Lights Out

Star Watch program, Ontario Science Centre

Science centers around the world will celebrate the third annual Earth Hour on March 28. Launched by the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) in 2007, Earth Hour is an hour-long lights-out event that raises awareness and encourages action on energy and climate issues. To help the WWF reach its goal of one billion participants, ASTC members on five continents (including 10 countries and 11 U.S. states) have announced plans to participate in this year’s Earth Hour.

Working with local schools and government, Teknikens Hus, Lulea, Sweden, has recruited students to be city hall “spies”. The students will “sneak” into government offices after business hours to check on energy use, making sure government employees are shutting down electrical appliances.

MadaTech, Haifa, Israel, is hosting a “Sun Party,” where students will work together to build a human sun tower, focusing mirrors on solar panels to power amplifiers during the party. After the party, they will march to city hall and present the mayor with a declaration on protecting the Earth.

In addition to organizing local events, science centers have created Earth Hour resources to share online with other centers across the globe. Sciencenter, Ithaca, New York, has put together a booklet to help Earth Hour participants measure the amount of energy and carbon dioxide saved by turning out the lights during Earth Hour. Ontario Science Centre, Toronto, Canada, is providing online access to its Star Watch program to help science centers take advantage of the lights-out event with telescope viewing parties.

About the image: Ontario Science Centre’s Star Watch program ecourages people to look to the skies during Earth Hour. Photo courtesy Ontario Science Centre

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