MIAMI (CBS4)- Millions of homes, businesses and national landmarks around the world will go dark Saturday night as part of Earth Hour, a global movement to raise awareness of climate change and energy efficient practices. South Florida is also following suit.

Millions are expected to turn off lights and appliances for an hour at 8:30 p.m. Saturday. The World Wildlife Fund is also hoping you’ll turn out the lights for an hour this weekend to show support for the environment. This year marks the fifth annual Earth Hour organized by the fund.

In Fort Lauderdale, there will be a near black-out for the famous Las Olas strip in the city’s downtown area, the company that manages most of the office buildings in the area announced.

Stiles Property Management, a division of Stiles, will show its support by blacking-out non-essential lighting in all of its office buildings in Ft. Lauderdale, Miami and Tampa, according to Stiles.

Additionally, Stiles will flip the switch on the iconic ziggurat that crowns the SunTrust Financial Centre in downtown Tampa and lights the city’s night sky.

“Earth Hour is one of the many ways in which we celebrate sustainability and show our impact on the markets we serve,” said Chris Rotolo, president of Stiles Property Management. “When our managed office towers across Florida’s major cities, such as Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, Orlando and Tampa go black on Saturday night, it will send a clear message to onlookers that we can all make a difference with the flip of a switch.”

Miami-Dade County announced that the county will be turning off the lights for the Stephen P. Clark Government Center, Miami-Dade’s Courthouse and the county’s 140 and Hickman buildings.

The City of Miami will dim or turn off all non-essential lighting at city landmarks in support of Earth Hour. Lights will be turned off or dimmed at many of Miami’s buildings and famous landmarks, including the Bank of America Tower, the Freedom Tower and City Hall.

Additionally, the Conrad Miami, the luxury Hilton hotel in Miami’s Brickell business and financial district, is also supporting the cause.

The hotel will be switching off the main building exterior lighting and rooftop neon signage and dimming of interior lights in lobby and reception area.

The company issued a statement, adding:

“Conrad’s participation shows its commitment to being more eco-friendly. In January, the hotel installed a new energy-efficient sign on the north side of the landmark building at 1395 Brickell Avenue in Miami.”

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue (MDFR) is urging all participants to remain safe while reducing their carbon footprint. Those who choose to use candles to light their home during this event should remember the following guidelines when using candles:

  • Keep candles away from decorations, curtains, bedding, paper, walls, furniture or other combustible materials.
  • Place candles away from spots where they could be knocked over by a person or a pet.
  • Use sturdy, non-combustible candleholders that can collect dripping wax and wont tip over.
  • Extinguish a candle when two inches of wax remains or a half-inch if the candle is in a container. This prevents heat damage to the surface and stop glass containers from breaking.
  • Don’t leave children unattended in a room with lit candles.
  • Always leave candles, as well as matches and lighters, out of the reach of children.
  • Extinguish candles when leaving the room or going to sleep.

Earth Hour began in Sydney in 2007, when 2 million people switched off their lights. In 2010, Earth Hour had created history as the largest voluntary action ever witnessed with participation across 128 countries and territories and every continent, including the worlds most recognized man-made marvels and natural wonders in a landmark environmental action.

Across the world, lights will be dimmer on such global icons as the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Sydney’s Opera House, the Great Pyramids of Giza and New York’s Empire State Building.

The National Cathedral in Washington said it plans to participate again this year. The World Wildlife Fund said others pledging to participate this year include the city of Baltimore, where City Hall lights will be dimmed, as well at the National Aquarium.

In 2011, Earth Hour aims to reach out to 1 billion people in 131 countries.

For more information, visit the World Wild Life’s Web site.

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