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Tomorrow night, turn off your lights!

(Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog to bring you information on other green efforts at Google)

Tomorrow from 8:30 to 9:30pm local time, hundreds of millions of people around the world will switch off their lights and participate in Earth Hour, the largest climate awareness event ever held. As climate change will effect people on every continent, we think a united, global call for action to address the problem is needed.

At Google we’re working hard to be part of the solution for the climate crisis. A first step was pledging to be a carbon neutral company. Our web-based services run in some of the world’s most efficient data centers, we deploy renewable energy where viable, and we buy high-quality carbon offsets to address the emissions we can’t otherwise eliminate.

Even with these efforts, however, there remains an urgent need for clean, affordable electricity. To that end we have a team of engineers working to develop technology breakthroughs that will help make carbon-free electricity an economically viable alternative to electricity from coal.

We’re also putting our experience with organizing information to work, so we can enable others to do projects in the sustainable space. We recently announced, for example, Earth Engine, a computational platform that enables global-scale monitoring and measurement of changes in the Earth’s forests. And we’re working with our peers through Climate Savers Computing to cut the power used by computers in half.

We also want to help you achieve your personal energy reduction targets. Most people don’t know their own direct energy footprint, so we launched Google PowerMeter to give detailed, near real-time information about home energy usage. We also like to encourage everyone to set their computer’s power management to avoid wasting electricity when it’s not being used.

It’s tools like Google PowerMeter that my parents wish they had years ago when I was a teenager and living under their roof. They were often exasperated to find the lights on in rooms I’d just left, and it took years for them to convince me that I could choose something to eat without standing in front of the fridge with the door wide open. The point is, I had to learn to become a steward of the environment. We can help many more people take steps toward better care of the environment, and make that learning curve easier to climb.

Turning off the lights won’t solve the climate crisis, but it’s a start. Earth Hour gives individuals a simple, meaningful way to participate in a global call for change. As U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated, “Earth Hour is a way for the citizens of the world to send a clear message — they want action on climate change.”

So I hope you’ll gather your friends and family and join me, and hundreds of millions of others, in turning off the lights. And please include the light in the fridge.

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