Minneapolis turning out the lights for Earth Hour

All residents and businesses can play a part March 25 and all year to burn less fossil fuels

The Minneapolis City Council approved a resolution to join “Earth Hour” again this year. Individuals, businesses, governments and organizations on all seven continents turn off their lights for Earth Hour to make a global statement of concern about climate change and demonstrate their commitment to finding solutions. From 8:30 to 9:30 p.m., Saturday, March 25, the City will turn off the Stone Arch Bridge lights and, as always, 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 2014, 36 percent of carbon dioxide pollution in Minneapolis came from electricity, and the City has set a target of reducing citywide carbon dioxide pollution by 30 percent by 2025 (using 2006 as a baseline) and 80 percent by 2050. 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 of Minneapolis are encouraged to participate in Earth Hour and reduce their fossil fuel energy use every hour of the year. Check out the actions people can take.

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. In addition to Audubon Minnesota, it is supported by the Greater Minneapolis and the Greater Saint Paul Building Owners and Managers Associations and by the individual building staff. 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.