Earth Hour

Earth hour, and isn’t it pretty.


This is what the world looks like when you use a little less.

It’s not about what the world saves in an hour.


It’s not just about global climate change.


It is about resources being valuable, and using them wisely,

and thoughtfully.

Airport at 4:30am. (Offset purchased.) Still need a sweater pattern.


100 thoughts on “Earth Hour

  1. What gorgeous pictures!! They remind me of a time when life’s activities were dictated by the rising and setting of the sun…much less to do…

  2. My girls loved it (though we stared midway through – we ended up going until 10:30). They want to do an earth hour every Sunday night now. Looks like you all had a fabulous time!

  3. Your Earth Hour celebration looks like Christmas.
    After reading descriptions of all the classes, I realize… I’m not a beginner any more! I’m a real, live, Intermediate knitter!

  4. How lovely. We did not have guys with guitars, just us. I was five minutes late because I wanted to get the hang of something before I tried knitting it by the light of two candles. Then I swatched away while Himself played with the dog. We did indulge in radio, but no dishwasher, no TV, no computers… was nice.

  5. OK, but–why are you still awake? 4:30 isn’t all that far away and sleep certainly isn’t an optional activity for me.

  6. Look at all that candle wax you’re wasting! All the efforts of those bees down the drain! Disgraceful!
    Seriously, looks lovely.

  7. Insomia again? Or just lots of knitting?
    We were also awake till 4am as the upstairs neighbour had another party. Yay for earplugs, but they only kill so much noise.

  8. Well, I was in the CAR of all places for Earth hour, but it was in the country coming home from camping (and it was QUITE dark on the roadway)… so I guess I helped my hour out last night, too!

  9. There is something really special about candlelight. As for the sweater pattern, be reckless! Make it up as you go. It’ll be great!

  10. Hi there, we met briefly at I KNIT DAY LONDON at the signing were you convinced me to go for a home birth. just wanted to let you know that on the 15th of march a beutifull and healthy girl, Line (pronounced Lee-na), was born, at home, swiftly and without any problems within 4 hous! it was the best experience ever!! 🙂 Love from the Netherlands, Saskia

  11. I know I miss certain important things but the Earth Hour missed me by in the UK, please can you explain more and how you got involved/ to know about is, and is it really big in Canada? i feel really cheated, it was something I would have liked to do.

  12. I need a sweater pattern too……have been looking at Mr. GreenJeans. Have you seen that one?

  13. question….how many resources were used up to make that many candles?? Pretty though.

  14. earth hour reminds me of my mom: if you’re not in the room, turn off the lights. if you’re watching t.v., then not the radio. heat & a/c only when needed, not wanted (that’s what sweaters & sleevless are for). don’t use 3 lights where one will do. of course, my mom was thinking ‘save $’, not conserve. but, it serves the same purpose.

  15. I love that Canadians – and especially Torontonians – are so enthusiastic about Earth Hour. There was nary a light bulb lit on our street. Your party looks wonderful!

  16. You call it earth hour. In Vermont, we call it a lifestyle.
    BTW; in the evening hours best to do things that are not so hard on the eyes (boy with guitar is a good start!)
    Sheepishly yours-

  17. Your party looks great! Somehow we missed the memo but we were centered around our kitchen table with only the light on overhead for the majority of last night so we unintentionally participated 🙂

  18. We kept Earth Hour here in the UK too. But I didn’t knit this time. But, in this family, we shall be keeping Earth Hour every Saturday night. It was so peaceful and calm, even the cat behaved. Keep up the good work – Canadians have great ideas.

  19. I wonder how many machine hours were spent on the candles that were burning. I somehow doubt the ancestors used that quantity on a normal night, instead moving them where they were needed as they were needed.

  20. Earth hour here is about new lambs this morning and watching Mother Nature do her thing.
    Sweater idea for sock camp: Cotton tunic, straight hem, boat neck, 3/4 flared sleeves. Neutral color. Dresses down, add a scarf and you are tres chic. Goes with everything. (And is fast and brainless, perfect brain candy.)

  21. We celebrate Human Achievement Hour at that time – celebrating the achievements of human beings. Every light and appliance is running as a tribute to those who made it possible.

  22. Toni:
    While my ethos (and my income) have turned necessity into a virtue, I do take your point; all knitters should appreciate a good rip-partee!

  23. How lovely. My son and hubby were at work. I sat in the dark and tried to knit by candle light. Next year, I am going to insist on a fondue party or something!

  24. Our neighbors had a bonfire going here outside of Syracuse,NY. We played “Fill Or Bust” and I finished another Felicity hat. I wish more nights would be like this and I guess I’m the one to make it happen.

  25. Me too! Me too! Our lights were off, our dogs curled near us, and we read and talked by candlelight for a dim, romantic, quiet hour. I admit, we kept the radio on though. (tornado watch AND jazz on the radio…two good reasons) It was a delight..even though I didn’t remember to either knit or spin. 🙂

  26. Um, you probably don’t want me to point out the amount of carbon output by all those candles….
    Lovely sentiment, however. From one hippy to another.

  27. I did Earth Hour at home myself. I think that it’s something that I will do weekly. What a nice idea.

  28. I meant to do the candle thing through earth hour except I slept right through it! At least I had the sense to shut off all the lights before I laid down.

  29. it seemed counterproductive to drive downtown for an earth hour party. so by the light of two fat candles usually kept for “act of god” power outages i knitted half a block for a warm up america blanket (acrylic, unfortunately, cuz that’s what they want).
    sadly, looking out on my “quad” in the condo complex i’ve just moved into, i saw lots of lights — as many as before 8:30.
    i also saw lightning from a 2-hour series of storms that left me thinking that if the lights were knocked out, i’d be sitting pretty.
    maybe next year i’ll have a party-by-candlelight. for my “unenlightened” (or should that be “over-lighted”?) neighbors . . .
    as for the carbon generated by the candles, think how much smoke is generated by the coal-fired power plants where i live. candles provided less light, yes, but also way less pollution, even given that most of my lights are compact fluorescents or LEDs.
    knit in peace, everyone!

  30. I knew about Earth Hour and intended to participate however I forgot by evening. So I didn’t use candles but my house was dark. We were not at home. We spent the evening at our daughter and son-in-laws. Does it count that while the lights were on they have solar?

  31. We watched Lord of the Rings – #1 by candlelight – great mood setter.
    Our household turns out the lights in unused rooms all the time, all year round.
    Living in BC, we are very very environmentally aware.
    I would however never attempt to knit (or any other crafty type thing, even read) by candle light. Just too hard on the eyes.

  32. what is it about candles that makes even the mundane so magical? and we all know what’s always the best part about camping…the evening campfire! all these years of evolution and technological advances, yet it is still the flickering flame that enchants us!

  33. I think I was the only one in the nabe to observe Earth Hour. I took a long bath by candlelight. Very relaxing. I might have to do that every night.

  34. Abby, we had exactly the same idea… it was lovely, wasn’t it? Nobody around me seemed to be doing it either, but every tiny little bit helps.

  35. Spent the day dealing with 90yo Dad and multiple aspects of his existence. Returned home (3-hour drive), had a beer (husband’s light – but only thing in the refrig – ugh) and into bed. No lights, computers, but electric blankets for us and the cats. Does that count?

  36. Nice pictures. For those who didn’t know about Earth Hour or didn’t click on Stephanie’s link (in the first sentence) here’s the URL
    I had to keep my computer on for work purposes (a project deadline) but I shut all my lights and had several candles on for background light. It was a lovely way to spend some time. Next year I may hang fliers for Earth Hour around my housing complex. Even though we have our own power plant, it might be nice to lower electricity usage for even an hour. I may also make it a weekly thing and try to arrange my work schedule so I’m not caught needing to keep the computer on.

  37. I wish you could come to Vancouver and stay too!!! because I live here. Isn’t it the most beautiful day today with that blue sky and snow on the mountains? I just went for a walk with the dog and listened to all the birds busy as anything. You fast forget that it rained yesterday. You made me laugh a lot today when I read your calendar about knowing you knit too much when you move and the yarn shop lady in your former town has her car repossessed. Man- where do you come up with those jewels????

  38. I wish you could stay in Vancouver one of these days too because I live there! Wasn’t it the most beautiful day with that blue sky and snow capped mountains??

  39. Hey how is your Miralda lace shawl coming? I’ll show you mine if you’ll show me yours.

  40. Also did the full hour, went for a walk, then had a nice candlelit chat with husband: parents came by not knowing what the heck was going on with us having candles and screaming in pain at the sight of the light in the fridge!
    Parents were good sports though, but father was real happy when it was finally over: he came by to watch the Habs on the big plasma screen…(which could also explain his dissapointment when he realized we were really doing the Earth Hour thing…)

  41. Not wanting to seem like a killjoy, because I really do believe in a greener earth and a greener way of life. Stephanie, you are an incredible role model and I endeavor to be more like you in this area. However, I had to come out of lurker-dom to say I checked out the Earth Hour link from yesterday’s blog (first I heard of it). It seemed rather pointless to me…they wanted you to turn the lights off but were requesting that you used just about every other electronic device in the house to document your observance. Who needs lights when you’re basking in the gentle glow of your computer monitors, cell phones, and digital cameras? Sure, you could run on batteries for the hour, but you have to plug in eventually! Maybe if I had read beyond the front page I would have discovered some great explanation and rationale for the whole thing, but it turned ME off before I could get that far.

  42. I don’t understand carbon offsets. Where does that money go? My husband works from home so we never drive anywhere, I have super insulating window coverings, and only run the heat when my nose is on the edge of frostbite. How come no one is sending me some of this offset cash to fortify my yarn stash? Can I sell my recommended daily allowance of carbon? I did a quiz once and our family of four uses what the average family of one uses. Show me the cash, mama needs some new wool….

  43. If Earth Hour is so great, why don’t you do it every night? Nobody’s stopping you. It all seems rather hypocritical and self-righteous to me.

  44. A moment taken in appreciation and reverence for this one-off planet of ours is never wasted. Sharing your celebration with people you don’t even know is a lovely gesture. Thank you, Stephanie.

  45. Your photos of Earth Hour show much more excitement than mine would have looked if I had taken any. We watched the NCAA tournament on TV during that time. My husband saved some additional energy by turning off the furnace for that hour, too!
    Have a good trip.

  46. I don’t think the hour is so much about the energy saved during those sixty minutes — it’s more an occasion of mindfulness. What’s wrong with remembering, at least once in a while, that wisely-used resources outlast those that are squandered?

  47. How about a sweater with lots of little socks on it?
    Sock buttons, sock pockets, zipped with a little sock zipper pull. Something sock-ish. There was one with lots of mittens on it in KNITTING IN AMERICA. You could do a sock version. Maybe a vest to save time. I think I might take my own advice and try that. Thanks for the inspiration. See you there.

  48. Yes Please. You must stop overnight in Vancouver. Today would have been perfect, blue sky, snow capped mountains and street music for the Juno Awards. Try for next time.

  49. I wish we onserved Earth Hour more than once a year. Thanks for sharing your pics with us.

  50. I MISSED Earth Hour; by the time I even HEARD of it – it was over. Is it the same day every year? Well, next year I’ll have it in my calendar to look it up mid-March. I will say, though, we reenactors have occasional ‘lectricity-less times each year. In fact, in August we have a No-Electricity Week! (It’s called Grand Portage, 1815.) Any rewards, you ask? Think of sitting by a small campfire with friends and looking up to see falling stars shooting through a vivid display of aurora borealis. 🙂

  51. We also participated in Earth Hour. OK, so we were the only house in the neighborhood that turned the electricity off but it was lovely. Nadja and I played mancala by candle light. Got to say I think you own a lot more candles then we do here in kahaluu, hawaii.

  52. I’d never heard of this until now – and now I’m a bit late!! However, I’ll keep an eye out for it next year and participate, it’s a fabulous idea

  53. To the carpers: that’s right. If someone else’s effort to improve matters isn’t 100% perfect then we not only get to criticize them for trying, we don’t have to make the slightest effort ourselves. Phew. What a relief. Thanks for reminding me.

  54. Offsets from AC. What a revelation. Haven’t flown for a few years. This is so great – and really reasonable. So easy for everyone to contribute. I will tell my friends! Glad you informed me.
    Happy Earth Hour. The candlelight was nice.

  55. Still need a sweater pattern, huh? Have you heard of this great site called Ravelry?
    (kidding, I just thought perhaps you could use a laugh…)

  56. You’ll be proud to know that I spent my hour knitting (February lady sweater) by candlelight. Your hour looked lovely from here!

  57. I was born in the late 50’s,raised in the 60’s,university in the 70’s (Woodstock-was in there). Can you tell me the 10 things that make up a hippie in this age? Earth Hour was cool-your
    celebration looked like mine and lasted more than an hour. We do this every weekend.Peace.

  58. From what I can tell, my house was the only house in Alabama that tuned in to Earth Hour. My 16 year-old daughter championed this, invited friends over, lit every candle I own and played games. She sent text messages to everyone she knew, updated her face book and “made” me put a sign up at work. Ah well, one house, one small change for the world. Maybe Alabama will get with it some day…

  59. I think there is a bit of hair splitting going on. Candles, appliances, waste of time.
    A moment was observed. Possibly inspiring others – either in attendance or observance. If it’s not you, move on. If it is, cheers.

  60. You said it, Rams and Joanne. I’m so tired of people making fun of us for at least TRYING. And anyway, isn’t it a nice way to spend an evening, quietly, gathered in with family and/or friends, just being peaceful? Stress-free? For a few years we gave up television for Lent, and let me tell you, it really made a difference in our lives. This sort of peaceful time is also conducive to some perfect knitting time. I got a lot done!

  61. I wish you could stay a day or two in Vancouver too. (Because I live there!) Wasn’t it the most beautiful day with a clear blue sky and snow on the mountains!

  62. Thanks for the reminder of our usual (excessive) energy consumption and for setting a good example for many of us.
    When our kids were little the power went out one winter night just as we sat down to dinner (already cooked, luckily!). Our 3-year-old was a little frightened by no lights, so my DH declared it “pioneer night,” and we had those regularly from then on, until they petered out at some point. Even if it doesn’t make a huge difference globally, every little bit helps, AND (maybe most importantly) it makes us appreciate our many luxuries that we usually take for granted.
    Hey, you nay-sayers and critics commenting above — “if you can’t say something nice . . ..”

    for the record, the summary of the above article is that, no, it doesn’t defeat the purpose to light candles. also, i thought that earth hour was also about being aware of light pollution, which makes it difficult to see the night sky in many places (my kids and i have to drive a ways out of town to see the northern lights and to use our telescope, and we live in a small town). candles don’t (pardon me) hold a candle to light bulbs.
    and candles, the internet that we use to disseminate this information, and the judgement to take care of the earth when and how we can are also great human achievements.

  64. I’m still grieving slightly that I FORGOT Earth Hour (and I think maybe we were in the midst of bath/boob/bedtime as well). Had I remembered, I’d have lit one candle, turned off everything else – and SLEPT!
    Sorry, toddler still sick and needy! 🙂
    Your photos are beautiful, and I’m not sure everyone is getting the point of the exercise. It’s about awareness and stopping to think.

  65. Earth Hour was incredibly simple- My children are in bed no later than half past seven, every night, and, knowing I had to be up early, I was in bed before half past eight. My energy bills are ten percent less than my mother’s, because we use (mostly) natural sunlight. It’s the little things that add up, like knitting a few stitches consistently will get you a sock.

  66. Music by candlelight – perfect! Who were they and what were they playing? Inquiring guitarists want to know.
    Can’t wait to see what sweater you choose.
    Just had a chance to search out the post about the knitted chicken for another friend – and laughed wildly all over again.
    Can’t wait to see what happens this year.

  67. I think it is great that your family did this. I however am making a very small footprint in the propane industry for heat. I ran out of propane in mid-Feb and have been without heat. (I had even kept the heat down to 61 as it was) I have found until it gets down below 35 in the house, all is well. Then I worry about the pipes and break out the small electric heater for in front of under the sink. but only for over night. Funny thing is I am sleeping better than I have for years. My knitted wool hat and socks help. That is for sure. Luckily spring is on the way. It was 47 this a.m. Wooohooo.

  68. The Toronto media reports the one hour on Saturday night represented a 15% drop in energy usage for the city (almost doubled from 2008).
    I agree it would be good if Earth Hour encouraged us to be more thoughtful about our energy usage all year round. Canadians are generally very wasteful of water and energy. I think we use the most water per person on the planet (so it is lucky we have a lot for the time being).
    Let’s get office buildings to turn off their lights overnight year round, and have shops close their outside doors if they have the air conditioning on. Let’s wear a sweater inside if cold in winter, and don’t air condition down to 18 degrees Celsius in summer. Why not buy a programmable thermostat to lower the temperature while you sleep or are at work.
    Reduce, reuse, recycle still seem like good ideals to me.
    Thanks for the very evocative photos!

  69. Those are beautiful pictures and what a great way to spend time with friends. However, I do have to wonder if those are soy candles, beeswax candles or standard petroleum based candles. Petroleum based candles are pretty hard on the environment in their production.

  70. Wow, how cool that you can buy an emissions offset for a flight! I’ll have to do that next time I need to fly somewhere.
    Your Earth Hour celebration looked like a lot of fun. Our kids were in bed, so we just sat near the fireplace to cuddle and meditate on things. I was sort of dismayed at all the pooh-poohers out there as they seemed to have missed the point entirely. It was a chance to participate in a worldwide demonstration (like a peace rally, but for the environment,) not an “hour to save energy” or a chance for people who don’t care to pretend that they do. Our family does a lot of things to reduce our footprint on the earth, but still I spent most of that quiet time reflecting on what more we can do as a family and how best to share those ideas with others. Most of the time I’m too busy to just sit down and think like that, so I was grateful for a reason to do so.

  71. I miss you when you don’t post.
    I have Harlot breaks instead of coffee breaks.
    Twitter helps a lot. I wonder if tweeting uses less energy than posting. Physical, I mean, I know that it is much more difficult to write a short piece….

  72. how lovely! reminds me of scheduled power cuts after dark when i was in india — really fun times that you actually got to bond with everyone in the house and in the complex.

  73. Thank you for your support of Earth Hour. Any event that brings attention to the need to conserve and take care of our beautiful planet is a wonderful thing.

  74. Just read your tweet about the “Lady in airport bathroom yelling on her cell in a stall.”
    You could have said, “I know this is a privy but I don’t want to be privy to your conversation!”

  75. My brother was the only one in the family who had heard of this and told us about it when he visted on Saturday.
    We switched off all our lights, computers and the television and lit our candles. We spent an hour just talking and catching up with each other. As all four of us work it not only showed us just how much electricity we use, but allowed us to spend quality time together.
    I’ve decided to endeavour to switch the laptop off half an hour earlier at nights and spend the time doing some knitting or reading instead. Small, manageable changes are sustainable and while they’re less impressive than the grand unifying theories some of the naysayers expect us to solve the world’s problems with at least we’re doing something.

  76. OK, I’m officially not right. I kept reading, “It isn’t pretty” and kept saying, “but it looks pretty to me” 4 times I had to read it. Where’s my margarita?

  77. That’s all part of being a woman. You have work that you love, but it can’t rest on that. You feel guilty because you love your work! Maybe if you hated it………

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