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The hour the world goes dark

Lights will switch off around the globe tomorrow for the fifth annual Earth Hour.

New York’s Empire State Building, Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace, Paris’ Eiffel Tower, Hong Kong’s Government House, the Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil and other global landmarks will go dark at 8.30pm local time on Saturday 26 March.

131 countries are participating and organisers are estimating that hundreds of millions of people will come together to switch off power in support of saving the planet from climate change.

Click on the image for more pictures of Earth Hour 2010

“It is only through the collective action of business, organisations, individuals, communities and governments that we will be able to affect change on the scale required to address the environmental challenges we face,” said Andy Ridley, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Earth Hour.

“We are calling on businesses and organisations to use the annual lights-out event as the time to show their commitment to lasting action for the planet, beyond the hour.”

This year is the first time organisers are calling on participants to go “beyond the hour” and they have set up a dedicated website in 11 languages to allow businesses, governments and individuals to collaborate on worldwide projects.

“We have developed this platform for people, organisations and companies around the world to show what can be done, by showcasing and sharing their actions throughout the year,” Ridley said.

So far Sydney has committed to switching its streetlamps to energy saving LED; in Shenyang, China 38,000 hectares of land will be reforested; Chinese internet company Baidu has pledged to reduce office resource consumption by 30 per cent; and Credit Suisse AG has committed to continue its carbon neutral status and to help Brazilian rainforest preservation.

Australian prime minister Julia Gillard added her voice to the cause yesterday, saying she will “do everything in [her] power to deliver a carbon price.” Speaking from Parliament House, Canberra she said: “I believe 2011 is the year Australia will choose action. Everyone taking part in Earth Hour this year is helping make sure this is so.”

For more information visit www.earthhour.org