earth hour

earth hour

Written By

Erin Boyle

Tonight is Earth Hour. At 8:30 pm, people across the globe will turn off their lights, together. According to its website, Earth Hour has grown to be the “single, largest, mass participation event in the world,” since it began in 2007. Every year on March 23, individuals, families, corporations, and even entire municipalities pledge to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour in a demonstration of a global commitment to changing the way we treat our planet. Whether you decide to spend a quiet hour in the dark by yourself, or motivate your entire neighborhood to turn off their lights along with you, Earth Hour is an important reminder that even small actions can go a long way.

Here are a few ideas for celebrating Earth Hour:
1. Invite your neighbors to join you. Pledging to turn off your lights for an hour is a powerful act in its own right, but encouraging your neighbors to join the challenge is even more inspiring.  How empowering would it be to see your entire neighborhood go dark at the same time, and on purpose?
2. Host a neighborhood game night. Sometimes in big cities it takes the power going out for neighbors to get to know each other. I like the idea of creating the occasion through a self-imposed blackout. Once you get your neighbors to sign on to the challenge, invite them over for friendly game of cards, by candlelight of course.
3. Take a walk. Going out to dinner during Earth Hour feels a little bit like cheating, but using the time to take a nighttime stroll sounds just right to me. I plan to take a walk to see the Empire State Building powered down.
4. Go star-gazing. If you’re lucky enough to live in a place where you can still see the constellations on a dark night, take the opportunity to remind yourself of the night sky. Gather some friends and some warm blankets and lie underneath the stars. First one to spot the Big Dipper wins!
5. Read by flashlight. Staying up late to read with a flashlight will forever remind me of camping trips I went on as a child. If you have friends with small children, consider recreating some of that magic and host a story hour in your home during Earth Hour. Build a fort, gather a few good picture books and turn on those flashlights. Flashlight tag not required, but encouraged!
6. Eat dinner by candlelight. If you time things just right, you can have dinner prepared and on the table before turning out the lights. Spending an hour eating dinner by candlelight sounds pretty luxurious to me. I might just have to impose a lights-out hour every night of the week.

Interested in making a hurricane candleholder like mine for Earth Hour? Here’s what you’ll need:

1 liter-sized Weck cylinder jar
1 ¼ liter-sized Weck cylinder jar
beeswax votive
wax flowers (wax flowers are small, sturdy, and pine-scented so I like them best)
water

Weck canning jars seem to have endless uses. Because the glass is tempered for the high-heat of canning, the jars are perfect for housing candles when they’re not filled with delicious jams and fruit! I placed one ¼ liter-sized jar inside a liter-sized cylinder to make my hurricane lamp.

Inside the larger cylinder jar, I poured just about an inch of water and tucked wax flower stems into the water in the space between the two jars. The result is a kind of cylindrical frame for the wax flowers! Don’t worry: the ¼ liter jar is tall enough that there’s not a risk of the petals burning, instead you get beautiful shadows as the candlelight shines through the flower petals.