, Newburyport, MA

March 20, 2013

Lights out for the Earth

Global effort to shine focus on energy concerns

Newburyport Daily News

---- — NEWBURYPORT — City officials and local environmentalists are declaring an “Earth Hour” on Saturday and encouraging locals to turn off lights to save energy.

Earth Hour — planned for 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday — is aimed at focusing “on the one thing that unites us all, our planet.”

Headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, the event is international in scope, with organizers saying it is the largest mass participation event in the world. It is expected to reach 7,001 communities in 152 countries and territories, with hopes of raising awareness of climate change and other threats.

The City Council here recently endorsed the idea of Earth Hour. But street lights will stay on and most businesses and restaurants will stay open without interruption.

Mayor Donna Holaday said, “No streetlights will be shut, but we will shut all lights off at City Hall.”

She added, “This is just a voluntary request for one hour to raise awareness.”

Molly Ettenborough, the city’s recycling and energy coordinator, said she has asked Newburyport High School to turn off all lights at the prescribed time, but local organizers have not learned whether that request can be granted.

Some local residents who turn off their lights are planning a candlelight walk in downtown Newburyport to observe the occasion.