Minneapolis will join cities across the nation tonight and go dark for one hour.
The Minneapolis City Council decided earlier this month to participate in Earth Hour, a program that aims to spread awareness about the effects of electricity on global climate change. State organizers said electricity use in Minnesota accounts for 35 percent of greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.
Earth Hour is a way for people to express their concerns and their commitment to solving problems caused by global climate change. Participating businesses, people and organizations in Minneapolis will turn off their lights for one hour on Saturday from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Organizers said Minneapolis is the only city in Minnesota that has officially pledged to turn off its lights for Earth Hour, but several facilities in other Minnesota cities will also go dark.
According to the Earth Hour Web site, 15 schools, two universities, 26 businesses and 17 organizations throughout Minnesota will be shutting off their lights.
"It's great to see how enthusiastic people are about Earth Hour," said Gayle Prest, Minneapolis' sustainability manager. "It's addressing a serious issue, but we've had a lot of fun with it in the past."
Buildings that will be go dark include the the Stone Arch Bridge, and the City Hall's clock tower. Hilton Minneapolis and Wells Fargo will also turn off their lights, along with Hopkins High School and Mesabi Range Community and Technical College in Virginia, Minn. A full list of participating buildings is available on the Earth Hour Web site.
Prest said building fixtures that require constant electricity, such as hospitals, traffic lights and police stations, will not participate in the program.
Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia and has since spread to cities worldwide. In 2009, more than 50 million people in 400 cities across the globe turned off their lights. This year, more than 1,000 cities in 100 countries are expected to participate.