March 23, 2018 (MINNEAPOLIS) The Minneapolis City Council approved a resolution to join “Earth Hour” again this year. Earth Hour began as a single-city initiative in Sydney in 2007 and has grown into a global movement. Hundreds of millions of people from more than 7,000 cities and towns in more than 180 countries and territories across every continent switch off their lights and join the movement to take concrete climate action. From 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, March 24, the City will turn off all uses of electricity in major municipal buildings that are not required for life, safety or operations.
When we burn fossil fuels such as coal and gas, we pump more and more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This buildup creates a blanket effect, trapping in heat around the world. If nothing is done to halt this process, the planet we leave our children will be hotter with more violent weather, fewer species and disrupted systems such as food chains.
In 2015, 38 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in Minneapolis came from electricity. The City has set targets of reducing citywide greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2025 (using 2006 as a baseline) and 80 percent by 2050. Emissions from citywide activities decreased 17.8 percent in 2015 from the 2006 baseline, exceeding the first reduction goal of 15 percent by 2015. The Minneapolis Climate Action Plan, adopted in June 2013, provides a roadmap for reducing citywide carbon dioxide pollution.
Reduce fossil fuel energy use every hour of the year
Residents and businesses are invited to join the City of Minneapolis in this important global initiative and encourage their families and friends to switch off their lights for Earth Hour at 8:30 p.m. Saturday March 24. Check out the actions people can take to benefit the planet beyond the hour.
Lights Out for birds
The City also commends the buildings in the city that participate in Audubon Minnesota’s Lights Out program. Most birds migrate at night and can be drawn off course by tall, lighted structures in their flight path. Many birds are killed or injured in collisions with buildings or drop from exhaustion after circling them, reluctant to fly out of the light. Lights Out programs can dramatically reduce these collisions. In the voluntary program, building owners, managers and tenants work together to ensure that all unnecessary lights are off during spring and fall bird migration. In Minnesota, the Lights Out program has been ongoing since 2007. Besides saving birds, the Lights Out program saves a considerable amount of money on energy costs and reduces carbon dioxide pollution from fossil fuels.
To learn more about Minneapolis’ sustainable policies and practices, visit www.minneapolismn.gov/sustainability.