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GLOBAL – Saturday the 26th of March at 8.30pm is what’s called Earth Hour. An hour of your year where you turn off all the lights in your home to help send a message that it is possible to save energy – on a global scale – if we all make the smallest of efforts. Read on to find out how you can help.

So what’s the big deal about leaving a light on or having the TV on in the background when you’re flicking through a magazine? The problem is that it uses electricity, which means a power station somewhere is chugging away burning coal or gas when it’s not really needed to, using up our supply of fossil fuels and polluting the atmosphere with the byproducts.

Earth Hour is a campaign that was set up and organised by WWF in 2007, when over two million people and more than 2000 businesses took part to switch off their lights for one hour to make a stand against climate change. One year later, Earth Hour had a following of over 50 million people spanning 35 countries/territories, in 2009 that figure rose to hundreds of millions in 88 countries/territories and last year saw a record 128 countries taking part in turning off their lights for just one hour. Sending famous landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge, the Colosseum and the Sydney Harbour Bridge into darkness for the cause.

Here’s a short video produced by the Earth Hour team.

Nokia take part in this campaign too by turning off lights in all the main Nokia facilities, but also this year are working on IdeasProject with a croudsourcing challenge to find ways of helping the planet once the sixty minutes has finished. People will be asked to share their ideas on how mobile phones or apps could be used to benefit the planet or even how mobile phones can help you to live in a more sustainable way, kicking off on march 26th and will last for three weeks.

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If you want to take part in this challenge, you could win yourself a Nokia eco-leading device such as the Nokia C7, Nokia C6-01, Nokia N8 or a Nokia E7. However, you won’t just be given one. You’ll need to work for it of course, by answering the following:

  • What do you wish you could do with mobile phones and applications to benefit the planet?
  • How can mobile phones and applications help you to live more sustainable way?
  • In addition to sharing your idea, you should actually do something that could help to make our world a better place by visiting and submitting your plans.

Ideally your idea will be new and innovative, help the environment locally or something that can help on a wider scale across many nations. If you head over to the BeyondTheHour website, you can see that some people are already pledging to make some changes, such as:

Turn off unnecessary lights always!

Charge cellphone and laptops only when battery life is at two per cent or less. Unplug appliances, turn off lights when not in use.

Or one of my favourites so far:

I will spend six to seven hours out of my apartment with friends enjoying nature.

Your ideas will be judged by a panel of Nokia and WWF representatives and the winner – or winners – will be announced in a few months time.

Are you planning to take part in Earth Hour this weekend? Know of any good Earth Hour celebrations? I may pop along, if it’s in London. Tell us all about it, below.