Looking north from the southwest corner of Main and William streets in downtown Ann Arbor at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday. Can you spot the evidence that Earth Hour is taking place? (Hint: Look closely at the street lights.)
This year, Earth Hour fell on Saturday between 8:30 to 9:30 p.m., so The Chronicle decided to head downtown and see how much impact this international event was having in Ann Arbor.
It was hard to see the dark.
Street lights were off along Main Street between William and Huron (three blocks), on Liberty between Main and Ashley (two blocks) and, somewhat oddly, only on the south side of Liberty between Fourth and Main. What this seemed to reveal more than anything is how bright the downtown area is without street lights.
We covered as much ground as possible during the 60 minutes of Earth Hour, an event designed to heighten awareness of global warming. In most places, it seemed like well-lit business as usual – certainly nothing as dramatic as what some cities around the world witnessed. Here’s a chronological sampling of what we saw.
8:40 p.m.: Lights on at the Ann Arbor District Library's downtown branch on Saturday night. The library closes at 6 p.m. on Saturdays.
8:45 p.m.: This Fox News van was generating its own light as it sat parked on South State in front of the University of Michigan Museum of Art. The news crew was on hand to cover UMMA's re-opening to the public, a 24-hour event which started at 6 p.m. Saturday.
8:50 p.m.: Looking into the new wing of the University of Michigan Museum of Art. The public opening of the museum's new expansion drew lots of people – and light.
9:11 p.m.: The entrance to UM's School of Natural Resources and Environment.
9:21 p.m.: Lights on at the Ann Arbor News building at Washington and Division, and at the 411 Lofts apartment building behind it.
9:25 p.m.: Looking west down Washington Street.
By this time it was cold and drizzling rain. We headed west toward Main, then north toward Huron. Just as we were wondering how many minutes remained in the hour, the street lights on Main flashed back on – 9:30 p.m., and Earth Hour was over for 2009.