Earth Hour — Las Vegas Style

In 2007, The World Wildlife Federation created an event called “Earth Hour.” People all over Australia and a few other countries turned out their lights for an hour as a group expression of concern about global warming. In 2009, nearly 4,000 cities and towns in 88 countries on 7 continents, including 67 national capitals, agreed to participate. As an Earth Hour “official city,” Las Vegas joined cities across America and turned out lights from 8:30 to 9:30 on Saturday night, April 28th. Writers from Living Las Vegas observed the neon vacuum from various vantage points around the valley.

Earth Hour 2009Photo Courtesy of World Wildlife Federation
The Rio with lights on, and–for one hour–off

Brian RouffBrian Rouff
My wife and I observed Earth Hour from the Fremont Street Experience, hoping it would be more “up close and personal” than the Strip. We stationed ourselves next to a city of Las Vegas film crew in front of the Fitzgerald. At approximately 8:28, a video on the Viva Vision canopy gave the estimated 5,000 onlookers a quick worldwide overview of the event. At 8:30 on the dot the lights went out, as did the music from a country rock band.

Fremont Street ExperiencePhoto by Tasha Pittser
The Fremont Street Experience

The Four Queens, Fremont, Golden Nugget and the rest of the properties all sat in darkness. Only in Las Vegas can a non-illuminated downtown seem cooler than the normal garish lightshow. And yet, in the back of my mind, I kept wondering two things: How much money are they saving? And, with our current economic challenges, is this a glimpse of our future?

Tasha PittserTasha Pittser
I was at a wedding during Earth Hour, and we had the most spectacular, unobstructed view of the entire strip. I watched the traditional colors of each casino building go dark, and it was fun to see what lights each building chose to leave on, and which ones they turned off. For instance; the Wynn and Encore were completely dark except for the hotel’s name at the top of the building- it was brilliant to see!

Earth Hour Las Vegas 2009Photo by Linda Evans
Treasure Island before and after Earth Hour begins

Mark SedenquistMark Sedenquist
I was working most of the day on a pesky computer issue and so didn’t travel to airport parking lot where I had planned to capture the event in digital photographs. Instead I walked around my residential neighborhood. It’s easy to see both the Luxor “beam” and the “M” that is emblazoned on the front of Las Vegas’ newest resort from my street. At approximately 8:29:34 the Luxor beam blinked out… The “M” was as bright as ever and… I didn’t see a single house in my neighborhood that changed in any way. I walked about 4-5 blocks — no effects from this “earth hour” that I could see. My house was dark…. but the glare from neighbor’s TVs was as bright as ever. I even heard some air conditioner’s cycling on. At 9:30:01 Luxor’s beam was back.

Earth Hour Las Vegas 2009Photo by Megan Edwards
The Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas vanishes into darkness

Megan EdwardsMegan Edwards
My plan was to watch Earth Hour from Planet Hollywood, a nice, center-Strip vantage point. Traffic cooperated until I turned onto Las Vegas Boulevard from Flamingo and spent half an hour inching south through the thickest traffic jam I’ve ever enjoyed on the Strip. Fortunately, I made it to the top of the Bellagio’s parking garage with five minutes to spare. Joining a jolly group of tripod-and-video-camera-equipped Earth Hour observers, I watched the sign at Planet Hollywood count down to “lights off.” After Caesars Palace, the Bellagio, the Paris, and Planet Hollywood went dark (the Polo Towers didn’t seem to have gotten the message), I headed back down the Strip, where the most impressive black holes were created by New York, New York, the MGM Grand, and Mandalay Bay. The Harley Davidson Cafe and McDonald’s blazed through Earth Hour unapologetically, as did the South Point. Maybe next year…

Earth Hour Las Vegas 2009Photo by Eric James Miller
What could be better than great conversation and
drinking fine wine with the lights off?

Eric James MillerEric James Miller
Along with my wife Laura and our good friend Tina we observed Earth Hour with about twenty-five other people at a wine tasting party in the Southern Hills area of southwest Vegas. What could be better than great conversation and drinking fine wine with the lights off? Thanks to Barry and Jacquelyn for hosting a great candle power event!

Holly McKinnisHolly McKinnis
Titties and Tears — in honor of Earth Hour the Las Vegas strip went dim, and the Folies Bergere, the longest running show in America, went dark forever.

Earth Hour 2009Photo Courtesy of World Wildlife Federation
The Las Vegas Strip observes Earth Hour 2009


8 responses on “Earth Hour — Las Vegas Style

  1. Sorry your neighbors didn’t participate, Mark. Mine probably didn’t either!

    It was nice to be in a solar powered house with a bunch of other pretend wine snobs, but I think Megan and Tasha and Brian had probably the best laid plans.

    Hats off and lights out (in a good way 🙂 to you all!

  2. Was there an Earth Hour ?
    I was totally passed out, man.
    : )) {
    Turned off the lights before I passed out though, man !

    Can’t believe the strip turned their lights off !

    Thought y’all only had staunch Republicans in L.V.

    Did the strippers wear day-glow thongs for an hour?


  3. It was definately a site to behold. With all the lights in Las Vegas, I bet even one hour of them turned off saved a tone of money and green house gasses being released into the atmosphere. Most of Vegas’ power comes from the Hoover Dam, but it still is a great idea. I’m glad many large hotels participated.

  4. It was fascinating to see the lights turn off from inside the Eiffel Tower, but I was curious to see what it looked like from outside. Glad to see you got a picture of it, Megan!

    How impressive of Las Vegas to participate in this, even the recreation center at UNLV closed for the hour.

  5. @Kristine: Very nice to see you on this site! I bet that was a very cool view from inside the restaurant!

    @Las Vegas Area New Homes: Actually, less than 10% of the power consumed in Las Vegas is generated from the Hoover Dam. I don’t know if you ever been out there — but there are zero high transmission lines connected directly to the Las Vegas grid. Over 90% of the power used in the Las Vegas valley originates from hydro-power plants in Idaho and Canada. Almost all of the electrical power created at Hoover Dam goes directly to Los Angeles….


  6. I bet it was great to see the Strip go dark from inside the Eiffel Tower! I thought it was wonderful that Las Vegas participated, and I really liked the feeling of world community it encouraged.

  7. Las Vegas, being the city of excess and extreme, never dull and ordinary, always pushing the envelope when it comes to the unusual and different could have an Earth Hour once a week. Done appropriately it could attract the tourists. If all the resorts left a strategic light or two blazing, such as the Wynn mentioned in the article, the scene would be of great interest to photographers and sight seers.

Comments are closed.