It's that time of year again: Earth Hour 2012

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Ready your candles! World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour -- one of the largest calls to action to encourage people to make positive changes for the planet -- kicks off on Saturday, March 31 at 8:30 p.m. local time.

The initiative asks the public to extinguish all “non-essential” lights for a full hour on the specified day.

Many business and organizations, including landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and New York City’s Times Square, are also participating by turning out their lights in “the World’s largest campaign for the planet.”

This year’s campaign is taking the action even further, through an interactive Youtube channel allowing viewers to submit unique “I Will If You Will” challenges.

The concept is simple: a viewer submits a proposal in exchange for a pledge of action, such as “I will do the Polar Bear Swim if 2,000 people agree to pick up trash by the beach.” Other Youtube viewers can click to accept the challenge and ask friends to do the same.

There are some famous faces to be found in videos of their own, including Australian model Miranda Kerr, pledging to teach a free yoga class in exchange for 500 viewer uploads of new challenges.

Earth Hour Kids’ ambassador Pocoyo has committed to planting 50,000 trees if 100,000 people play his recycling game on EarthHour.org.

Earth Hour has been taking over cities, too: the Earth Hour City Challenge urges Americans to write to government officials asking for city improvements to better prepare for extreme weather conditions.

Originally started in a single city -- Sydney, Australia -- in 2007, Earth Hour has spread to over 135 countries and 1.8 billion people worldwide.

To do your part, visit www.earthhour.org!

Danielle Snow | Facebook | blog
Chicago, IL Danielle is an avid eater who, after switching to vegetarianism, discovered a renewed passion for food in all its fascinating varieties. Currently living and studying in Chicago, she hopes to devote her life to travel, learning, and having haphazard adventures that she can write about afterward.

Photo credit:cc:flickr.com/photos/earthhour_global

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