Earth Hour is the global effort to reduce energy consumption and waste for one hour. This Saturday, March 23 at 8:30PM, we are encouraged to turn off the lights, turn off the TV, unplug those things that don’t actually need to be plugged in (like my cell phone charger presently plugged in in my bedroom… and living room… and guest room) for one hour.

I enjoy crashing and “vegging out” in front of the television at the end of the week as much as the next American. But, I also know the value of turning that thing off from time to time. Earth Hour is a great opportunity to make a blanket fort and dig out those lithium battery flashlights your Uncle Robert gave you for Christmas. Have a campy night and play games, tell stories, engage in the World’s Biggest Tickle Fight with the kids.

In some places, whole municipalities are getting in on the effort. Take Savannah for example. The city is shutting off all of the lights at City Hall for an hour. (I would love to know the difference that hour makes on the electric bill, because I bet it does.) What a great example for area businesses and citizens to follow.

If you feel inspired to do more, or perhaps are curious about what that “more” might be, check out the website for more challenges. For example, Green School in Bali Indonesia has issued a challenge. If 1,000 people pledge to plant a tree, they will go paperless for the remainder of their school year. It’s planting season in Georgia, so this challenge is a great example of something that you may already be doing that could encourage the efforts of these children.

You can also create your own challenge by uploading a video to YouTube. Be sure to let us know if you do!

You can follow the Earth Hour story live online and see what is going on around the effort via Flickr, Twitter, and news stories.