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Earth Hour event begins at 8 tonight
Turn off lights for one hour to help save energy

COVINGTON - Tackling global warming may seem like a job for a superhero, but it's really as simple as flipping a light switch.

Tonight from 8 to 9 p.m., millions of people around the world are expected to turn off their lights for Earth Hour, an event sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund in hopes of raising awareness of how small actions can make a difference in combating global warming.

Last year, 2.2 million people in Sydney, Australia, participated in the event, which has now grown into a global movement, with citizens, businesses, governments and civic organizations in nearly 200 cities, including Atlanta, expected to take part.

Connie and David Waller are two Newton County residents who will be participating.

"Just as a citizen of the world, I wanted to participate. My husband and I will turn our lights out from 8 to 9 p.m., and we would love it if other citizens do the same," Connie Waller said.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, coal-fired, gas-fired and hydro plants reduce output when demand decreases.

Last year, Sydney saw a 10.2 percent decrease in energy used during Earth Hour.

Though anyone can participate in the event, in an effort to keep track of participants, the World Wildlife Fund is encouraging participants to sign up at www.earthhour.org.

Crystal Tatum can be reached crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.

SideBar: At a glance

Here are some tips to help save energy every day, not just during Earth Hour:

· Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs to save money and reduce emissions. Lighting accounts for about 5 percent of household greenhouse gas emissions and compact fluorescents use 75 percent less energy than an equivalent incandescent bulb. Although the bulbs cost more up front, you will actually save money through the energy saved and extended life of the bulb.

· Turn appliances off while not in use. Unplug any appliances, like mobile phone chargers, TVs, microwaves and MP3 players, which are not being used or are on standby.

· Switch to green power. This is one of the best ways you can make a difference. Contact your electricity provider today and switch to green power, a cleaner, more renewable form of energy that does not contribute to global warming.

· Use less hot water. This is not only a good water saving tip, it saves electricity, too. Spend one minute less in the shower.

Source: www.earthhour.org.