Santa Monica and Los Angeles joined cities around the world to take part in the Earth Hour celebration Saturday, March 28th, with hundreds of local landmark buildings and businesses going dark in a call to action on climate change.

Earth Hour, a historic global call to action on climate change

sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund, was recognized around the world in every time zone from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. March 28th, and drew an estimated 100 million participants.

The Los Angeles area joined the worldwide event with more than 150 buildings, 75 restaurants, hotels and bars participating, a spokesman for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said. Among the landmarks that went dark for the hour were the Santa Monica Pier, the Los Angeles International Airport gateway pylons, the Getty Center and the Griffith Park Observatory. Many local restaurants also hosted candlelight dinners featuring a special Earth Hour menu.

Santa Monica City Councilman Kevin McKeown, who presented a motion for his cityís participation, said prior to the Earth Hour event, ìThis should be a fun way for Santa Monica to show leadership in environmental issues.î

The first Earth Hour celebration took place in Sydney, Australia in 2007 with 2.2 million people participating and the event has since experienced exponential growth. Last year, Earth Hour went global with 50 million people taking part on all seven continents.

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