Turn Off the Lights for Earth Hour, Montgomery Celebrates Saving Energy

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By Heather VacLav

One hour of darkness will sweep cities around the world Saturday for "Earth Hour", and Montgomery is turning off its lights to encourage people in our area to save energy.

The Earth Hour celebration is Saturday from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. at the EATSouth downtown farm,but the actual Earth Hour is from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. The event will feature local food and beverages, music and energy booths - it will benefit EATSouth.

"What we realize is getting people to buy and eat locally produced food is perhaps one of the most significant ways people can conserve energy," said Edwin Marty, executive director for EATSouth. "By reducing a food mile, basically the distance your food travels to get to your plate, you're conserving incredible amounts of fossil fuels."

Marty said the downtown farm helps people live a healthier life style, while reducing the impact on the environment.

The farm's windmill and greenhouse make it water and energy self-sufficient, while helping people live a healthier life style.

Marty says there are coils underneath the concrete floor of the green house which are part of the radient heating to warm the green house. He also says the windmill is hooked up to a well, which powers the water distribution to plants.

Montgomery's Earth Hour is sponsored by ARC Energy Consulting, and both ARC and EAT South want to inspire children to form smart habits to carry through adulthood.

"When you tell someone how to make their home efficient, you can teach the parents and the children at the same time," said Anna Burn, public relations and community outreach specialist for ARC. "Not only are you helping out your planet and environment, but you're saving money."

Thursday morning Mayor Todd Strange held his weekly briefing at the EATSouth downtown farm. During his meeting, Armory Cheerleaders, consisting of young girls and boys around the area, spoke up about their pledge to save energy.

One child said, "I pledge to turn off the lights when I leave the house." Another pledged to not use paper plates or plastic bottles in 2013.

Earth Hour will happen come rain or shine. If there is rain though, ARC says the festivities will move from the Eat South farm to the Train Shed. If the weather is favorable, everyone at Earth Hour will release a biodegradable chinese lantern at 8:30 p.m.

Mayor Todd Strange says the city's goal is to reduce energy expenses by up to one million dollars.

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