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Southern California landmarks to join in “Earth Hour” event

March 26, 2011 |  6:05 pm

Notable Southern California landmarks such as the glowing pylons at Los Angeles International Airport and the Queen Mary in Long Beach will go dark between 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Saturday night in observance of international "Earth Hour." 

Millions of people from more than 100 countries and territories are expected to participate in the event by switching off lights and nonessential appliances in order to conserve energy and demonstrate an awareness of environmental conservation.

At LAX, the 100-foot-tall pylons will glow solid green an hour before the event and then go dark, according to airport officials.  The color-changing LAX Gateway pylons were installed in August 2000. Five years later, airport workers installed a new system of LED fixtures that consume 75% less electricity than the previous lamps and burn for 75,000 to 100,000 hours, compared to 3,000 hours for the original lights, according to airport officials.

In Long Beach the Queen Mary's exterior lights will be turned off. The event will be accompanied by entertainment, such as the ship's captain answering historical questions and local competitive cyclists producing energy for a light display. Participants will also receive vendor giveaways. Hotel guests will be asked to turn off their nonessential stateroom lights.

In Santa Monica, the famous Pacific Wheel on the city's pier will go dark. The ferris wheel's emergency lights will remain on.

At the Home Depot Center in Carson, in partnership with Chivas USA of Major League Soccer, will turn off all nonessential lighting of the 27,000-seat soccer stadium, including all lighting in the venue's 42 luxury suites, according to AEG, the company that owns and operates the venue. The Chivas will be hosting the Colorado Rapids.

Other AEG facilities throughout the state will also participate, including LA Live, the entertainment hub in downtown Los Angeles.

Earth Hour is organized by World Wide Fund, one of the world's largest independent conservation organizations, and started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia, when 2.2 million individuals and more than 2,000 businesses turned their lights off for an hour to stand against climate change, according to its website. A year later the event became a global movement. In March 2009, hundreds of millions of people took part in the third Earth Hour. Over 4,000 cities in 88 countries officially switched off to pledge their support. This year, Earth Hour is challenging people to go beyond the hour and think of other ways to make a difference after the lights go on.

-- Ruben Vives

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