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Environment & Energy

Earth Hour Returns

The lights will go off at many major buildings in Pittsburgh for an hour tomorrow night. Saturday from 8:30-9:30 PM, Pittsburgh will officially participate in Earth Hour, a global event aimed at making a statement about climate change and energy use by doing something simple: turning off lights for one hour.

In 2007, the first Earth Hour occurred in Sydney, Australia with 2.2 million people turning off their lights. By 2011, 135 countries and more than 1.8 billion people participated in Earth Hour. That included 100 million Americans and iconic American landmarks such as the Seattle Space Needle, the Las Vegas Strip, and the Brooklyn Bridge.

Councilman William Peduto has led the Earth Hour movement in Pittsburgh since its inception locally in 2008, and he says families can easily participate in Earth Hour as well.

"Switch your computer over, instead of having it in a socket charging all the time, put it on a power strip, and when it doesn't need to be charging, turn that power strip off," said Peduto. "At the end of the day, you'll save on your electric bill."

Pittsburgh was one of the first cities after Sydney to take up the idea of Earth Hour. All the major universities within the Pittsburgh area participate, including the University of Pittsburgh, Point Park University, Duquesne University, and Carnegie Mellon University. Businesses within the Pittsburgh region that participate include UPMC, Highmark, the Consol Energy Center, and the Rivers Casino.

Peduto says he's proud of the city's continued environmental role.

"Pittsburgh's universities, medical centers, corporations, and cultural institutions have long been leaders of the region, and it is only appropriate that they lead Pittsburgh's Earth Hour efforts," Peduto said.