So what exactly is Earth Hour?


on the cover: The Empire State Building in N.Y. has observed Earth Hour since 2008. (JUSTIN LANE/EPA)

From 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. (EST) on Saturday March 25, the east coast will go dark.

Okay, so it’s not as dramatic as that, but there will be tons of lights going out in honor of “Earth Hour.” Earth Hour is a non-profit event run by the World Wide Fund for Nature encouraging everyone, from small homes to major landmarks, to turn off as many lights as possible for an hour 8:30 p.m. — 9:30 p.m. local time.

The most famous structure in the “City of Light” goes dark for Earth Hour. (JOSE RODRIGUEZ/EPA)

So what even is it? It’s an awareness campaign for people all over the globe to commit to sustainable lifestyles and renewable energy. The Earth Hour website calls it a “fade out” rather than a “black out.” As their FAQ says, “Earth hour does not claim that the event is an energy or carbon reduction exercise” — instead it’s about informing and unifying people all over the globe to participate in actions that will save the planet.

It’s always on a Saturday in late March and always at 8:30 p.m. your local time — peak prime time (after sunset when major lights are on, but before the party scene really gets going…).

The event started in 2007 in Australia, when the World Wildlife Fund encouraged over 2 million Sydney residents to turn off their lights for one hour. Since then, an increasing number of countries and historical landmarks have participated.

The Empire State Building will dim its lights to a “faint sparkle.” The ESB has been participating in Earth Hour since 2008.

The Sydney and the Sydney Opera House were the first to recognize Earth Hour, back in 2007.

The Sydney and the Sydney Opera House were the first to recognize Earth Hour, back in 2007. (WILLIAM WEST/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

Audrey Pass, Chief Marketing Officer of Empire State Realty Trust told the Daily News how much it means for the ESB to participate in Earth Hour. “Our tower lights are admired and beloved around the globe. The Empire State Building shines a light on major global issues and is part of the international conversation.”

Other buildings and landmarks that have shut off their power across the globe include One Times Square, the United Nations Headquarters, the Eiffel Tower, the Colosseum in Rome, the Sydney Opera House and in 2016, even the International Space Station participated.

Don’t worry about safety — the campaign acknowledges that only “non-essential” lights be turned off — traffic lights and neighborhood street lights and lights to move around your home safely can remain on. But the campaign encourages the use of candles (just be careful!), night lights, and flashlights.

by Constance Gibbs –