Earth Hour is upon us again. At 8:30 p.m. local time on Saturday (March 27), people around the world will be turning off their lights for an hour as a show of support for taking action on climate change.  Will you be one of them?

Begun in 2007 in Australia, the global demonstration is organized by the World Wildlife Fund, which says nearly a billion people joined in last year.  Iconic structures like the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Sydney's Opera House, the Great Pyramids of Gaza and New York's Empire State Building go dark for an hour.  As the time-lapse footage above of Shanghai shows, lights even get turned out in China, which now emits more climate-altering carbon dioxide than the United States.

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Here in Baltimore, the lights will go out at City Hall and six nearby municipal buildings for an hour.  Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake issued a press release encouraging residents and businesses to join the effort, noting that energy conservation is a money saver as well as a help for the climate. The average Baltimore home could save $250 a year by trimming its energy consumption 15 percent, she points out.

Is anyone else turning out their lights for Earth Hour?  Videos of the event are being uploaded here on YouTube.   And for the Twitterati, the hashtag is '#earthhour'

Update:

The lights are going out in Annapolis, too, at the State House and the governor's mansion. Gov. Martin O'Malley also issued a call for all Marylanders to join in. There's a Web page

where Maryland residents can register their support and see who else is participating. And there's also a blog

dedicated to Earth Hour activities in B'more.

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