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Memorial Chapel “Off” for Earth Hour

By John Pumilio on March 26, 2010

Earth Hour 2010 @ Colgate
by Kelsey Harbord ’13

Maybe you didn’t notice. Maybe you did. But the cupola lights on the top of the Chapel were turned off this weekend. In fact, on Saturday March 27, hundreds of millions of people across the globe shut out their lights in support of the World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour. And with a simple flick of a switch at 8:30 pm local time, our very own Colgate University Chapel became a part of the world’s largest mass participation event in history.

In an effort to raise awareness of global climate change, buildings in more than 4,000 cities across more than 125 countries disappeared in darkness. Colgate’s iconic cupola was among national landmarks such as Mount Rushmore, Niagara Falls, and the Las Vegas Strip as the lights were turned off Saturday.

Maybe you wonder what all of this means, this one hour of darkness out of 8, 765—yes, that is how many hours are in a year. Maybe you wonder what difference this darkness could have actually made. Maybe one Colgate student decided that rather than throwing his or her plastic bottle in the trash on Saturday, they would throw it in the recycling bin instead. Maybe one government official realized that people really do want a change. It is the small things that will add up. Hundreds of millions of people would not exist without a hundred million individuals, after all. And one hour turns into 24.

Whether or not you did witness the absence of bright light above the chapel on Saturday, I hope that this bold yet subtle statement will be enough to at least evoke a curiosity that will lead to something more. Earth Hour has already enlightened billions of people across the world. This year, the movement made its mark on the Colgate Campus. So turn off the lights when you leave a room, turn off the tap when you brush your teeth. Continue the fight until next year when again we can watch as lights go out around the world.

Click here to see article about Colgate in Syracuse Post-Standard.
Click here to see article about Colgate in Radio-Free Hamilton.

Colgate students Kelsey Harbord ’13 and Kathryn Homan ’13, helped to promote Earth Hour as an activist project for their Modernity class. Other Colgate students approached the Sustainability Office with the same request. In 2007, The World Wildlife Fund created Earth Hour to draw awareness to the changing global climate.

Saturday March 27, 2010
8:30 – 9:30 pm

Last year, 80 million Americans and 318 U.S. cities officially voted for action with their light switch, joining iconic landmarks from around the world that went dark for Earth Hour, including:

* Empire State Building
* Brooklyn Bridge
* Broadway Theater Marquees
* Las Vegas Strip
* United Nations Headquarters
* Golden Gate Bridge
* Seattle’s Space Needle
* Church of Latter-Day Saints Temple
* Gateway Arch in St. Louis
* Great Pyramids of Giza
* Acropolis and Parthenon in Athens
* Christ the Redeemer Statue in Rio de Janeiro
* St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City
* Big Ben and Houses of Parliament in London
* Elysee Palace and Eiffel Tower in Paris
* Beijing’s Birds Nest and Water Cube
* Symphony of Lights in Hong Kong
* Sydney’s Opera House

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