At 8:30 p.m. on March 26 millions of people in more than 100 countries are expected to switch off their lights for 60 minutes as a way to signal concern about the state of the Earth and climate change.



AROUND THE world, lights will go out on March 26.

It’s not a disaster. It’s the annual Earth Hour, when millions of people in more than 100 countries are expected to switch off their lights at 8:30 p.m. for 60 minutes.

It’s a way to signal concern about the state of the Earth and climate change. Iconic buildings including Rome’s Colosseum, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, a Nairobi office tower, Cairo mosque and even Seattle’s Space Needle have gone dark in past Earth Hours. Countless homes, restaurants and businesses worldwide turn off some lights. People sip cocktails by candlelight; gather in city squares for candlelit rallies; play soccer in torchlight.

Earth Hour began in 2007 when a local branch of the World Wildlife Fund organized it in Sydney, Australia. From that one city it has mushroomed around the world in the years since.

This year, Earth Hour organizers hope more lights than ever will be turned off — and that people will think about making a difference after the lights are back on.

Kristin R. Jackson is a Seattle Times travel writer and editor. Contact her at kjackson@seattletimes.com.