Questioning Earth Hour and a reminder to beware the candles


  1. I feel the same concerns…we need for people to observe Earth Years, not only Earth Hours… But, we do have to start somewhere and for many folks this may (hopefully!) be the beginning.

    We’re having a dinner party this Saturday and we will be using handmade soy candles. We already strive to live a very eco-friendly life…I mention only a few things in my blog, but we consider the environmental impact of every action we take. I’d like to find a way to inspire other people to “green” their families too.

    Great post!

  2. we’re giving away eco-bulbs at work for Earth hour :) Well, for after earth hour but YKWIM

  3. I agree with you about the trendy aspect however, if we make it trendy to be kind to our earth maybe just maybe we can change the way people think.

    One person at a time. And hopefully we do not run out of time!

  4. My first problem is that Earth Hour comes after Bedtime Hour and Reid needs her sleep this week, especially. How I wish it happened before daily savings time comes into effect. When Reid is older, I think we’ll try to go out and appreciate a reduction in ambient light (if that happens). A walk or time with the telescope would avert the candles dilemna, though we have beeswax candles. I agree with the everyday changes that you mention and would like to see Earth Hour talk include ambient light issues. This year, my husband and I will read by candle light, sitting together on the couch to share a single candle. We usually sit separately, each with our own lamp. Perhaps that is a long term change we should tackle.

  5. I enjoy Crunchy Chicken’s posts, but she does tend towards the paranoid extreme. I much prefer your blog because

  6. oops, Glenn hit post hehe

    because you are down to earth, while you’re caring for it.

    I don’t think there’s any harm in Earth hour. By all means, beeswax candles is a perfect idea, to be more earth friendly. And I think the whole Earth hour is a fantastic way to raise awareness and get more people on board.

  7. Uh-huh, Earth Hour is considered a SLACKTIVIST event (I learned about this term when looking up Earth Hour in Wikipedia). Agreed that there is certainly no harm in participating in Earth Hour, but it likely won’t make a difference in people’s habits.

  8. I fear I’m going to have to go with trendy. I like the idea of it, but I think it is something that people who already do things like this (keep lights off, get out in nature, etc) are going to embrace while others will ignore. I don’t think anyone else in my family is planning to do anything.

    As for candles, I use the LED candles. My mom got them for me and i enjoy them plus I don’t have to worry about toddlers getting to them.

  9. I’m a new reader to this blog – nice to have found you!

    I think if we look at Earth Hour as something meant to be a catalyst for people making radical changes in their earth-care behaviors, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment (which then causes us to dismiss the idea). But if it increases our awareness by even just a bit, then that’s still a good thing. And bound to increase with time.

    I remember when recycling was new and we all thought only those hippies who lived in hay bale houses did it. Now its mandatory in some places! I used to live in one neighborhood where the trash company would not pick up your bag if it had a ton of glass in it – they wanted you to recycle it.

    And those LED candles rock! (great if you have pets).


  10. “Slactivist”? That’s a new term for me, but I sorta like it!

    I originally banned the purchase of regular old wax candles because the fragrances (also typically petroleum-based) gave me a headache–I only found out that the whole darned candle, not just the fragrance–came from oil!

    Now my dilemma is that I have quite a few of these candles left and the oil’s already been “spent” so to speak, so do I pitch them or use them?

    We are trying to phase them out and phase the beeswax in now and I’m excited that some of the local bee keepers are selling wax at the market now because the ones at VC/WF are really expensive!

  11. Now if I could get my hubby to do it.
    I try to watch the energy I use.

    Coffee is on.

  12. Well said! Bravo! I didn’t realize paraffin wax candles were so bad, thanks for alerting me to that fact.

    Also well said about keeping Earth Hour after the hour has passed.

    You won an award at Callista’s Ramblings

  13. you know…last year we went to a restaurant during earth hour and the lights were down. it was kinda fun. the problem is…my kids are in bed by then so we can either do earth hour early or just sit in the dark by ourselves. and while it’s a nice idea, i’m with you that this one hour doesn’t seem to be the way to jumpstart a whole world-wide earthy movement. i think we have to make much bigger personal on-going changes. i’m going to commit to working remembering my reusable mug and convincing my officemates to recycle more. i think that will go farther than just turning off the lights for one hour.

    great post, amy!

  14. I only own soy candles. :) I’m not sure what I’m doing for Earth Hour yet, but I will do something…

  15. I say good on your for blogging about this!
    And also – swtiching to compact fluro light bulbs is a great idea in theory, but they contain mercury and as yet there is not a lot in the way of safe disposal methods available. So, if you are going to use them, make sure you don’t just throw them in the bin when they need replacing. Find a recycling facility that will deal with them properly.

  16. @Julie:
    Just what I was thinking – I still have a big bulk bag of tea lights at home. Of course they turned out to be made of paraffin… It is probably wiser to use them up carefully, then replace, if at all by beeswax candles. Same with plastic that is already in the house: better use it up till it breaks and replace by a more eco-friendly version while making sure no more new plastic comes in. I have only recently begun to unplug everything that is not in use and to use water a lot more prudently, too. It does take some extra awareness, and that is what Earth Hour may be good for, raising this awareness, trendy or not!

  17. I wholeheartedly agree with your point here. Unfortunately most who would participate in earth hour are not making long term changes that will help the environement. Conversely, there are folks like me, who won’t necessarily participate in earth hour but do their part to be green by turning off the lights when not in use, using homemade natural cleaning products, cloth diapering, and eating locally grown food (mostly my own). There are so many small steps that the average american could make that would go a lot further towards a greener culture than “earth hour”. I wish this marketing energy could be put towards educating the public on those small steps instead.

  18. Very informative post Amy! Great points. I completely agree with you. I’m going to link up to my Earth Hour post. :) Hope you’re doing well.

  19. I feel like everyone is missing the point of Earth Hour. It’s a symbolic gesture. Nobody thinks the the physical act of turning off your lights for one hour will impact global warming. But it’s the symbol of many millions of people turning off their lights for an hour that will bring about change. It’s about showing the world’s leaders that we do care about the issue of climate change and we would like them to do something about it. It’s about the Global Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen 2009 (the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012). This meeting will determine official government policies to take action against global warming. It is the chance for the people of the world to make their voice heard.

    Thanks for sparking a conversation!

  20. I agree with Wendy that Earth Hour is entirely symbolic, and not at all about the energy that will be saved during the hour when lights are out. It’s about the message: climate change is an important issue to a lot of people, and everyone turning the lights off at the same time draws attention to the issue in a more dramatic way than many more meaningful changes. If most participants are just being trendy or are already living green, that’s fine. If a few people actually learn something and move down the path towards a greener life, all the better.

  21. Just because the carbon in beeswax is naturally occouring, does not mean it would naturally be burned to produce the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. There is virtually no difference in the amount of this carbon dioxide given off by a beeswax candle compared to a candle made from fossil fuels. The use of fossil fuels in combustion is considered dirty due to its tendency to produce nitrides of oxygen less prevalent in the combustion of heavier oils such as diesel or “bio-diesel”, this results in more smog. To burn any hydrocarbon in replacement of lighting from hydroelectricity is seriously misguided. Everyone has the right idea with respect to wanting to help the environment. But people need to conserve rather than just hop on a “feel good” bandwagon.

    Anonymous mechanical enginner
  22. I appreciate your post about this as my husband and I had pretty much the same conversation last night pre-8:30pm. After all is said and done, I think it comes down to this: I think it’s meant to be primarily symbolic, to raise awareness of what we are or are not yet doing to be more mindful of our footprints.

  23. I missed Earth Hour, but I tend not to burn candles much. With two little boys who are fascinated by flames, it isn’t a great idea.

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