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Turn Off the Lights!

One of the most wonderful memories I have from a sailing trip is being miles and miles from shore on a moonless night and seeing the thousands of stars twinkling in the sky. It's something that most people in the developed world never see; most of the stars are drowned out by light pollution. As yo...

A composite image of the Earth at night (credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Scientific Visualization Studio)




One of the most wonderful memories I have from a sailing trip is being miles and miles from shore on a moonless night and seeing the thousands of stars twinkling in the sky. It's something that most people in the developed world never see; most of the stars are drowned out by light pollution. As you can see in the image above, even at night it's pretty bright in the parts of the world where most of the people live.



A lot of that light is wasted energy, which equals unnecessary carbon emissions. But what if we turned out the lights, just for an hour? That's what the World Wildlife Fund is challenging all of us to do Saturday night at 8:30 p.m. local time. They call it Earth Hour. Millions of people, hundreds of cities and a host of organizations—including my very own Smithsonian Institution—will be turning out the lights tomorrow night to say that something needs to be done about climate change. I will, too. Will you?



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About Sarah Zielinski
Sarah Zielinski

Sarah Zielinski is an award-winning science writer and editor. She is a contributing writer in science for Smithsonian.com and blogs at Wild Things, which appears on Science News.

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