The world will be plunged into darkness at 8:30pm tonight, but it’s not an alien invasion or the Apocalypse. Earth Hour is a movement to remember our planet’s welfare by turning off lights for an hour. Since 2007 it has spread like a wildfire during an El Niño to 7,000 cities around the world. Apart from the thrill of solidarity that comes with an international cause, the moment can also be a rare chance to unplug from the grid and have fun while being kind to the planet. Take some tips from creative minds around the world that show you don’t need to switch on the lights to turn on the fun.
Up in the Canadian Rockies stands a 125-year old hotel, where come March 19th, guests will be treated to all-day glow-in-the-dark bowling, followed by al fresco stargazing with the astronomer-in-residence. The hotel’s permanent guests, its legendary spectres, are also expected to chip in during the scheduled ghost tour (scaring the daylights out of guests is one way to save electricity). In a calmer spirit, guests at a 5-star hotel in Dubai can gather on the dark beach to unwind with “Full Moon” yoga, and meditation amid the sound of waves, against the city’s skyline. Meanwhile, a hotel at Sanur beach in Bali will be setting free baby sea turtles, holding poetry readings and after-dark tai chi.
The public sphere has seen a flowering of green ideas as well. Solar-powered night picnics in Australia, pedal-blended smoothies in Scotland, candlelit wood-fired pizzas in Ireland, and a free concert powered by cyclists and – of all things – biodiesel from used falafel oil in Israel – the world has found loads of innovative ways to send out the message of conservation.
Sadly Singapore’s Earth Hour efforts leave much to be desired by comparison since gimmicks like an eco-friendly DJ concert and a green ice-cream giveaway are a little oxymoronic. Still if you’re keen to do your part, you can raise awareness for this year’s Earth Hour issues: preventable forest fires and haze pollution. Sign a petition to protect peatlands, adopt a new tree in Indonesia, or be part of a record breaking balancing act with a panda mascot. Indoors or outdoors, through poetry, astronomy, dance, or yoga there are many ways to have yourself a great Earth Hour, even after you flicked off the switch.