Coming and Going: Lights Out for Earth Hour; Carnival Celebrates; a Dog Rescue

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Operation Lights Out

On March 28, if the lights go off in your Cape Town hotel room or the restaurant in Lisbon switches to candles, do not be alarmed. It's not a grid meltdown but a global show of support.

During Earth Hour, citizens of the world are asked to turn off their power for one hour, starting at 8:30 p.m. local time, in a symbolic stance against climate change. The World Wildlife Fund started the event two years ago in Sydney, with 2.2 million people and thousands of businesses going dark. The next year, more than 400 cities and 50 million folks on all seven continents participated. Some high-wattage landmarks even got involved, including the Sydney Opera House and, in New York, the Coke billboard in Times Square and the Empire State Building. For 2009, so far nearly 1,200 cities -- including Chicago, Guatemala City, Vancouver, Mumbai and Bangkok -- in 80 countries have signed on. Group organizers aim for 1 billion people to flick the switch, an achievement they hope to present at the U.N. Climate Change Conference, to be held in Copenhagen this year.

Some cities and tour companies are turning the statement into a celebration. Luxury tour operator Abercrombie & Kent, for one, is organizing stargazing parties at 13 African lodges and sanctuaries, which themselves plan to reduce energy consumption by half. Melbourne, Australia, is hosting a people-pedal-powered concert, and, in Athens, a conductor will lead a percussion circle as the Acropolis dims.

You can do your part on the road, too: Kill the hotel room lights and TV, turn off the motor on the charter boat, switch from plug to battery at the Internet cafe. Just remember to pack a flashlight, preferably solar-powered. For more information:


Carnival Cruise Lines is celebrating Baltimore's first-ever year-round cruise service with a day of fun April 25, two days before the arrival and departure of the Carnival Pride. Fun City: Baltimore, to take place in nine spots around the Inner Harbor, will feature live performances by acrobatic teams and dancers from Carnival ships; sand sculptures; the world's largest beach ball, according to the Guinness book of world records; and more. The free event runs from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. . . . American Airlines is a good dog. This month, a basenji mix named Zak was left stranded when his owner died of a heart attack while driving his rig through Omaha. The carrier's cargo division stepped in and gave the pup a free lift home to San Diego. To see a video of this dog tale:


Scandinavian Airlines is offering summer sale fares from Washington Dulles to cities in Scandinavia and Finland. Round-trip fare for nonstop flights to Copenhagen, for example, is $878, including $80 taxes; other airlines are matching for connecting flights. Depart May 15-Aug. 30. Purchase by March 23 at, or pay $20 more by calling 800-221-2350.

Reporting: Andrea Sachs

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