New Delhi: At 8.30pm on Saturday, millions of people around the world will turn off the lights for the 'Earth Hour 2011'. You too can be part of the Earth Hour campaign, just switch off the lights for an hour between 8.30pm and 9.30 pm, an hour of darkness to conserve energy to ensure a bright future.

An estimated 1.5 billion people in 131 countries across the globe will join the display of climate action and iconic buildings and landmarks from Asia Pacific to Europe and Africa to the Americas would go dark.

People across the world from all walks of life would switch off their lights and would come together in celebration and contemplation of the one thing ‘we all have in common-our planet.’

With just few hours to go before the world comes together for Earth Hour, India too is set to join hundreds of millions of people across the planet to not only switch but 'Go beyond the hour' for 2011, which is also the theme for this year's Earth Hour.

Several households, buildings and organisations in the city would plunge into darkness at 8:30 pm to call for action against climate change and global warming posing grave threats to the planet.

The concept of Earth Hour was triggered in Australia in 2007 when about 2.2 million homes and businesses of Sydney turned their lights off for an hour.

Close to five million people across India had participated in Earth Hour for the first time in 2007. It received unprecedented support and participation across the country when over 56 cities, several corporations, and over 6,00,000 students supported the campaign.

So here's a wakeup call for what is believed to be the world's largest initiative to save our Earth, our planet!

Do your bit during Earth Hour
* Switch off all unnecessary lights between 8.30pm and 9.30pm on Saturday.
* Take a pledge to support the movement.
* Spread a word amongst friends, relatives and ask them to participate in the Earth Hour.
* Think of different ways in which one can spend an hour of darkness, like having candle night dinner, watching the stars, playing antakshari.

Save energy
Take initiative to conserve energy and here’s how you can do it:

* Turn down the Heat

To minimize the amount of energy that you use for heating, make sure that heating units are well ventilated and not obscured by furniture. There should be at least a few inches of space between heaters and other objects for them to work efficiently.

* Unplug appliances

You can start by unplugging your small appliances such as the microwave and coffee maker. Hopefully, your toaster is already unplugged when not in use!

* Unplug chargers

For one hour, unplug your cell phone charger, battery re-charger and any other adaptors you have around your home. If you leave these items unplugged when not in use, you can save a few dollars in energy costs every month.

* Turn off your computer

Even an idle computer uses energy. You can cut down on computer energy costs by powering down all of the devices at your desk for one hour. You can simply switch off the power bar or surge bar.

Make your Earth Hour interesting
To help make Earth Hour go faster, here are ten fun activities that you can do:

* Take a nap
* Tell Stories
* Play Board Games
* Play Handheld Games
* Play Word Games
* Sing Songs
* Recycle
* Draft a Green Action Plan

Do not confine it to a specific day or time. Once Earth Hour 2011 has come and gone, it is most important to take the initiative and continue our attempts to conserve energy and spread awareness.

Try to create one new green habit every month, and find new ways to reduce your not only energy and water use, but petrochemical and paper consumption as well.

JPN