consenting adults too.

Earth Hour started in Australia and is sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund. Anyone can participate -- check out the website for details. At last count, 2,400 cities across 82 countries have officially signed up. 195 of these cities are in the United States.

Some famous buildings will be going dark on Saturday including: The Empire State Building in New York City, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the St. Louis Gateway Arch, the Sydney Opera House, the Sears Tower in Chicago, Seattle's Space Needle, the Great Pyramids and Sphinx in Egypt, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and Broadway theater marquees in New York City.

Even the flashy Las Vegas Strip will turn dark for an hour. Of course, the slot machines inside casinos will stay on, but almost all of the buildings and marquees on the Strip itself will be dark during Earth Hour.

For the very first time, the famous "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign will go off. Spokespeople say that Vegas lights have dimmed for a minute when a local celebrity dies, but the Strip and the sign have never gone dark for a full hour.

Other businesses are flicking the switch too. The golden arches at McDonald's in New Zealand and Canada will go dark, saving more than 10,000 kilowatt-hours for our neighbor to the north. The Canadian chain says it has also saved 3.1 million kilowatt-hours of energy through improved lighting, heating, and ventilation.

Both Nashville and Los Angeles are U.S. sponsor cities, so the Nashville Predators and the L.A. Kings hockey teams agreed to reschedule their game in Nashville to 5 p.m. The game should end around 7:30 p.m. with plenty of time for the arena to turn off the lights.

Blackberry addicts can log on before Earth Hour to a special website from Research in Motion. The company is encouraging fans of the mobile device to log-off for an hour and enjoy the silence.

You can even download a free iPhone game to remind you -- in advance -- to turn off the lights on Saturday. Anything to get the idea across, right?

Auto insurance company Esurance will offset your car's CO2 emissions at no extra cost if you buy an auto policy before Earth Hour. Of course, the kindest thing you can do for the planet is to drive less often.


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