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Earth Hour organizers say it's about more than electricity

Flckr/Creative Commons

The City of Columbia is encouraging people to turn off the lights in their homes and buildings this Saturday in celebration of the annual Earth Hour event. Earth Hour is a global program that promotes energy savings, and Columbia has participated in it each year since 2008.

The city is hoping that this year’s Earth Hour event will help reduce its energy consumption. Columbia saw a two-megawatt reduction in its electric load during last year’s event. Columbia Water and Lights Spokesperson Connie Kacprowicz says that’s equivalent to the power used by 80 homes in Columbia. She says the goal this year is to reduce even more energy use. 

“The goal of Earth Hour is to not only get people to participate, but also grow our numbers each year,” said Kacprowicz. “We hope to at least sustain that two megawatt drop or maybe even reduce a little bit more this year”

Several landmarks in the City of Columbia will go dark during the Earth Hour event, including City Hall, the Jesse Hall dome and the Columns at MU.

Columbia Climate Change Coalition Spokesperson Monta Welch says participating in Earth Hour means more than saving electricity.

“It is a way to connect with human family that are all trying to raise the call to create a more sustainable, cleaner and healthier future for all of us, present and future generation,” said Welch.

Kacprowicz also expects Earth Hour to have a positive impact on the environment by raising awareness and encouraging use of public transportation. Columbia Transit is offering free bus rides during Saturday’s event.

Earth Hour takes place from 8:30 to 9:30 pm on Saturday, March 23rd.

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