For the fifth time the United Nations and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon are taking part in Earth Hour by turning off the lights at its offices around the world on Saturday, 23 March, for one hour, in a symbolic gesture to support action on climate change and to demonstrate its commitment to reducing its own carbon footprint.

For example, in New York, the UN is now buying all its electricity for the iconic Secretariat Building from renewable energy sources. This marks a major milestone in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the New York campus.

The switch to renewables, currently 100 per cent wind energy, has been done by purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates, a tradable certificate issued when electricity is generated and delivered to the grid from a qualifying renewable energy source.

Overall, the US$1.9 billion renovation of the Secretariat building aims to reduce energy (electricity and steam) consumption by 50 per cent and carbon emissions by 45 per cent.

Similar strides are being taken around the UN System in places like Dakar, Nairobi and Rome.

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Everyone has a role to play. Governments need to provide the political will, businesses can contribute solutions, and civil society, especially young people, can mobilise global action.  Together, let’s do our part and shed light on common sense answers for a cleaner, greener world. — Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Here are just a few ways the UN is calling on governments and business are mobilizing action.

How can you take part? Here are some ideas.