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Lights-out to switch on energy-use awareness

Locals joining worldwide event to reduce consumption
By: Jenifer Gee Journal Staff Writer
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Two Auburn women hope to turn out the lights in their neighbors' homes this Saturday night. As part of a worldwide effort to address climate change, the two women are organizing their neighbors and friends to participate in Earth Hour 2008. Earth Hour 2008 is an international effort to reduce energy consumption around the world. People are being asked to turn off the lights and unplug their appliances from 8 to 9 p.m. Saturday. Large cities such as San Francisco, Chicago, Atlanta and more have signed on. Julie Magee and Doris Dralle are working together to organize members of their church and neighborhood to take part in the hour-long event. I was looking for something in my own subdivision to promote the idea that we care about our children, our homes and the Earth, Dralle said. They are asking participants to bring their own candles and assemble at one of two locations: the parking lot of Bethlehem Lutheran Church or the park in the Grand Oaks Subdivision. The duo have planned similar activities for both locations including singing songs and having people share their environment-friendly tips. Both events will focus on children, and will encourage each child to talk about their school and future, Magee said. That's who all of this is for, Magee said. The children of today will be the adults of tomorrow and they're the ones who will inherit the Earth. Magee said she hopes that drivers passing by the church's parking lot will be inspired by a group of people assembled with only candlelight. It should be a really cool sight, Magee said. Other more noticeable sites across the country that will turn off all non-essential lighting for the hour include the Sears Tower in Chicago, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. According to World Wildlife Fund, which initiated the event, last year's inaugural Earth Hour in Sydney, Australia resulted in a 10 percent drop in energy use. More than 2.2 million people participated, and the city flipped the switch to make lights on the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge turn off. Magee and Dralle say they put energy-saving tips to use in their homes on a daily basis. Both said they've switched to using energy-efficient light bulbs, and are avid recyclers. Magee and her husband wait until they have at least three errands to run at one time so they reduce the number of trips they take into town. Her husband also bought her a very special Valentine's Day gift ” 15 reusable grocery bags. Magee and Dralle said they plan to coordinate the community each year for Earth Hour. They hope the event will include more residents, business owners and city officials in the years to come. We need to be more aware every day of how we affect the environment and the changing climate, Dralle said. Bethlehem Lutheran Church is located at 1279 High St., Auburn. The Grand Oaks Subdivision is a block off of Auburn Folsom Road on Indian Hill Road. The Park is on Grand View Street. For more information about Earth Hour 2008, visit www.earthhourus.org. The Journal's Jenifer Gee can be reached at jeniferg@goldcountrymedia.com post a comment.