Millions of people around the world are expected to turn off their lights at 8:30 p.m. local time Saturday -- no matter what time zone they're in -- to observe Earth Hour. Never heard of it? It was started in 2007 by the WWF conservation organization to make a statement about energy overuse and how it affects the planet.
FROM Sydney to Seoul, London to Lima, Dubai to Davis Station in frozen Antarctica, hundreds of millions of people are expected to switch off their lights today to mark 'Earth Hour'.
The movement that began in Sydney in 2007 to raise awareness about climate change now brings together people from around the world to turn the lights off for 60 minutes to reduce energy consumption.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged people to celebrate the shared quest to "protect the planet and ensure human well-being".
In its third year, Earth Hour, organised by the World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature, involves switching off non-essential lights and electrical appliances for an hour. In 2010, over six million people across India participated in the campaign.
"In the last two years, Mumbai has conserved around 100 MW," said Goldin Quadros , interim director, WWF-Maharashtra. "Nationally, the energy saved in 2009 was 1,150 MW and 900 MW in 2010."
Earth Hour co-founder and chief executive Andy Ridley said hundreds of millions of people took part in last year's event and he was hopeful of the same response, with 133 countries and territories signing on this year.
He added that social media sites such as Facebook had helped the movement's success, which has seen city officials switch off the lights in famous locations such as the Eiffel Tower and New York's Times Square.
Earth Hour this year will focus on connecting people online so they can inspire each other to go beyond the hour and make commitments to help protect the environment, he said.
To do this, Earth Hour has created an online platform connected to the 14 top social media sites around the world, available in several languages, which people will be easily able to access from mobile phones.
Mr Ridley said he never expected the Earth Hour movement to become so large.
"We didn't imagine right at the beginning... it would be on the scale that it is now. And the fact that it is so cross cultural, beyond borders and race and religion," he said.
Earth Hour 2011 provides a platform:
* For Individuals to take initiatives that benefit the environment.
* For Organizations to demonstrate responsible action and announce their commitment to reduce their impact on the environment.
* For Governments to show leadership on environmental issues.