San Francisco landmarks take part in worldwide "Earth Hour"

March 24, 2013 12:29:47 PM PDT
The lights are all back on across the Bay Area after they went out for an hour Saturday night, on purpose. It was part of a global effort to encourage people to think about conservation.

At 8:30 p.m. the grand towers of the Golden Gate Bridge went dark. The glittery new art installation on the Bay Bridge went dark. And San Francisco City Hall went dark. At least one person came to Civic Center to see the lights go out.

"I was walking around the area and I remembered about it, and so I wanted to see it," San Francisco resident Min Hong said. "I'd never seen it ever so thought it would be kind of cool."

The lights going out was all part of Earth Hour.

Because of programs like the city's recent ban on plastic shopping bags, efforts to promote solar energy, and the city's comprehensive composting program, this year San Francisco was named Earth Hour City Capital for the U.S. The city was selected from 29 cities participating in the World Wildlife Foundation's Earth Hour challenge, and was awarded a $30,000 grant to promote renewable energy.

Earth Hour CEO Andy Ridley spoke to us via Skype from Singapore, "Common sense management of the city would say, save power by cutting the power you're using and make your city a better place to live in, which is pretty much what San Francisco has done," he said.

San Francisco joined other cities around the world with lights out. At 8:30 p.m. local time in Sydney, Australia they threw the switch on the Harbor Bridge. In Tokyo, Japan the Tokyo Tower went dark. And the House of Parliament in London went lights out.

The aim of all these iconic landmarks switching the lights off for an hour is to encourage the public to do the same.

"We actually are hoping that people might think about Earth Hour - hour by hour - every day," said Friday Apaliski, outreach coordinator for the San Francisco Department of Environment.

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