"Starting as a symbolic lights out event in Sydney in 2007, Earth Hour is now the world's largest grassroots movement for the environment, inspiring millions of people to take action for our planet and nature." (www.earthhour.org)
So what exactly does Earth Hour entail? At its simplest, it means turning out your lights for an hour. But as anyone could probably figure out, turning out our lights for an hour -- even if everyone on Earth were to do it -- isn't going to fix anything in the long run.
Earth Hour (8:30 pm local time, Saturday, March 30, 2019) is an event meant to build awareness and start conversations. As the official website states, "As accelerating climate change and staggering biodiversity loss threaten our planet, Earth Hour 2018-2020 endeavours to spark never-before-had conversations on the loss of nature and the urgent need to protect it."
The website is the best place to start if you're wondering how to get involved, with lots of ideas for organizing larger group events. Here is a small collection of ideas for celebrating Earth Hour this Saturday, whether you will be on your own; with family; gathering friends together; or you're looking for a larger event.
First things first...
If you plan to take part in any capacity, you can RSVP to the global event. This is a great way to spread the word; especially if you share it to your social networks as well!
Sometimes it's good to be reminded of all the great things going on outdoors! Go for a walk -- enjoy a local park or visit a favourite local business. Take a tour on your bike. Even sitting outside on the front porch, wrapped in a blanket and sipping tea, is a very nice way to spend an hour.
Enjoy the Dark
If you'd rather stay indoors, why not enjoy the dark? Sure, you could have a nap. If you have a significant other nearby, consider spending an hour cuddling, or giving one another a massage. Kids included in the festivities? Do you remember how much fun it was to play hide-and-seek in the dark as a kid?
Organize an Event
Host a party or gather a group you're part of to observe the occasion. Maybe this is a church group, book club, running group... who knows! There are lots of ideas on the Earth Hour website to get you started, including a variety of organizer toolkits which you can find here.
Dine by Candlelight
On your own, with your family or housemates, or with invited guests, enjoy a meal and conversation by candlelight. A potluck is a great option for this idea, or it could be as simple as making your meal right before the lights go out. There is something magical about dining by candlelight which we forget.
Attend a Local Event
Here in Calgary, like in many municipalities, our government takes part in turning out their lights for Earth Hour. But on top of that, there are also events that you can attend! Here we have Calgary Unplugged, an Earth Hour party on St. Patrick's Island (just across the river from our shoppe!) with a DJ dance party, firepits and activities. If you're in the city, consider paying us a visit (we are open until 5 pm on Saturday) and then heading over to this event which begins at 7 pm.
Wondering if there are any public events happening near you? Zoom in on the Earth Hour map to find out.
See the Stars
What a great excuse to go stargazing! Grab a warm blanket and head to a clear spot where you can take in the constellations. Check out the SkyView app for your smartphone -- it lines up a constellation diagram with the sky above to make it easy to identify the formations!
Make it Special
What can you do to make an hour without electricity feel truly special? We all have our own connections and rituals -- try drawing on yours here. Perhaps spending the time in prayer or meditation might feel truly special. Maybe an hour of yoga practice in the dark would feel meaningful to you. Put on some slow music and dance with a loved one by candlelight. Or, build a blanket fort and spend an hour reading by flashlight with the kids or making up stories together in the dark.
Personally, I have been a big fan of ritual baths lately and have been surprised just how special they feel (I know, I might be late to the game here!). To make your bath really special, add salts (Epsom or dead sea salts, or magnesium flakes; scented or unscented); incorporate crystals, flowers and candles as you wish; and include a smoke cleanse beforehand (sage, sweetgrass or Palo santo are nice choices, but you could also use herbs or greens you have on hand -- I cut a twig of juniper from outside our front door).
However you choose to observe Earth Hour, know that you'll be joining millions around the globe. In 2018, according to the Earth Hour website, "Close to 18,000 landmarks switched off their lights in solidarity as people across the globe generated over 3.5 billion impressions of #EarthHour, #connect2earth and related hashtags to show their concern for the planet. The hashtags trended in 33 countries."