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Lights out for worldwide conservation

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Scott Jagow: A conservation group wants cities around the world to turn off their lights for an hour this weekend. Sarah Gardner reports from the Marketplace Sustainability Desk.


Sarah Gardner: The hour-long event starts at 8 p.m. local time tomorrow. If all goes according to plan, skylines in cities from Chicago to Dubai won’t shine as brightly. The World Wildlife Fund pulled this off in Australia last year, and will now try expanding it around the world.

Spokesman Dan Forman:

Dan Forman: It’s about doing small things because en masse, if everyone was to do these small things, they add up to big changes.

Still, Earth Hour has plenty of skeptics. Some called last year’s event a publicity stunt that inspired little long-term change.

Joe Loper at the Alliance to Save Energy says turning out the lights for an hour could raise environmental awareness, but it represents just a small percentage of household electricity use.

Joe Loper: Refrigerators are consuming electricity. There are a lot of what we call plug loads — computers, televisions, dishwashers, that sort of thing.

A number of major corporations are helping to sponsor the event, including McDonald’s. Nothing as drastic as Big Mac’s by candlelight, but the fast-food chain did promise to turn off the Golden Arches at nearly 500 outlets.

I’m Sarah Gardner for Marketplace.

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