The Night the Lights Went Out

The night the lights went out in Georgia, they also were turned off in Denver, Phoenix, San Francisco and Thailand. The temporary blackout, which occurred on Saturday, at 8 p.m., in each time zone, was part of Earth Hour, a worldwide campaign to highlight climate change.

The campaign began last year in Australia, traveled beyond the South Pacific this year, and left several of the world's floodlit icons dark, including, the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge in Australia; Chicago's Wrigley Field and the Rome Colosseum.

Even Google went dark. The popular Internet search engine lent its support to Earth Hour by blackening its normally white home page and challenging visitors: "We've turned the lights out. Now it's your turn."

"If everybody just started to think about what little bits and pieces they can do for them in the big picture, that's great. And this is the first little step towards something big and better," said one Sydney participant of Earth Hour.

In Australia more than 2 million people and 2,000 businesses turned off their lights.

But getting the lights turned off in many places was no easy task. The organizers reached out to the mayors of individual cities who then rallied businesses to participate.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, by slightly reducing power consumption, we also reduce harmful greenhouse emissions from the plants that produce the electricity.

"You are finding businesses are starting to ask the question, 'When we leave, do we really need to leave the lights on at the end of the day? Do we really need all of these computers left on during the day? And is there a way that we can increase the efficiency of what we do?'" said World Wildlife Fund president and CEO Carter Roberts.

Some residents believe the 60-minute blackout could affect how Americans and the world lives.

"I hope it has an impact," said Atlanta resident Stephanie Penton.

"I think that it's at least bringing awareness to it," added Atlanta resident Wilson Wise.

The discussion about global warming has become a hot topic in news and Hollywood. The cause was highlighted once more last week when scientists discovered that a 160-square-mile ice shelf near the South Pole melted and crumbled into the sea.