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Earth Hour 2012 to take place on 30 Mar

From Times Square to the Sydney Opera House, Brunei to Lithuania, the tallest building on the planet to an Inuit igloo, the world will once again celebrate the largest voluntary action for the environment as the lights switch off for Earth Hour, on 31 March. 

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.

"In its sixth year, with hundreds of millions of people taking part in Earth Hour, we want to go beyond the hour to encourage positive action for the environment," said Earth Hour co-founder and executive director, Andy Ridley.

"We have created a new element, ‘I Will If You Will’ to offer the incentive to share the dream amongst us all. The power of social media enables us to unite the global community in the endeavour to protect the planet," he said.

The "I Will If You Will" digital platform created in partnership with Leo Burnett, is the result of a collaboration with YouTube, therefore bringing together the world’s biggest social video platform with the world’s largest action for the environment. Earth Hour’s new "I Will If You Will" campaign uses the YouTube video platform www.youtube.com/earthhour to encourage people to share a personal dare with the world, by asking "What are you willing to do to save the planet?"

"’I Will If You Will’ gives every individual the opportunity to inspire their friends, colleagues and neighbours to take sustainability actions not just on the hour but beyond the hour. The challenges we are seeing from all walks of life are truly inspiring," said Ridley.

Earth Hour Kids’ ambassador Pocoyo has doubled his "I Will If You Will" challenge after reaching its target of 10,000 within days. Pocoyo will now plant 20,000 trees if 20,000 people play his recycling game on Earthhour.org.

The President of Fiji, 70 year old Epeli Nailatikau, announced he will walk 30 kilometres to raise awareness of climate issues if businesses, non-government organisations and government departments in Fiji take clear-cut actions that will benefit our environment.

A diverse range of supporters including Stephen Fry and Yoko Ono have already engaged with Earth Hour and "I Will If You Will" on Twitter.

The concept of "I Will If You Will" centres around providing a social contract for two parties  connecting one person, business or organisation to a promise and their friends, family, customers or members to a challenge.

The YouTube platform hosts a global library of "I Will If You Will" challenges, and encourages people to share their "dare" publicly through Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and email. Friends can be invited to participate and accept each challenge using these popular social networks.

Earth Hour 2012 will take place at 8.30pm – 9.30pm on Saturday 31 March.