Earth Hour 2009 -- Saturday at 8:30 p.m.
Earth Hour is Saturday, March 28, at 8:30 p.m., when hundreds of millions of people around the world turn off their lights in a global "vote" for action on climate change.
Earth Hour Saturday will turn Broadway dark, dim Times Square's billboards, cut the Empire State and Chrysler buildings' glow, and shut off the lights around the world from landmarks like the Great Pyramids and the Eiffel Tower, to the homes of millions of ordinary citizens.
McDonald’s will even soften the yellow glow from some of its Golden Arches!
I get pretty excited for Earth Hour, first created in 2007 by the World Wildlife Fund in Sydney, Australia. That year, 2.2 million homes and businesses turned off their lights for one hour to make a statement about energy conservation. If you think that's a lot for its first year out of the gate, consider that 50 million people participated in 2008.
And for 2009, organizers have set the bar even higher, aiming to get 1 billion people onboard worldwide. This year's theme is "Vote Earth," the premise being that by going dark for one hour at exactly 8:30 p.m. local time, regardless of where you live, you'll be casting a global vote for the Earth.
When I was a kid, I loved blackouts. I remember a really big one that knocked power out to all of New York City for nearly 24 hours. Every person from every house in the neighborhood came out into the street. I remember one neighbor cutting up a watermelon and handing it out to all the kids. It was so cool to feel like we were part of a tightknit community (we weren't), making like we lived in a small town (we didn't). We played hopscotch by flashlight and got to stay up way past our bedtimes.
To this day, I love it when the power goes out. It forces my family to reconnect. No TV, no computers, no distractions. Some of my fondest memories as an adult stem from the few times the power has gone out, playing charades with my kids by candlelight. ("Frank Sinatra doing the minuet!!!" -- don't ask -- you had to be there.)