It’s a big deal for businesses to shut off the lights for an hour in the evening — especially for restaurants, bars and coffee shops. But a few Ohio cities are participating in Earth Hour, the World Wildlife Fund’s call for greater global-warming awareness. The plan: Turn off lights and unplug unneeded appliances between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, March 28.

“What’s this all about?” you might ask as the lights go down just before the barista hands off your latte. And then the barista might tell you: The WWF hopes to create political momentum for enacting national climate legislation and a global climate treaty. Last year’s Earth Hour was a big hit, with about 50 million people — 36 million of them in the U.S. — turning off the lights. Among the dark landmarks were the Sydney Opera House, Bangkok’s Wat Arun Buddhist temple, the Coliseum in Rome, Stockholm’s Royal Castle, London’s City Hall, New York’s Empire State Building, Cola-Cola’s famous Times Square billboard, Chicago’s Sears Tower, the Golden Gate Bridge and Google’s homepage.

More than 2,140 cities and towns in 82 countries are participating. Lakewood and a handful of Earth-friendly non-profits and businesses are sponsoring a gathering at the Lakewood Women’s Club Pavilion from 8 to 9:30 p.m. with a bunch of stuff you can do in the dark: stargazing, acoustic guitar-playing, firelight storytelling and more. For information, visit — Michael Gill

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