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Lights Off for Earth Hour on Saturday

The lights will go out, but don’t be alarmed. There’s a simple explanation.

In response to a request from Washington and Lee’s Student Environmental Action League (SEAL), lights in Payne, Washington and Robinson Halls will be turned off between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, March 28, in observance of Earth Hour, which is expected to be the largest ever global demonstration of public concern for climate change. In a Campus Notice, SEAL urged students who live off campus to turn off the lights at their own houses during Earth Hour.

“It’s expected to be the largest international climate change statement ever made,” said Kara Fitzgibbon ’11, co-president of SEAL.  “This year the Earth Hour will happen in over 2,400 cities in 82 countries with an expected individual participation in the hundreds of millions. Buildings like the Empire State Building, the Acropolis in Athens, the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the Great Pyramids in Egypt and the Arch of Wembley Stadium in London will go dark.”

This year, Earth Hour has been transformed into the world’s first global election, between Earth and global warming. People of all ages, nationalities, race and background have the opportunity to use their light switch as their vote – switching off their lights is a vote for Earth.

The Earth Hour began in Sydney, Australia, 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, Rome’s Colosseum, the Sydney Opera House and the Coca Cola billboard in Times Square all stood in darkness for that hour.

“If anything, it’s an honor and a humbling opportunity to take part in such a monumental, historical event that truly stands for something,” Fitzgibbon went on to say. “At first it seems daunting to think of how much ought to change and how much is ahead of us in terms of improving the climate and environment, but it also seems the further you get involved, the more you realize how much you can play a part in this important change. This is one of those parts.”