Saturday, March 16, 2013

Six fun ways to celebrate Earth Hour with your kids

Thanks to the February wind storm our little neighbourhood was without power for three days. It was a bit of an adventure for the first two days. We slept by the fire in the living room and held my daughter’s evening birthday party by candlelight, craft activities and all. It was fun and memorable but by the third cold early morning the novelty had worn off.

We’ll be back at it again the evening of Saturday, March 23 to celebrate Earth Hour. Except this time it will have all of the fun of the power outage without the worry of pipes freezing.
This is the seventh year for Earth Hour, a global environmental event that continues to gain momentum. Hundreds of millions of people around the globe now celebrate Earth Hour as a pledge to do more to help combat climate change, the single greatest threat to our planet.

It’s the largest environmental grass roots initiative in history and is using sheer numbers to affect political change, especially with this year’s global “I will if you will” challenge. From protecting Russia’s forests to organizing beach clean ups, the new online forum to make environmental pledges is a fun way to connect with and support likeminded people from around the world. It’s also serving to turn the inspiration of one hour into everyday actions. Visit to take part in the global challenge. Watch the “I will if you will” video if you’re in need of encouragement.

Turning out the lights during Earth Hour is more symbolic than a way to actually curb electricity use and reduce carbon emissions for an hour. The point is that celebrating in the dark is a thought provoking way to ignite change by getting people to think about their impact on the planet.

It’s also lots of fun, just like my daughter’s candlelit birthday party was magical in its own simple way.

If you’re looking for more ways to celebrate, World Wildlife Federation offers dozens of suggestions ( Here are some of my favourites:
  • Candlelit dinners or pot lucks. Encourage people to bring non-cooked dishes, or dishes made with locally grown or produced ingredients. (You’d be surprised what local food you can find, from meat and poultry to root vegetables and dairy products.) Choose a vegetarian meal if you want a more eco-friendly meal.
  • Make s’mores by the fireplace or woodstove.
  • Play games by candlelight. Board games and card games are extra fun when the lights are out.
  • Glow-in-the dark party. Have your guests wear old neon clothing and hand out glow sticks.  
  • Play hide and seek in the dark. This is my kids’ favourite and the added challenge of total darkness makes it extra fun. Flashlight tag is another option.
  • Keep an ear open for local restaurants that might be celebrating Earth Hour.

This year’s Earth Hour celebration is Saturday, March 23 from 8:30 to 9:30 local time. Register your participation on the WWF website (

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