Thanks to tireless campaigning and organizing by resident Nate Tyler, October 20 has been officially named Lights Out San Francisco Day, reports the Los Angeles Times. Between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. on that day, participating businesses, homeowners and public facilities will turn off all unnecessary lights.
Tyler hopes the experience will not only reduce carbon emissions, but will encourage people to think twice about the energy they waste every day. About 110,000 compact-fluorescent light bulbs are going to be distributed as part of the event, courtesy of Pacific Gas and Electric and Yahoo.
Although traffic and other safety lights will remain on, the Golden Gate Bridge will turn off its decorative tower lights. Alcatraz Island will go dim, as well many city, county and business buildings. Restaurants will be promoting romantic candlelight dinners.
Tyler, an avid surfer who runs his car on vegetable oil, says his plan was inspired by a recent trip to Australia, where he witnessed Sydney's annual Earth Hour. As a symbolic gesture to cut energy use, the Aussie city dims its lights every March 31, conserving 25 tons of carbon dioxide the equivalent of removing nearly 50,000 cars from the road for one hour.
Tyler was formerly a communications manager at Google, and is now a freelance media consultant. He is already planning for a Lights Out America event for March. Let's hope the idea takes hold and serves to get people thinking about reducing waste and consuming energy smarter.
Even today, many of the world's people in rural nations are cast into the dark when the sun goes down, unable to read, watch television or work. By going without for a short time, hopefully people will remember to appreciate what they have (similar to the idea of a religious fast). Instead of going back to business as usual on the next day, perhaps they will think twice about leaving all those lights and electronics on, and unplug unused chargers.
Let's hope October 20 isn't too cloudy for Bay Area folks to enjoy the view of the stars. Learn more about the project here.
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