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Norman initiative asks residents to turn off lights for one hour



If ever there were a public service announcement to get you to turn off the lights, this is it: "You can be unplugged for an hour and it won't kill you."

That's the message Kyla McMoran, communications director for the Norman Chamber of Commerce, is trying to get across to Norman residents. With the chamber, McMoran is a partner in helping to generate citywide participation in the hOUR Norman initiative, which encourages city residents to turn off nonessential lighting and appliances between 8 and 9 p.m. Sunday.

The idea is based on Sydney, Australia's Earth Hour and San Francisco's Lights Out programs, said Josh Maxey, events coordinator at the University of Oklahoma's Stephenson Research and Technology Center and the brainchild behind hOUR Norman.

According to, Sydney's 2007 event resulted in 2.2 million people and 2,100 Sydney businesses turning off their lights for one hour, reducing that city's energy consumption by 10.2 percent for one hour, "which is the equivalent effect of taking 48,000 cars off the road for a year."

"Our overall goal is just to have people be more mindful of their carbon footprint and eliminating energy waste," Maxey said. "If people would just take a second on a daily basis to think, 'Maybe I should really use my recycling bin' or 'Maybe I don't need to have my lights turned on upstairs when I'm no longer in my computer room' " little things like that " they'll slowly build and maybe make it just a little easier on our environment one day at a time."

For more information, visit their site. "Deborah Benjamin

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