Earth Hour 2011: Going Beyond the Hour

We’re happy to share a guest post from Maureen Meehan of Earth Hour Illinois. At Hotel Felix, we’re turning off all our non-emergency lights for the hour.  Elate Restaurant, the delicious hot spot adjacent to us, is doing the same plus adding extra candles in honor of Earth Hour.  Let us know what are you doing to celebrate Earth Hour and the environment.

Chicago’s skyline will be going dark this Saturday, March 26th from 8:30-9:30 p.m. The city’s skyscrapers will join millions around the world in turning off their lights in honor of Earth Hour. Hosted locally by ComEd, Earth Hour encourages citizens to take simple steps — turning out the lights — in a symbolic gesture of solidarity to create a more sustainable future for our planet.

Earth Hour began in Sydney, Australia in 2007, when two million people switched off their lights in an effort to raise awareness about climate change. By 2010, Earth Hour had created history as a landmark of environmental action, with participation across 128 countries and throughout every continent. Last year, some of the world’s most recognized landmarks participated in this historic event, including China’s Forbidden City, the Eiffel Tower, Buckingham Palace, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Great Pyramids of Giza, Table Mountain, the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro and Sydney’s Opera House.

This year, Earth Hour organizers are encouraging supporters to go “beyond the hour.” In addition to turning their lights off for one hour, participants are asked to take additional steps in their daily lives to help conserve energy. This could mean biking to the office once a week, starting a recycling program at school or at work, or simply being more mindful of electricity usage.

Once again, Chicagoans have taken Earth Hour 2011 to a creative level. Restaurants are offering specials prepared using minimal energy, bars are mixing up “green” and Earth Hour-themed cocktails and families are hosting lights-out game nights. For more ideas on how you can get involved and go beyond the hour, visit BeyondTheHour.org or ComEd.com/SmartIdeas. Be sure to share your participation stories with Earth Hour Illinois on Facebook and Twitter. For additional resources, check out EarthHour.org.