Monday, March 31, 2008

The Night the Lights Went Out in Atlanta

I have never really considered myself a tree-hugging environmentalist, but, lately, it’s been very hard to ignore the signs that something is wrong with Mother Nature. From the devastating drought that our state is enduring, to the atypical tornado that struck Downtown Atlanta in the early part of March, the warning signs are everywhere and getting less and less subtle. Something that really opened my eyes to what was going on in the world OTP is the mini-series Planet Earth on the Discovery Channel. I found myself glued to the screen each time a new installment was released and realized that inside me, there may just be a “green” girl in waiting trying to escape.

This past weekend, Atlanta, along with several major cities across the globe, took a stand against global warming by turning out the lights for one hour during Earth Hour 2008, the brainchild of the World Wildlife Fund. According to Georgia Power, that one hour added up to a 4% savings in power! The 7.05 megawatt-hours saved is enough to power over 1,700 homes. Just one hour. It’s so easy to say that one person can’t make a difference, but what if we worked together? What if we did this once a month? Could we each do our part to contribute to the greater good?

I attended the Earth Hour reception, held at the Wachovia building, which was themed “green.” No kidding; green carpet, green drinks (the 360 Martini was deelish), even the cupcakes were green! (Pictured below) The guest list was a who’s who of media, business leaders and politician. WXIA broadcasted live throughout the evening, Mayor Shirley Franklin spoke and American Idol finalist Alexandrea Lushington graced us all with a few songs. I even met the WWF Panda! (Pictured bottom right) Several companies participated in the event in unique ways. Whole Foods Market, for example, hosted "green" cooking demonstrations, Chipotle Mexican Grill turned out the lights in all of their Atlanta area locations and Marlow's Tavern had an "In the Dark" party.
The dark city was amazing. There was only one building in the entire skyline which did not participate :-( . It was fun whatching watching each building go dark and trying to guess which one would go next. Over 400 buildings went dark within 10 seconds.

When you think about it, this is the only planet we have; once we destroy this one, we won’t get another. We each need to do our part to protect the environment and ensure that the Earth our children inherit will not be fatally flawed. The most recent step toward finding a solution to the challenges the Earth faces was Earth Hour, simply powerful. When the lights went off in Atlanta, a light came on inside of me. There’s got to be more we can do?

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