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October 23, 2014

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Las Vegas to dim neon glow for climate change

Buildings across the valley, world will shut off the lights for one hour

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Heather Cory

With a showgirl on each arm — Jennifer Gagliano, left, and Tala McDonnough, right — Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman takes his leave after the Wednesday kick off of the Las Vegas Valley’s participation in Earth Hour at the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign.

Lights Out

Showgirls Jennifer Gagliano, left, and Tala McDonnough, right, pose for a picture Wednesday with the Earth Hour panda bear at the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign.  Officials from the World Wildlife Fund joined Clark County Commissioner Lawrence Weekly, Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman and Henderson Mayor James Gibson at the sign to officially kick off the Las Vegas Valley's participation in Earth Hour, a global event calling for action on climate change.  Launch slideshow »

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In a city renowned for its dazzling light displays, dimming the beacons of Las Vegas and the Strip would seem to be equal to a near-disaster.

But Las Vegas will be going dark for one hour in March along with 73 other world cities in a symbolic call for global action on climate change.

Known as Earth Hour 2009, the skylines of 74 cities in 62 countries will go dark as individuals, businesses, government buildings, schools and major landmarks turn off non-essential lighting in what will be the largest climate event in history.

World Wildlife Fund's Leslie Aun joined Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, Henderson Mayor James Gibson and County Commissioner Lawrence Weekly on Wednesday at the renowned Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign to encourage businesses and residents throughout the valley to join the Strip properties, businesses, organizations and government agencies that have already agreed to turn off their lights for one hour on March 28 at 8:30 p.m.

The World Wildlife Fund organized the second annual event, which includes Auckland, Cape Town, Copenhagen, Dubai, Helsinki, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Kuala Lumpur, Lisbon, London, Manila, Mexico City, Moscow, Oslo, Rome, Singapore, Sydney, Tel Aviv and Toronto, with more expected to sign on in the weeks ahead.

American cities Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville and San Francisco join Las Vegas in turning down the juice for 60 minutes.

"We hope that Las Vegas will serve as an example of sustainability for the 40 million visitors who pass through our great city each year, and for millions more around the world," Goodman said.

Clark County Commission Chairman Rory Reid, whose district includes the famously bright Strip, said previously the event is voluntary but he hopes his constituents show their support.

"I'm encouraging all our casinos and 2 million residents to dim their lights in support of Earth Hour... to be part of the solution," he said.

During Earth Hour 2008 on March 29 more than 50 million people in 400 cities on all seven continents turned off their lights as major icons also went dark, including the Sydney Opera House, Bangkok's Wat Arun Buddhist temple, the Coliseum in Rome, Stockholm's Royal Castle, London's City Hall, New York's Empire State Building, Sears Tower in Chicago and the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

Corporations also showed their support, with the Coca-Cola billboard in Times Square going dark and Google turning its homepage black for an entire day in tribute.

Jeff Pope can be reached at 990-2688 or [email protected].

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