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André Kuipers photographed Europe’s lights from space. Portugal is on the right of the image, while Paris is the glowing light on the left.

Since its inception in Sydney, Australia, in 2007, Earth Hour has become the world's largest voluntary action highlighting climate change and the need for sustainability. In 2011, 5,251 cities took part, reaching 1.8 billion people in 135 countries across all seven continents. This year, Earth Hour will take place at 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m at participants' local time, on March 31. The event will be observed from the International Space Station by European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut and World Wildlife Fund ambassador André Kuipers.

"There is no better way to raise awareness for the future of the most beautiful planet in the universe," says Kuipers. "Working to understand our planet is what ESA does every day, and taking part in Earth Hour enables people to join us in this commitment." Everyone is invited to join Earth Hour in a symbolic switching off of lights as a way to remind all of us to take care of our home planet’s limited resources.

Image courtesy of ESA/NASA.

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