"Lights Out" for Earth Hour

The lights of many businesses in Santa Monica were turned off for Earth Hour last Saturday, which left some customers bathed in romantic candlelight.

Earth Hour is an event organized by the World Wildlife Fund that takes place on the last Saturday of every March from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. The event asks for homes and businesses to turn off all non-essential lights for one hour.

Earth Hour was created to bring awareness to climate change and reduce power consumption.

Millions of people around the world celebrate Earth Hour just by turning off their lights at 8:30 pm local time.

According to the Earth Hour Web site, 13,870 icons and landmarks worldwide turned off their lights for Earth Hour. These included the Eiffel Tower, Empire State Building, Times Square and the Hollywood sign, to name a few.

Santa Monica and many other U.S. cities also participated.

Local restaurants and hotels chose to use candles instead of electricity. Santa Monica Pier observed a scheduled "lights-out" by turning off the pier's arch sign in observance of Earth Hour. Unlike last year, the lights for the Ferris wheel were kept on.

Lago, one of the local Italian restaurants on Arizona Avenue, added a flaming drink to their menu in honor of Earth Hour.

"It's Santa Monica and we are a green city," said Joseph Matlock, bartending manager at Lago. "We love to be involved with Earth Hour."

"I've been to Lago many times before and was concerned when all the lights suddenly went off," said guest Robbye Aglipay. "Then our server explained Earth Hour to us."

Matlock said that Santa Monica should have promoted Earth Hour more aggressively in order to get more people and businesses involved.

Last year was much bigger, recalls Matlock. "All of the Third Street Promenade was black."

Other places that joined Earth Hour were Opaque on Wilshire Boulevard, which offered dining in the dark for the rest of the night.

Ocean & Vine offered an ocean view dinner with a special Earth Hour prix-fixe menu and $25 bottle of wine.

"It's Earth," said Matlock. "We are all here, so we might as well take part in it."