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Earth Hour Canada – Vancouver Contest

March 10th, 2009 @ 7:21am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

While peering out the window of the Commodore Ballroom, I saw the glowing fuchsia marquee of the Granville Cinemas go dim and like a row of dominoes, lights across town were switched off in sequence. Gracie’s Necklace is extinguished each year and even my friend Duane shut down his blog for a full 60 minutes last year in order to participate in the global event, Earth Hour.

Lights out for Lions Gate during Earth Hour in Vancouver
Lion’s Gate Bridge lights aka Gracie’s Necklace

Earth Hour began in Sydney in 2007, when 2.2 million homes and businesses switched off their lights for one hour. In 2008 the message had grown into a global sustainability movement, with 50 million people switching off their lights. Global landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Rome’s Colosseum, the Sydney Opera House and the Coca Cola billboard in Times Square all stood in darkness.

This year we’d like to see every Canadian do their part from 8:30pm until 9:30pm on March 28th – and contributions are as simple as flipping off the light switch.

For the first time in history, people of all ages, nationalities, race and background have the opportunity to use their light switch as their vote – Switching off your lights is a vote for Earth, or leaving them on is a vote for global warming. WWF are urging the world to VOTE EARTH and reach the target of 1 billion votes, which will be presented to world leaders at the Global Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen 2009.

This meeting will determine official government policies to take action against global warming, which will replace the Kyoto Protocol. It is the chance for the people of the world to make their voice heard. [Earth Hour - About]

You can show your support and share your Earth Hour plans through any of the following methods:

  • Create a blog post or podcast about the importance of global action on climate change and how participation in Earth Hour can make a difference (they even have a blogger toolkit online)
  • Join one of the 50 Earth Hour social media profiles on networks: Facebook Group, Facebook Fan Page, Twitter, Flickr, Bebo
  • Creating a video and posting it on the web or embedding an Earth Hour videos to your Facebook profile or blog.
  • You can also download and share Earth Hour web banners, online badges, posters, wallpapers.
  • Register on the http://www.earthhour.org/ website
  • When you sign up for Earth Hour you’ll be entered to win a trip to Churchill Manitoba, known for its polar bear experiences.

    The Local Contest

    Several local bloggers were approached by Earth Hour to help spread the word a few weeks ago. I was planning on doing my post yesterday but thought I could up the ante by introducing a contest. Through the magic of Twitter, I’ve found some great sponsors just this morning.

    Leave a comment here noting what you’d do for Earth Hour on March 28th (whether it’s joining any of the groups or sites above, or how you’ll turn off your own lights) or which Vancouver landmark you’d like to see go completely dark.

    You could win a prize pack including a coveted Earth Hour t-shirt and an uber earth-friendly AusPen Kit from EcoSmartWorld or an amazing dining experience on Grouse Mountain (by candlelight) — which means the winner will be spending Earth Hour high above Vancouver.

    Update March 19, 2009: The contest is now closed and a winner will be announced shortly.

    Update: Since I was out covering the Juno Awards Gala Dinner, John was at home and wrote this awesome post about Earth Hour in Vancouver.

    Current contests on Miss604.com

    54 comments

    1. Kimm says:

      My plan is to staying in as I have to be up early on Sunday. What I will be doing for that hour or more will be work on the topics for my comments for a cause project that will be running all of April all by flashlight.

    2. Miss604 says:

      Sweet, sounds good, Kimm. I seriously need to stock up on candles but I think I’ll be out and about town that evening especially since it’s JunoFest that night. Hoping to see a concert in the dark :-P

    3. Jen B says:

      I have already joined the Earth Hour Facebook page and registered with Earth Hour online. Last year, we turned off everything in the house and sat in the living room with candle light. It was very peaceful and enjoyable to take a bit of time out of our busy lives to relax. This year, we will enjoy the candle light again and play a board game with the family :) I would love to see all of the large downtown buildings turn off their lights.

    4. Keira-Anne says:

      My lights will be off because I’ll be out and about, but I’ve been focusing on the little ways that make big difference, like making concious efforts to only turn on lights I need and only keep appliances I use plugged in. When I’m done making toast, the toaster’s unplugged. Same goes for coffee, charging my cell phone, laptop, etc. It would be need to see some landmarks like Canada Place or Science World with their lights entirely off… a little eerie if you ask me!

    5. Gsourcer says:

      March 28th is my birthday and I will be having a “Lights Out Party” for Earth Hour. No better way to celebrate the day and the enviroment then getting more people involved in action. When I mean lights out I mean we will be phone free, lights off, windows open and partying like its 1878!! (http://www.miniurl.com/7928)

      Who Should turn their Lights Out?

      1. Shaw Tower
      2. Shangri-La
      3. Bentall 1-5
      4. Science World

    6. lword says:

      What about the sparkly ski lights on the North Shore mountains? It would be great if they didn’t offer night skiing that night so they could participate.

    7. Jenny says:

      While downtown offices can participate easily enough because their employees have gone home for the day the north shore mountains are still operating during that time. How about asking their employees to miss one of their last days of work and not getting paid or the mountains foregoing one of the remaining days of operations for the season?
      How about Grouse mountain doesn’t leave their lights on during the entire summer and fall when nobody is skiing at that time? Seems to me that would have a lot more impact. Don’t you think?

    8. Miss604 says:

      @ Jenny, well I think it’s more of the gesture – sometimes it takes an event like this to make people more conscious of their environmental impact. There are many things every company can do throughout the year as well, and kudos to them, whether it be recycling or composting, carpooling, or donating to certain causes, those efforts shouldn’t go un-noticed.

    9. Amber says:

      We’ll be turning off our lights. It’s easy for us, since that’s the kid’s bedtime and we’re usually hanging out in the dark then anyways. And I’ve joined the Facebook group and followed on Twitter. I realize it’s largely symbolic, but still, every little bit helps, right?

    10. @tofufighting says:

      Remembering last year… our self-imposed outage was fully supported by my kid. We took our dog for a walk around our downtown block to check out all the lights out. Prob will do the same this year. Hope to include a few more friends in it, though. A lot of our people “planned” to participate but “forgot, something came up, etc…”. This year, we’ll send out evites to remind our friends and invite them to join us for a walk. Already following earth hour on Twitter.

    11. realtorblair says:

      Hi Rebecca, thanks to your prodding, I have joined several groups, registered and have RT your blog. While I have participated in the past, it is time to ramp things UP & OFF this year. Social networking is a great tool.
      I would like to NOT see corporate logos and neon, spotlights etc on towers in addition to regular lights being off. Condo towers can post notices encouraging their residents to participate. We have. In darkness, -Blair

    12. Hey all- it’s true that Grouse Mountain is a landmark that a lot of people see daily. We can appreciate how our participation in Earth Hour would be inspiring. I do want to say, however, that because it’s logistically impossible (unsafe, in fact, see note at the bottom) for us to kill the lights for that one hour in the middle of night skiing, we’d nevertheless like to be evaluated on the basis of the other projects we are undertaking daily in favour of our environment and not on the basis of being operational during Earth Hour.

      I apologize in advance for this long post, but this is not a simple subject and it deserves a thorough answer.

      Firstly, Grouse Mountain, after years of applications and forums and meetings, is slated to complete BC’s first operational wind turbine in November of this year. The foundation is already constructed for this and once the back road has cleared, the structure will begin to arrive for completion. This is not only an energy saving measure but- located on the Peak of the mountain- is an iconic structure that is meant to educate and inspire others about this truly clean, renewable energy. It’s been a long haul already, but we’re close to making history for our province and very excited about the project’s completion.

      We are Canada’s first resort to employ biodiesel in our mountaintop fleet of vehicles (waste-based, not agricultural).

      In addition to this, we have undergone many 3rd party audits to determine more efficient ways of operating. To that end, we are Green Table Certified, a member of Ocean Wise, and have implemented recommendations from The Environmental Youth Alliance, BC Hydro’s Powersmart, and are currently engaged with the Small Energy Group. So I don’t turn this into a novel, I’d urge you to check out our Blue Grouse movement on our website.

      As for the question about the lights on the Cut, here is some info to consider that hopefully will clarify what happens every night and why. Please know that as an organization that has taken great pains to reduce its footprint and lead by example, we are fully aware of our need to get on board with high-profile initiatives that show solidarity in support of our environment.

      1. The lights are controlled by an automatic timer that turns them off at 12am every morning, unless they are required for a specific mountaintop initiative. In these cases, select Grouse Mountain operational employees will manually turn the lights off immediately following the completion of their task.

      Midnight is our standard “lights off” time due to the hours of our operation and the nature of our access points. Our last uphill tram is at 10pm, after which point we switch to downloading only until our guests have left for the evening. With a number of dining options and banquet facilities, the evening’s last guests often make their descent very late. We need to ensure them safe passage through our facilities.

      Additionally, Grouse Mountain is an access point for a number of trails that are frequented by hikers of all ages and abilities. Aside from being an excellent navigation tool for nighttime hikers, the lights of The Cut assist alpine patrollers with their final “sweep” of the neighbouring trails, ensuring that hikers, snowshoers, skiers, and snowboarders are clearing the mountain in time to make the last downhill tram.

      2. Grouse Mountain has a population of staff members who reside on site. These employees are on-call twenty-four hours a day to respond to any and all alpine emergencies, and their mountaintop homes are primarily situated along the slopes of The Cut. Safe and swift navigation through alpine areas at night requires sufficient lighting.

      3. A number of Grouse Mountain’s outdoor operations take place at night, and require illumination. For safety reasons, extensive run grooming (both winter and summer), routine machine maintenance, and alpine patrol/training operations are performed when our guests have left for the evening.

      4. Grouse Mountain has an alpine helicopter pad that can serve both commercial and rescue aircraft. When explicitly requested by pilots, Grouse Mountain will make the lights of The Cut available.

      5. Grouse Mountain works closely with BC Hydro to improve energy efficiency. In fact, as an active participant in the Powersmart Program, we have undergone extensive energy audits. From retro-fitting to more efficient technology, numerous recommendations stemmed from this audit, which Grouse Mountain has implemented.

      Ok, so back to Earth Hour and night skiing- we can have up to 3,000 people on our mountain for night skiing on any given night. Our Chalet has a capacity for about 1,000. In order to turn the lights off, we’d need to “sweep” the runs for traffic a couple hours in advance of the lights-off move and put the skiiers or riders somewhere to stand by. Turning them off for just an hour is not possible as it takes longer than that just to clear the traffic. Either that or close the mountain at 6pm for the evening. Either way, it’s not a simple flick of the switch. But we truly believe that our efforts for the other 8,759 hours of the year can attest to our philosophy on environmental stewardship.

      My best,
      Chris
      The Grouse Guy

    13. Jen says:

      Shutting the lights, computer, and TV off. Sewing only repurposed materials by candlelight. Eating some local foods.

      Rather than Grouse Mountain (which WOULD be a fab gesture), I think the Olympic lights by the airport could be turned off.

    14. Alex says:

      Plan to sleep earlier on that night. Will be using my laptop without plugging the power adapter to pass time.

      At the same time, I would like to see all outdoors lights around condos/apartments/townhouses to be turned off too.

    15. Huckdoll says:

      Am actually looking forward to the night as an excuse to have some romantic, candle-lit time with my man. Unless I win a trip to Grouse that is ;) Thanks for all the info and contest op!

    16. Ken says:

      The view from Grouse Mountain should be awesome during Earth Hour. I wish I lived in Vancouver :) Thanks to EcoSmartWorld, Grouse Mountain and Miss604 herself, for their generosity.

      Keep the comments coming!

      Ken
      Earth Hour Canada Team

    17. Aidan says:

      Last year my boyfriend and I turned off all the lights, and just chilled and relaxed by candle light. We just talked, it was really quite nice. I even “turned out the lights on my site” – not like it had any major effect on my visitors, but it was something fun none the less. :)

      I plan to blog about it, as well as inform some friends about it as well, as hopefully they might be interested in a Earth Hour Party!

    18. Ariane C says:

      Chris, aka “The Grouse Guy”s commentary on Grouse’s environmental initiatives is a fine example of what many companies aim to do but never see through. I commend Grouse for much of what I just read. Hopefully other ski resorts are on the right path in this regard. I happily spend most of the year up on the mountain, either skiing or Grinding. It will be awesome to see the wind turbine project realized!

    19. sandy says:

      Thanks for promoting Earth Hour! Another way you can recruit people to the cause is by creating a Earth Hour group on Commit21.com. Simply create a group about one action that you will commit to do for Earth Hour and recruit your friends, family, and co-workers to get involved in that action as well. When it comes to climate change, simple actions can make huge differences and Commit21 leverages social media to influence networks of friends, family, and co-workers. Check it out at http://www.commit21.com/

    20. smo says:

      second time around!
      lights out, TV unplugged (still draws power when in standby y’know), computers off, and all head out for a walk to see what’s going on –
      or rather, OFF! – in the neighbourhood.

      plan to come back to this blog as there are some good ideas
      and interesting info coming out…

    21. Seemore says:

      Kudos to Grouse Mountain and Earth hour! The wind turbine is a huge move forward in energy saving.

      Would be nice if Grouse could also improve their snowfall measurement system, it always seems to be out of whack?

      We will have our lights off.. TV may still be on however. I think thats when Hannah Montana is on.

    22. imagine1day says:

      The team at imagine1day will definitely be participating in Earth Hour this year. We are trying to decide what to do for that hour- meditate, yoga, nap…….

    23. Michelle says:

      WOO HOO! Goooo Earth HOUR!

    24. The lights will be off, candle’s lit and playing a game of chess with the GF.

      Oh, and don’t forget the wine… Lots of wine!

      It would be amazing to see it from Grouse though. To be more eco friendly, we would opt to take transit to grouse. How about throwing in a pair of transit passes as well :)

    25. Miss604 says:

      BONUS ENTRIES for those who re-tweeted this information:

      @kevinaschenbren
      @NoraKWH
      @chuenoi
      @Techness
      @bookminder
      @dannydang
      @TylerIngram
      @sanazj
      @rbostyle

    26. Donna says:

      Science World is the obvious landmark.

      Last year, I was visiting my parents for earth hour, along with some cousins. We played candlelight scrabble, and it was hysterically funny, even with the three kids fighting over only 2 head lamps that we could find… (they’re a touch insane, it’s better not to trust them with the candles that the rest of us had.)

      This year, I’m planning for some fireplace-lit gaming with the boyfriend. Should be fun. :)

    27. Beth says:

      Awesome – thanks for spreading the word and getting Grouse involved. How about getting the malls to turn off/down their lights (like Metrotown) as well as downtown buildings?
      The lights on the mountains should go off too.

    28. rbo says:

      There’d likely be an issue around safety, but how amazing would it be if the cities in Metro Vancouver turned off the street lights? Keeping the signals at intersections of course, but just cut the lights lining the sidewalks. There are plenty of roads here and there that don’t have any, so I don’t think it would cause a huge problem for most areas – plus, people seem to cope during power outages.

      But just consider how different the city would look from above. Also, it would surely spread the message to those who might not have heard about Earth Hour… (and think of how many lights that would be!)

    29. sanazj says:

      I’ll be using candles to light up my place…I’m very lucky to have ceiling to floor glasses in my condo so get a lot of light from outside.

    30. Sonia says:

      Picture a serene 60 minutes with the one(s) you adore. Lots of yummy scented candles. Boxes of dark Lindt chocolate. Earth Hour consists of 60 minutes. I’m sure we can all bear the darkness for our Earth.

    31. Mitchell says:

      I’m spearheading the Earth Hour initiatives at my workplace, The Westin Bayshore Hotel. We’re going big this year, and what I like about Earth Hour is that the message resonates for much more than just 60 minutes on March 28. We’re taking it as an opportunity to raise awareness with both guests and associates about environmental concerns and how the hotel is doing it’s part. Here’s what will go down:

      -Exterior Signage & Fountains Off
      -Lights in lobby and public areas dimmed, candle & fireplace lighting throughout
      -Special sustainable Earth Hour display/tribute with live plants and greenery on display the week leading up to March 28
      -All flowers/botanicals throughout hotel will be sustainable
      -$5.00 donation made by hotel to WWF if guests opt for limited housekeeping service (saves washing, chemicals, electricity etc)
      -All associates encouraged to participate in Earth Hour in their homes. Each associate will be given seeds to take home and plant to spread the green experience. With the seeds will be a special card for the associates to fill out about how they will pledge with their families to make environmentally responsible choices in their homes.

      Restaurants
      -Currents at Bayshore (open for breakfast only) – Special sustainable buffet items
      Seawall Bar & Grill:
      -Lights dimmed, dinner by candle light
      -Special preset sustainable menu, RAW! Extra eco-friendly as no heating/cooking needed
      -Organic wine pairings
      -Live potted sustainable centerpieces to take home if you order the sustainable menu

    32. Stv. says:

      At work, we’ll be shutting off all our servers for the night. I’ve also asked my staff to be sure they shut off their own computers, and that they observe earth hour at home.

      At home, we’ll unplug all the electronics so they’re not sucking up juice, and plan to play some games by candlelight. We’re going to let my son (who is 3) stay up late, and try to explain to him why we’re doing this, so he can start to understand, and over the years, it can become a nice tradition.

    33. Melissa says:

      Check out http://wwf.ca/earthhour/events/ for a growing list of Earth Hour celebrations going on across Canada.

      And let people know what you’ll be up to on Earth Hour by posting your event there too.

      Good luck everyone!

    34. Fawn says:

      In 08 for Earth Hour I had a romantic candle lit dinner at The Havana in Vancouver. Too bad I wasn’t with my boyfriend for dinner. Think I’d take him out for dinner for Earth Hour in 09.

    35. Dandy contest, Rebecca!

    36. Lesley says:

      I’d like to see all the casinos in the lower mainland go completely dark. That is, just to turn off their lights!!

    37. Kate Dugas says:

      I will be turning EVERYTHING off. I will not even burn a candle (as that is energy too) instead I will sit in the darkness of the home I am so fortunate to have, and meditate on sending loving kindness and compassion both inward to myself, and out into the world I share with all of you.

      Love is the answer to the questions we have, including and especially, “how to save the world?”

    38. BlissfulGirl says:

      The B-man and I will be doing what we do every year … turn everything off and light every candle we own and spend a quiet romantic hour watching the rest of the city flicker (hopefully flicker off!). Every year I hope to see less and less flicker and it seems that every year we do see just a few more lights go out.

    39. Saul Good says:

      For EarthHour this year I’m going to do a few things.

      1) Blog about it – trying to raise awareness around energy conservation and EarthHour

      2) Turn my lights off!

      3) Start using a powerbar at my workstation so I can turn everything off with the click of 1 switch

      Great contest Rebecca! Thanks for putting this on!

    40. alanah says:

      Oh dear… okay, I’ll tell. It ain’t sexy, but for Earth Hour I suppose I could tie in something about the upcoming purchase & installation of my new eco-friendly toilet. So here’s the plan: in honor of the hour, we WON’T flush it. :)

    41. Lyndsey says:

      Last year for Earth Hour I turned off all the lights, unplugged all the appliances and even turned of our breaker/ fuse box. We lit tons of candles, enjoyed a glass of wine over a good board game. This year I will most likely do the same, if I don’t instead go out and about town.

      I love Earth Hour, because it’s one hour that we get to lay back and enjoy the serenity of the peaceful darkness, and just a brief moment when Mother eErth can breath a little bit easier… a slight sigh of relief.

    42. Rebecca Gerull says:

      I will definitely be turning out my lights here at home and encouraging others to do so as well. I’ll also be reminding my boss, who tends to work late every night, to turn the lights off at the office. It’s great to see people work together like this!

    43. Kater says:

      Last year I was visiting my Granny and we played scrabble by candlelight. I am thinking of inviting some friends over to do the same this year!

    44. Trevor O says:

      Hey Bex

      The AusPen is pretty cool I might get one regardless! :) Keep being awesome.

      -T

    45. Cribbage, snacks, and no activities supported by power-consumption. That’s our plan for the day. I’ll have my camera setup on a tripod on the deck and we’ll see if we *ahem* see less lit up windows.

    46. I received my facebook invite, as well twitter comments about Earth Hour and I plan on participating as I did last year. Our plan is to eat snacks, have a glass of wine or two, and entertain our friends who are coming in from out of town for a visit. What a great initiative and I hope to see the number of participants growing over last year. Does anyone have any idea how many participants were involved last year? Are there any stats available? Interested to know how much reach this has..

    47. Karen G says:

      I will be at the Playhouse wine fest, and they likely wont be turning off all the lights for it, but I do hope that they reduce the lighting and turn the exterior lights off at Canada Place. I will make sure that I leave most things unplugged at home so that I can make the maximum impact while I am out.

    48. Rebecca says:

      What a great idea! Would be interesting to see the stats of how much energy was saved if everyone in Metro Vancouver participated?

    49. Ken says:

      Hi Diana Thompson,

      Re: Earth Hour participants involved last year and stats. What started out in Sydney, Australia in 2007, 2 million people came together to turn off their lights. Last year, an estimated 50 million people in 371 cities across 35 countries participated in Earth Hour worldwide. This year, so far we have over 1,400 cities across 80 countries (and counting) signed up to participate in Earth Hour with the goal of reaching 1 billion people. *fingers crossed*

      In terms of energy reductions, there are no hard numbers globally (see Question #26 on Earth Hour Global’s FAQ: http://www.earthhour.org/mediacentre/default:en/article?id=eh1503222967117284609).

      In Canada though, some hydro companies helped us measure energy reduction numbers. BC Hydro posted numbers for Earth Hour 2008, see here: http://www.bchydro.com/news/articles/press_releases/2008/energy_savings_in_b_c_for_earth_hour.html. Kudos to North Vancouver and Port Coquitlam for leading the way last year!

      If you have any other questions, let us know at earthhour@wwfcanada.org. Or feel free to follow us on Twitter at @EarthHourCanada.

      Thanks for your questions and your support.

      Ken
      Earth Hour Canada Team

    50. [...] mentioned in my original post this year, in 2008 my pal Duane took his blog offline during Earth Hour. He’s expanded on that idea [...]

    51. Kate says:

      Science World Set to Go Dark
      Dome lights will be turned off during Earth Hour

      Science World is pleased to announce that they will be turning off the dome lights on TELUS World of Science during Earth Hour at 8:30pm on Saturday, March 28. Their participation in the event is part of Science World’s ongoing efforts to be an environmentally-friendly organization and support sustainability efforts.

      (from March 26 News Release)

    52. Mark Dixon says:

      I might just meditate. ;-) For the whole hour. Eyes closed. I might not even notice the lights being out!

      :-)
      Mark

    53. Danita says:

      Last year I lived in Toronto and I tried to get my boyfriend to agree, but he wasn’t into it so I did my own observance of Earth Hour. This year I am going to give it another shot in the ruse of a romantic dinner. Whether or not he is onside the lights are going out (and the tv too). It’s only an hour it’s the least we can do! I want to go for a walk and see how many people are doing their little bit.

    54. paul says:

      we are in the recording studio, so we recorded our song “lights out” on our flip video and put it on this post.

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