Today will see the biggest ever Earth Hour ever, with record 147 countries and territories preparing to send a united message that now is the time to take action for the planet.

Hundreds of landmarks across more than 5 000 cities and towns will go dark at 8:30 PM on Saturday, with Libya, Algeria, Bhutan and French Guinea among those participating for the first time.

Earth Hour began in 2007 as a one city initiative in Sydney, Australia and has since grown to be the world’s largest voluntary action for the environment.

This year, Earth Hour launched the I Will If You Will campaign to incentivise sustainable action beyond the hour. Thousands of individuals, organisations and governments have created an I Will If You Will challenge, inspiring their friends, colleagues and networks to be a part of their action towards a more sustainable world.

“Each and every one us play an important role in making a difference to the world we live in. As the lights go off around globe tomorrow, celebrate your commitment to the planet and inspire those around you to take action,” said Earth Hour Co-Founder and Executive Director, Andy Ridley.

The last country to usually go dark, Samoa has crossed the International Date Line and this year will kick off the lights off event as it traverses the globe over a 24-hour period. The last switch off event will wrap up in the Cook Islands.

Earth Hour in Rio De Janeiro 2011

Landmarks switching off include the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Great Wall Of China, Orchard Road Singapore, Gateway of India, The Libyan Museum, Table Mountain in South Africa, Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, Tower of Pisa, The Cupola of St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, The UK Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Christ the Redeemer Statue, the UN Headquarters and more.

Earth Hour has grown from a one city initiative in 2007, to a 5,251 city strong global movement, last year reaching 1.8 billion people in 135 countries across all seven continents.

Earth Hour 2012 will take place at 8.30 pm – 9.30 pm.

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