Mayor Larry O’Brien wants to leave Ottawa residents in the dark.

But only for one hour. And all for a good cause.

O’Brien yesterday challenged city residents and businesses to turn off all non-essential lights for one hour on Saturday, March 29, as he pledged the capital’s participation in “Earth Hour” — a World Wildlife Fund event working against climate change by reducing consumption.

“The one-hour event is a simple action to let the world know that the City of Ottawa is serious about taking action against climate change,” said O’Brien. “We should not underestimate our power to make a difference.”

If all goes to plan, parts of the city will darken for an hour between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. on March 29.

Ottawa already shuts off all administrative building lights after hours, seven days a week, but it will be turning off all non-essential lighting in as many municipal buildings as possible as part of Earth Day next month.

Seventeen major cities across the world, including Chicago, Toronto, Copenhagen and Sydney, are pledged to Earth Hour.

WWF Canada officials were pleased yesterday to hear Ottawa had come onboard. Julia Langer, director of the WWF’s climate change program, said everyone knows turning out the lights for an hour won’t make a massive difference, but the symbolism is important.

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