Earth Hour kicks off Thursday at the Daniel Boone City Building

Thursday, March 21, 2013 | 12:46 p.m. CDT; updated 3:16 p.m. CDT, Thursday, March 21, 2013

COLUMBIA — Millions of people will embrace the darkness Saturday night.

Lights around the world will switch off at 8:30 p.m. Saturday to support energy conservation for the annual Earth Hour event.

The kickoff in Columbia begins at noon Thursday at the Daniel Boone City Building with a proclamation from Mayor Bob McDavid read by Sixth Ward Councilwoman Barbara Hoppe and a tour of the green features in the building, which has received LEED Gold certification. It is the sixth year Columbia has participated.

Columbia Public Transit will offer free rides Thursday and Saturday as part of the event.

Since Earth Hour falls during MU's spring break, the university will hold its own event called Mizzou Earth Hour at 8 p.m. Thursday. The switches will go down for one hour at Jesse Hall, the MU Columns, the Eight Street circle, Lee Hills Hall, the Memorial Student Union tower, and several athletics fields and other buildings.

Students staying in residence halls will be asked to turn off all lights, TVs and computers and refrain from doing laundry and other tasks that use electricity. Security and safety lighting will stay on. 

Last year, Columbia Water and Light estimated that residents reduced the city’s electric load by 2 megawatts, which is equal to 80 homes going without electricity for an entire day, according to the City of Columbia website.

The first Earth Hour was held in Sydney, Australia in 2007. This year, more than 250 cities will participate including Atlanta, Chicago, Dubai, Hong Kong, and Las Vegas, according to

Supervising editor is Richard Webner.

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Ellis Smith March 21, 2013 | 4:34 p.m.

This is excellent SYMBOLISM, but we also need to concern ourselves with being able to continue having electric power when we need it, regardless of the generating source(s) employed. That will require more than platitudes and luck.

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