By Michele Richinick, Globe Correspondent
Lights on the famous Citgo sign, Zakim Bridge, Prudential Center, John Hancock Tower, and other local landmarks will “go dark” for one hour this month as Boston joins cities across the world in a climate-change campaign.
On March 28, from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., more than 1,000 cities in 80 countries will participate in Earth Hour, The sponsor of the event, World Wildlife Fund, is asking individuals, businesses, governments, and organizations to turn off their lights for one hour to make a global statement of concern about climate change and to demonstrate commitment to finding solutions.
"We are asking people to vote with their light switch,” said Dan Forman, a spokesman for World Wildlife Fund. “For every light they turn off, it is in effect a vote for action on climate change.”
Mayor Thomas Menino announced Boston's participation in the campaign this morning at a news conference.
“We are very happy everyone in the mayor’s office is fully on board,” Forman said. “Boston has always been thought of as a progressive-thinking city. For them to come out and take action on climate change and rally the citizens behind this shows [Boston is] making a commitment to join a global deal when it comes to climate change.”
Other participating US cities include Washington, D.C., New York City, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, and Dallas, Forman said. Acton, Mass. is also included on the list, which Forman said grows “by leaps and bounds” each day. Universities, including Harvard University, have signed up to campaign for the cause.
Two million people participated in the first Earth Hour in 2007, which began in Sydney. Last year, the event went global – more than 400 cities around the world participated. Fifty million people around the world -- 36 million people in the United States -- shut off their lights to raise awareness. Last year, lights on structures like the Golden Gate Bridge, Opera House in Sydney and Empire State Building went dark, as well as the Google homepage.
Here are links to the cities participating this year, a previous story from us on this year's Earth Hour, and a striking photo gallery of city skylines -- with lights on and off -- from Earth Hour '08.
Readers, are you going to turn the turn your lights out for Earth Hour? Do you applaud Boston's effort -- or do you think it's kind of a gimmick? Let us know in our Comments section.