Tuesday, March 9, 2010 | 2:02 p.m.
- Las Vegas unplugs for Earth Hour (3-28-09)
Las Vegas will join the worldwide Earth Hour event as lights are turned off around the city – and the Strip – from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 27.
The World Wildlife Fund, which organizes the event, held a news conference Tuesday at the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign, which also will be turned off for the event.
The organization hopes to send a message about climate change and the importance of energy conservation by getting as many people as possible to turn off their lights for one hour, and this year more than 80 countries will be participating.
But the participation of Las Vegas is crucial to the event, said Leslie Aun, the U.S. managing director of the event.
“It turned a corner when Las Vegas signed on in 2009,” she said. “That was the event that really turned the corner and put Earth Hour on the map.”
When Aun travels and talks to people, they usually don’t get excited when she tells them that the Eiffel Tower, the Great Pyramid and the Empire State Building will be going dark, but when she tells them the Las Vegas Strip will turn off its lights, people get excited, she said.
“People don’t think about Las Vegas and sustainability,” she said. “It’s such a juxtaposition.”
She also uses Las Vegas as an example when she tries to convince other cities to participate.
“If Las Vegas can turn off its lights, you can,” she tells representatives from other cities.
For the event this year, all Boyd, Harrah’s and MGM Mirage properties will be participating, as will many other local landmarks and buildings.
Representatives from Harrah’s and MGM Mirage stood together at the news conference Tuesday to show the competing gaming companies are united for Earth Hour activities.
“We’re competitors in a lot of places and our companies are great, but when it comes to green, all green is good,” said Cindy Ortega, MGM Mirage's senior vice president of energy and environmental services. “We think our message is united in this, and that’s what Earth Hour is really about -- it’s about a powerful message to unite people to say that we’re all on the same team.”
The companies also use the opportunity to tell customers about their efforts to be environmentally responsible and to encourage them to do likewise.
“Watching all of Las Vegas Boulevard, which is known for having lots of lights, go dark is awe-inspiring,” said Rick Mazer, Harrah’s regional president. “Our signs are so much a part of what we are all about, the idea of turning them off for an hour might cause some people to go home and think twice.”
Local political officials also said they support the event and encourage people to turn off their lights at home for the hour.
“It’s important that we as a public entity buy into Earth Hour not only in words but in action, and we certainly have,” Clark County Commissioner Larry Brown said. “We need your help on March 27 to join us in this effort worldwide and be a part of the solution.”
Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman said people think of Las Vegas as a great travel destination, but don’t know about the region’s green activities.
“What the public doesn’t know about Las Vegas and where we really are leading the league is in the area of sustainability,” he said. “The city has really dedicated itself to going green in every single respect.”
And participating in the event is simple, Goodman said.
“All we have to do is flick a switch, flick a switch and then an hour later flip it back up and we’ve made our statement to the whole world that we believe that the future of generations to come depends on the kind of example we set here today.”
List of participating locations
- California Hotel and Casino
- Eldorado Casino
- Fremont Hotel and Casino
- Gold Coast Hotel and Casino
- Jokers Wild Casino
- Main Street Station Casino, Brewery and Hotel
- Orleans Arena
- The Orleans Hotel and Casino
- Sam's Town Hotel and Gambling Hall
- Suncoast Hotel and Casino
- Fashion Show Mall
- Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas
- Bally's Las Vegas
- Bill's Gamblin' Hall & Saloon
- Caesars Palace Las Vegas
- Flamingo Las Vegas
- Harrah's Las Vegas
- Imperial Palace
- O'Shea's Casino
- Paris Las Vegas
- Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino
- Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino Las Vegas
- Hard Rock Hotel and Casino
- The Palazzo Las Vegas
- The Venetian Las Vegas
- Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas
- Aria Resort and Casino at CityCenter
- Circus Circus Las Vegas
- Excalibur Hotel Casino Las Vegas
- Mandalay Bay Resort
- MGM Grand Las Vegas
- Monte Carlo Resort and Casino
- New York-New York
- Slots-A-Fun at Circus Circus Las Vegas
- THEhotel at Mandalay Bay
- The Mirage Resort
- The Signature at MGM Grand
- Vdara Hotel and Spa at CityCenter
- Miracle Mile Shops
- Riviera Hotel Casino Las Vegas
- Sahara Hotel and Casino
- Springs Preserve
- The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
- Treasure Island Las Vegas
- Tropicana Las Vegas
- Trump International
- Encore Las Vegas
- Wynn Las Vegas