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Does lighting candles for Earth Hour defeat the purpose?

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(Read caption) About 400 floating candles filled the 15-metre long swimming pool at the Fairmont Royal York health club in Toronto for Earth Hour, 2008.

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Saturday, March 28, is Earth Hour, an annual international event organized by WWF to raise awareness of climate change in which participants switch off all their lights for one hour, beginning at 8:30 p.m. local time.

The first Earth Hour took place in Sydney in 2007, when 2.2 million million homes and businesses pledged to turn off their lights. The following year, the event went global, with the Golden Gate Bridge, the Coliseum, the Sydney Opera House, and the Coca-Cola billboard in Times Square all going dark. That year, 50 million people in more than 370 cities and towns worldwide switched off their lights.

This year, 2,848 cities, towns, and municipalities are joining the eco-blackout. The event's organizers say that they are shooting for 1 billion people to participate.

And during Earth Hour, what will most participants use for illumination? Candles. The Earth Hour website is filled with announcements – from New Zealand to Hong Kong to Serbia – of restaurants hosting candlelit dinners and clubs holding candlelit acoustic concerts, along with lots of tips on what to do at home during the electricity-free hour, which includes taking a candlelit bath or playing board games by candlelight.

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