Earth hour: Get ready to turn off your lights

The Great Wall of China went dark as the landmark switched off the lights to mark 'Earth Hour' as part of a global effort to shine a spotlight on climate change in north of Beijing, China, Saturday, March 31, 2012.
AP Photo/ Vincent Thian

It's hard to imagine what Times Square or the Vegas Strip would look like without all the bright lights going 24 hours a day, but at the same time it's difficult to appreciate the amount of energy that goes into keeping those areas lit.

Earth Hour, is an hour where communities and businesses are invited to switch off non-essential lighting in order to help save the planet, is scheduled to be celebrated across the world on Saturday.

Individuals, businesses, governments and communities are invited to turn out their lights for one hour on Saturday March 23, 2013 between 8:30p.m. and 9:30p.m. local time to show their support for their planet.

The event is touted as the single largest, mass participation event in the world, surprisingly much bigger than the pants less subway ride in New York City. It was created in 2007, and started in Sydney, Australia where 2.2 million residents and 2,100 businesses spent one hour in the dark to show their support for protecting the planet.

In 2012, 6,950 cities and towns across 152 countries and territories took part in the event, which is part of a global environmental initiative partnership with the World Wildlife Fund.

The reason the hour works out so well, is it's scheduled for the last weekend of March, which is either the spring or autumn equinox, depending on which hemisphere you're in. The time of year allows for coincidental sunset times.

In order to prevent any safety issues, they urge people to only turn-off any non-essential lighting.