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Make an effort to turn it all off

This Saturday evening the lights on Duluth's iconic Aerial Lift Bridge will switch off in honor of Earth Hour.

Earth Hour is a movement which started in Australia as a symbol for people to take a stand against climate change. More than 50 million people across 35 countries are participating. Last year, landmarks such as the Sydney Harbor Bridge, the CN Tower in Toronto, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and Rome's Coliseum, all stood in darkness for one hour in a show of support for global sustainability.

"We've done this now for several years," said Duluth Mayor Don Ness. "It is an international effort to raise awareness of sustainability issues. It is a very simple, yet highly visible way for Duluth to participate in this event."

As an individual, you can join the millions by switching off all lights in your household at 8:30 p.m. this Saturday.

Do you have vampires in your home? Turn them off, too. Vampires are electrical devices that suck up electricity even when the devices are turned off. Examples would be a television set, cell phone chargers and microwave oven display screens. I urge you to run around your home and see how many of these devices you own and how many are constantly running.

Last year, I personally participated in Earth Hour. As someone who prides herself on treading lightly on the earth, I found it was harder than I thought to turn off all my electrical devices. Especially hard for me was to turn off my computer and Internet along with my television and cell phone. I like to read, and without the Internet or a small lamp I was unable to read.

Living without the television set and cell phone one Saturday night was also harder than I imagined.

The website says: "From its inception as a single-city initiative - Sydney, Australia - in 2007, Earth Hour has grown into a global symbol of hope and movement for change. Earth Hour 2010 created history as the world's largest-ever voluntary action with people, businesses and governments in 128 countries across every continent coming together to celebrate an unambiguous commitment to the one thing that unites us all - the planet."

"It's so exciting," said Nan Stubenvoll immediately after visiting the website Stubenvoll is the executive director of Sustainable Twin Ports.

One thing that struck me is that hundreds of millions of people will be participating and you can too by tuning into Sustainable Twin Ports is trying to accomplish change on a local level by training organizations on how to be more environmentally, economically and socially sustainable.

Earth Hour connects our efforts to global efforts starting with turning out our lights on Saturday. This unites us to the efforts of people around the world.

Naomi Yaeger

Naomi Yaeger is a freelance writer and the former editor of the Budgeteer. See her blog at