Tonight at 8:30pm is Earth Hour. And we want to know – what are you doing?

We would hope shutting off your lights is a part of it!

What is Earth Hour?

Earth Hour began in 2007 in Sydney, Australia when 2.2 million people  and over  2,000 businesses turned their lights off for one hour. Why? To take a stand against climate change.

A year later Earth Hour became a global event, with over 50 million people across 35 countries/territories taking part.

In March 2009, hundreds of millions of people topped the charts for the number taking part in Earth Hour. Over 4000 cities in 88 countries/territories shut off the lights, making that year the world’s largest global climate change initiative.

In 2010, it was the biggest Earth Hour ever (seeing a trend here?) One hundred twenty-eight countries/ territories joined the movement.

This year, Earth Hour 2011 takes place on Saturday, March 26th, at 8:30pm local time.

Earth Hour is organized by WWF, whose mission is to end the degradation of the Earth’s natural environment and help build a future where people and nature live together in harmony.

How to help

Shut off your lights! Gather a couple clean-air candles, maybe a board game or two, go for a walk (if some daylight is available), and peek through the windows to see what your city is up to.

Social media is playing a large role in Earth Hour this year, too.

  • Become a fan of Earth Hour on Facebook and invite all of your friends!
  • Follow them on Twitter and and tweet with #earthhour or #60+ on what you’re doing during the hour.
  • Use a Earth Hour Twibbon for your Twitter or Facebook avatar.
  • Tell your MySpace friends to turn off their lights for Earth Hour.
  • Get Earth Hour news on your cellphone at m.earthhour.org
  • Add the  Earth Hour Logo to your website or blog, along with the Earth Hour Video.

Setting a record

The goal for this year is a forecasted 134 countries/territories across the globe.

Hundreds of landmarks, cities, individuals, organizations, and governments are pledging their commitment for the hour… and beyond.

Landmarks include the Eiffel Tower, the London Eye, Big Ben, the Empire State Building, Dubai’s Burj al Arab hotel, Grenada’s Alhambra, Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer statue, Athens’ Acropolis, India Gate, Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque, the Sydney Opera House, Niagara and Victoria Falls and Table Mountain in South Africa.

“As we head into the fifth Earth Hour, with a record number of countries and territories taking part, it is inspiring to see what we can achieve when we come together for a common purpose,” Andy Ridley, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Earth Hour said in a press release. “Imagine what we can achieve if we go beyond the hour.”

The event carries over the globe in 24 hours,starting across Fiji and New Zealand to and ending in Samoa. It will last longest in Russia, where 11 time zones are covered.

In the same release, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon pledged his support. He said, “Let us join together to celebrate this shared quest to protect the planet and ensure human well-being. Let us use 60 minutes of darkness to help the world see the light.”

Although this a statement, it isn’t enough. This year, Earth Hour has launched an online platform www.earthhour.org/beyondthehour to collect and showcase the action across the world.

Read more on how you can help after the fact, and information from Earth Hour 2011 at www.earthhour.org.

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