Saturday, March 27, 2010

Northwest Herald | Lights go out tonight for Earth Hour

Northwest Herald | Lights go out tonight for Earth Hour

From Today's Northwest Herald:-)

Lights go out tonight for Earth Hour
At 8:30 p.m. today, residents and businesses across McHenry County will switch off their lights for the third annual Earth Hour: 60 minutes of voluntary darkness to conserve energy and illuminate the issue of climate change.

McHenry County participants, along with the Illinois government, the Empire State Building, actor Edward Norton, basketball player Steve Nash, and millions of people and organizations around the globe, will shut off their lights at 8:30 p.m. in their respective time zones as a worldwide “call for action on climate change,” ComEd Vice President Val Jensen said.

By shutting off lights around the world, individuals can come together to voice their concern about global warming and urge others to take notice, he said.

This year’s event, which is sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund and ComEd, is supposed to be the “largest public demonstration in history,” said Leslie Aun, the World Wildlife Fund’s vice president for public relations and the managing director for Earth Hour U.S. 2010.

“How many Saturday nights do you get to make history?” she said.

More than 115 countries and 25 states officially are slated to participate, with 45 national monuments flipping the switch, including Chicago’s Willis Tower.

But the event is really for “ordinary families and communities,” Aun said.

Cary resident Debra Kukulski, a local Realtor, has powered down for the past three years and has been busy encouraging friends, family and clients to participate. During Earth Hour, she shuts off all of her electronics, invites her friends over, and uses candles for light, she said.

“I think it’s just a really easy and fun way to show support that is not inconvenient in any way,” she said.

Last year Kukulski and her guests kept the lights off longer than the designated hour because it was so fun, she said.

Other McHenry County participants this year include local government offices, businesses and schools.

Duke’s Alehouse & Kitchen will be serving dinner by candlelight, and McHenry County Goddard Schools had environmental awareness activities all week, culminating in an Earth Hour celebration Friday that involved a flashlight talent show and a giant foam board light switch.

The events have made a big impact on the preschoolers’ environmental awareness, said Michele Clark, owner of the Lake in the Hills Goddard School.

“The kids are telling on their parents,” she said, adding that one came to school and tattled on her mom for throwing her gum out the window.

Earth Hour may be a “largely symbolic” call for action on climate change but can have a big effect on people’s attitudes toward conservation and the environment, Jensen said.

“What we are really hoping will happen is people will take this opportunity to think about things they can do every other hour and every other day to have a positive impact,” he said.

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