Penn State celebrates Earth Hour

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This Saturday night, at 8:30 p.m. March 29, the exterior lights on Penn State's Old Main will go out for Earth Hour 2014. Penn State will participate in this global call to action by turning off decorative lighting at key campus landmarks.

"We feel it is symbolically important to join in this worldwide effort to show the effect that many people, working together, can have on climate change," said Steve Maruszewski, assistant vice president of Penn State's Office of Physical Plant. In addition, decorative floodlights at the Lion Shrine, the Nittany Lion Inn, and the Information Sciences and Technology building will be shut-off.

-- March 29 at 8:30 marks Earth Hour 2014 at Penn State University Park

Penn State's EcoAction student organization is sponsoring this year’s event on the Old Main patio. Jeanette Wiley, sophomore in community environment and development in College of Agricultural Sciences, is the Penn State student in charge of the celebration. There will be a countdown to the event with the Penn State Taiko Drum Club. The members carry on the ancient Japanese tradition of Taiko drumming and will entertain attendees during the event. Additional entertainment on the Old Main patio will include: Blue in the Face, NOMMO, Belly Dance, the International Dance Ensemble, Swing Dance, and the RAM Squad. EcoAction also will provide plant potting activities, trivia, and will be giving away a solar powered phone charger. As the lights of Old Main are turned off, candle lantern luminaries will light up the night in honor of sustainability. This will be a community-wide event and all are encouraged to attend the event and leave their lights off at home.

The goal of Earth Hour is to bring awareness to climate change and environmental conservation by turning off lights. Astronomers have watched light pollution increase for decades and Earth Hour hopes to bring attention to this international problem. Many urban children have never had a chance to see the Milky Way or ever seen the stars. Not only does unnecessary lighting inhibit astronomy, but it also wastes energy, disturbs animals and ecosystems, and has health implications. To learn more about light pollution, visit the International Dark-Sky Association.

Penn State will be joining over 1 billion people in this event sponsored by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). Other cultural icons that will go black include Chicago’s Sears Tower, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, New York’s United Nations and EmpireState Building, and the Eiffel Tower in Paris. What began as an effort in Sidney, Australia seven years ago has grown into a worldwide celebration of people power to turn off unnecessary lighting.

For more information about Penn State’s sustainability initiatives, visit http://sustainability.psu.edu/

For further Earth Hour information, contact Jeanette Wiley or Paul Ruskin or via phone at 814-863-9620. To learn how you and your organization can participate, visit http://www.earthhour.org.

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