Don’t panic if the lights suddenly go out at your favorite restaurant or your neighbor’s house abruptly goes dark on March 28 at 8:30pm. The temporary absence of light is part of Earth Hour, a worldwide campaign to conserve energy and increase awareness about climate change.Earth Hour, a program of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), began in Sydney, Australia in 2007, when 2.2 million homes and businesses switched off their lights for one hour. In 2008, the number of Earth Hour participants grew to 50 million. This year, an estimated 1 billion people will participate, and the City of Santa Monica will be one of 2,500 cities in 82 countries going dark for a good cause. If you’re used to using the brightly lit Ferris wheel on the Santa Monica Pier as a beacon, don’t rely on its glittering guidance Saturday night. The Ferris wheel will go dark for Earth Hour, joining hundreds of other global landmarks throughout the world. The Golden Gate Bridge won’t shine during Earth Hour, nor will Rome’s Colosseum, the Sydney Opera House, or the Capitol Records building in Hollywood. Per the request of Santa Monica City Councilmember Kevin McKeown, the City will do its part to choose candles instead of bulbs during the international event. “This should be a fun way for Santa Monica to show leadership in environmental issues,” McKeown said. “The Pier Ferris wheel will go dark for an hour, and I’m hoping to engage local restaurants in offering candlelight dinner specials for this one night.”Apparently, McKeown’s wish for restaurant participation in Earth Hour has come true. Megan Sheehy, General Manager of Locanda Del Lago in Santa Monica, said the restaurant’s kitchen lights will stay on during Earth Hour, but the dining room will be totally dark except for candle light. “We will offer our fixed menu and some special cocktails with fresh citrus from the farmers market to emphasize the importance of sustainable food practices and to support local growers,” Sheehy said. “We try to participate in any event that has to do with sustainability to make sure future generations can enjoy everything we enjoy.”In Los Angeles, L.A. Live will host a free Earth Hour celebration starting at 6:00pm. No matter where you are during Earth Hour, it only takes the flip of a switch to join the worldwide darkness. Don’t be left out in the light. For more information, visit www.earthhour.org.
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