Earth hour

Landmarks, hotels & airports turning off lights for Earth Hour

(courtesy: Jorge Sierra / WWF-Spain)

Attention travelers and aliens assigned to monitor our planet from outer space: you may notice major landmarks, tourist attractions, and large areas of many cities and towns around the world going dark for an hour on March 27.

Do not be alarmed. It’s just Earth Hour, a rolling, global black-out designed to draw attention to climate change. First organized in Sydney, Australia back in 2007, during last year’s Earth Hour there were voluntary lights-out events in 87 countries. This year, millions of people, more than 115 countries, thousands of cities and hundreds of major attractions and landmarks worldwide have pledged to switch off the lights for an hour as well.

My msnbc.com column this week, Lights out for climate change, lists just some of the landmarks and attractions participating in the carefully choreographed event that kicks off Saturday night at 8:30 p.m. local time in New Zealand’s Chatham Islands and then follow time zones around the globe, ending with an hour of darkness in the South Pacific island of Samoa almost 25 hours later.  You can see the complete list on the Earth Hour website,  but some of the places that will go dark include the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building, the Golden Gate Bridge, UN Headquarters in NY, Seattle’s Space Needle and the Smithsonian Castle in Washington, D.C.

(courtesy WWF / Maverick Photo Agency)

Some people think the whole Earth Hour project is silly.  But no matter where you stand on the issue of global warming or the ability of a single, simple event to make a difference, it will be impressive to see so many usually-lit places go dark, if just for an hour.

Many hotels around the world are participating in Earth Hour by turning off lights in public areas and offering candlelit dinners.  In England, though, when five Starwood hotels turn off their lights, hotel staff will begin pedaling special bicycles that will generate enough power to light up the hotel lobbies.

Several airports are also joining in Earth Hour as well, turning off lights that are not essential for safety or security.  You’ll notice lights out at airports in Toronto, Calgary, Amsterdam, London (Luton), Singapore, and Los Angeles, where the iconic, colorful, 100-foot-tall LAX Gateway pylons that stand at the airport’s entrance will glow a steady, solid green between 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. and then turn off completely between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m.

(courtesy Los Angeles International Airport)

Lights out at airports during Earth Hour

In my column about tourist destinations and travel spots planning to turn out lights for this Saturday’s Earth Day event, there are two (so far) airports.

But don’t be alarmed – there is no plan to put anyone in harm’s way by turning off important runway or tower lights.

Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, which participated in the event last year, will turn off many of the indoor and outdoor signs, some lights in the terminals and many of the moving walkways.

At Los Angeles International Airport, the focus will be on the iconic 100-foot tall colorful light pylons that illuminate the airport entrance and serve as a backdrop for many film and TV scenes. The pylons will be lit solid green for 60 minutes before Earth Hour and then be turned off completely for the event.

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Here’s a link to the full story, which has a description of how all the lights will go out on the Las Vegas Strip including, for the first time ever, the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign.

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Photo courtesy The Firm Public Relations & Marketing.

Alanis Morissette clips toenails on airplane

Celebrities are joining in to promote Earth Hour, March 28th, and Alanis Morissette – and her toenails – star in this PSA about the event.

I include it here on the Stuck at the Airport blog because, to promote the big “turn off” day, Morissette is shown clipping her toenails in her airplane seat – to the shock and dismay of her seatmate.

Earth Hour: The Huge Turn Off- Alanis Morissette PSA

Airports get ready for Earth Hour -March 28

Some airports are making plans to participate in Earth Hour – one hour on March 28th when perhaps a billion people around the world will be turning off lights and unplugging whatever they can.

Toronto Pearson International Airport got involved last year and will do so again this year.  In fact, an airport spokesperson told The Star that there were some lights that got turned off last year that never got turned back on – and no one noticed.

I’m going to try that in my house!

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