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Arizona State University will answer an international call to action this Saturday when the school participates in Earth Hour 2018.
From 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. on March 24, the university will encourage students to turn off all non-essential lights and host stargazing events to highlight the benefits of reducing light pollution.
"We are looking at it as a way to highlight what each person can do in just a small amount of time," said Lesley Forst, a program manager at ASU Sustainability Practices. "We want to let students know that we should really be turning off non-essential lights whenever possible, and Earth Hour is a great first step."
ASU staff members will lead the way in the effort. All janitorial crews will only turn on lights on specific floors or rooms they are cleaning, rather than the normal practice of turning on the lights in an entire building.
The University Sustainability Practices (USP) team has also been hard at work to inform both students and staff of the difference they can make.
"From the USP side, we've been responsible to make sure we are promoting and supporting energy conservation," Forst said.
Conservation has been a focal point for ASU over the past decade.
The university has reduced its carbon emissions per student by 46 percent and per square foot by 48 percent since 2007. This is a big step for ASU, which has a goal of achieving climate neutrality from building emissions by 2025.
"Earth Hour fits into ASU's sustainability goals by creating awareness as to energy waste that adds to our carbon footprint and utility costs," USP director Mick Dalrymple said. "It also supports our goal of being climate positive."
ASU is joining over a billion people in this event, which has been organized by the World Wildlife Fund since 2007. In the past, icons such as the Golden Gate Bridge and the Eiffel Tower have gone dark for 60 minutes in support of Earth Hour.
"I really enjoy the solidarity that it creates in connecting people across the globe with the same actions," Dalrymple said. "We are all connected, and together we can turn things around."
For more information about ASU's sustainability initiatives, visit https://sustainability.asu.edu.
Top photo by Nathan Thrash/Arizona Board of Regents