Twenty-five cities around the world will participate in the World Wildlife Fund campaign.
When Brian Becharas sits down to dinner with his sweetheart Saturday night, they'll eat by candlelight.
Guests at the Inn of Chicago on the city's Magnificent Mile will walk into a darkened, candle-lit lobby. And when they look out at the iconic skyline, it will look different: the Sears Tower, the Hancock Building, the Ferris wheel on Navy Pier, and some 200 downtown buildings plan to turn out the lights at 8 p.m.
It's all part of "Earth Hour," an international climate-change awareness campaign that started last year in Sydney, Australia and that the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is taking global this year. Starting in New Zealand, and rolling out through dozens of cities, including Bangkok, Thailand; Dublin, Ireland; and Tel Aviv; the campaign is urging individuals, businesses, and landmarks to go dark between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m.
The actual impact of turning off lights for one hour is minimal, and some skeptics question the message. But promoters say the idea is to get people talking about further ways they can contribute, and to spur government action through grassroots activity.
"It's largely a symbolic event," acknowledges Leslie Aun, a WWF spokeswoman. "But symbols are powerful things.... It provides people with an opportunity to say something about climate change."