Minneapolis turning out the lights for “Earth Hour” to raise awareness of global climate change

The Minneapolis City Council today approved a resolution to join “Earth Hour” again this year. Individuals, businesses, governments and organizations around the world turn off their lights for Earth Hour to make a global statement of concern about climate change and demonstrate their commitment to finding solutions. From 8:30 to 9:30 p.m., Saturday, March 29, the City will turn off the Stone Arch Bridge lights, the City Hall clock tower’s neon lights and all uses of electricity in major municipal buildings that are not required for life, safety or operations.

In 2012, 42 percent of greenhouse gas pollution – which contributes to global climate change – in Minneapolis came from electricity, and the City has set a target of reducing citywide carbon emissions 15 percent by 2015 and 30 percent by 2025 (using 2006 as a baseline). The Minneapolis Climate Action Plan, adopted in June of 2013, provides a roadmap for reducing citywide greenhouse gas emissions.

Residents and businesses of Minneapolis are encouraged to participate in Earth Hour and reduce their energy use during every hour of the year. While the City of Minneapolis always makes a practice of shutting off electricity when it’s not needed, Earth Hour encourages individuals, businesses and governments to show leadership on environmental solutions through their actions and to use Earth Hour as a platform to showcase to the world what measures they are taking to reduce their environmental impact. The City of Minneapolis has participated in Earth Hour since 2008.

Earth Hour organizers at World Wildlife Fund expect a record 158 countries and territories across some 7,000 cities and towns to participate in the world’s largest celebration for the planet tomorrow at 8:30 p.m. local time. Now in its eighth year, Earth Hour has evolved into the world’s largest environmental grassroots movement connecting hundreds of millions of people across all seven continents.Learn more, sign up and share your ideas at http://earthhour.org.

Lights Out for birds

Each year, the City also commends the city buildings that participate in Audubon Minnesota’s Lights Out program. Most birds migrate at night and can be drawn off course by tall, lighted structures in their flight path. Many birds are killed or injured in collisions with buildings or drop from exhaustion after circling them, reluctant to fly out of the light. Lights Out programs can dramatically reduce these collisions. In the voluntary program, building owners, managers and tenants work together to ensure that all unnecessary lights are off during spring and fall bird migration. In Minnesota, the Lights Out program has been ongoing since 2007. In addition to Audubon Minnesota, it is supported by the Greater Minneapolis and the Greater Saint Paul Building Owners and Managers Associations and by the individual building staff. Besides saving birds, the Lights Out program saves a considerable amount of energy and money and reduces carbon dioxide pollution.

Reduce energy use every hour of the year

Check out tips to reduce your energy use.

To learn more about Minneapolis’ sustainable policies and practices, visit www.minneapolismn.gov/sustainability.

Published Mar 28, 2014