Columbia Kicks Off Earth Hour Events Early

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COLUMBIA - While the official Earth Hour will take place from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. March 31, Columbia's Earth Hour events kicked off Wednesday night at the Boone County Government Building with two educational films. Community Chairman Monta Welsh, along with the city and the Columbia Climate Change Coalition, collaborated on this year's events. The films, "Everything's Cool" and "Deep Clean" are films shown to raise awareness on the climate problem and renewable solutions for sustainability.

The Earth Hour 2012 kickoff event will be from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday in the lobby of the Daniel Boone City Building with a "green" tour of the LEED gold standard-certified building. For the fifth international Earth Hour, the mayor will sign a proclamation making Earth Hour an annual event in Columbia.

The kickoff will also have information about the Earth Hour Weekend Alternative Transportation Challenge. The goal of the challenge is to encourage people to ride bikes, walk, take the city bus and carpool.

Last year in Columbia, the decline in electric use during Earth Hour was the equivalent of the electricity that would be required to power about 100 homes for 24 hours according to Welsh.

Many businesses in the area, will be participating in the event. Restaurants such as Sycamore, Uprise Bakery, Addison's, Sophia's and Flat Branch Pub & Brewery, will use candles instead of electric lights during Earth Hour.