Steamboat Springs You’ve all heard of Earth Day, but Earth Hour? Started three years ago in Sydney in collaboration with the World Wildlife Federation, the first Earth Hour joined more than 2 million Australian homes in darkness, as families, businesses and politicians turned off their lights one night in late March to make a statement. The statement revolves around a message of action, to show that Australian citizens were not taking this world and their power source for granted, and that one simple act can make a difference worldwide.
In 2009, in just two short years, major global landmarks were participating, and nearly 1 billion people turned their lights out for one hour that night. Among the most noticeable darkened monuments were Rome’s Coliseum, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, and Paris’ Eiffel Tower. That year, 4,100 cities in 87 countries registered for Earth Hour.
For this year, Earth Hour is from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. March 27 in each time zone. If all goes as planned, a ripple of darkness will stretch across the Earth, a wonderful sight for a satellite or space shuttle. New U.S. additions this year include Seattle’s Pike Place Market, Mount Rushmore, the Empire State Building and Las Vegas’s MGM Mirage.
Cities are encouraged to sign up at www.myearthhour.org to get an informational packet about how to get involved safely and what key landmarks’ lights to participate with. Locally, the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council is spreading the word through its partnerships with the city of Steamboat Springs, Routt County offices, the Steamboat Ski Area, the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, as well as the Teen Council and the high school Eco Club, to name a few.
The city officially will participate in its first Earth Hour this year by turning off lights of several key buildings. The ski area will host a candlelight dinner at Hazie’s and Ragnar’s, and other businesses, restaurants, hotels, and organizations still are formulating their plans for the evening. Posters were handed out at the Steamboat Restaurant Association’s monthly meeting, which was focused on “greening” your restaurant. So don’t be surprised if you find yourself enjoying a romantic candlelit dinner March 27.
The Earth Hour Web site is a helpful resource, offering planning kits for individuals and businesses, participation maps, “Earth Hour en espanol,” posters and participating-business sign logos, and an educational section about carbon waste. To see so many joining in on this global event is inspiring, and I hope to see Steamboat dark March 27.
The mission of the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council is to provide leadership to advance environmental, economic, and social sustainability for current and future generations through education, programs, and building collaboration among individuals, organizations, businesses, and government. Visit www.yvsc.org to sign up for our newsletter.