Kids and Earth Hour: Finally, We’ve Got It Down!

March 27th, 2010

Ever since Earth Hour debuted in 2008, I’ve struggled with how to incorporate the late evening holiday into my childrens’ bedtime routines. The first year, we celebrated what I called an “Earth Minute.”


Last year, I had it all figured out: I shared all the details on   Five Tips for Observing Earth Hour with Kids:

1. Stick to Your Routines

2. Pick a Substitute Time that Works for You

3. Use this as a Teachable Moment

4. Give Yourself a Break

5. Celebrate with Your Significant Other

But this year?  Well, Big Boy’s in second grade now. So when they celebrated Earth Hour at school, he actually understood the concept.

I spent the day today at a Green Jobs Internship Fair, talking to scores of amazing young people bent on using their talents to help save the Earth. Exhausted, I returned home. Earth Hour? They celebrated at school this year. My son understood. He was falling asleep as the last flickers of light left the sky.

— Lynn

Copyright 2010 OrganicMania

5 Tips for Observing Earth Hour with Kids: Get More than an Earth Minute!

March 28th, 2009

Last year, my grand plans for Earth Hour were derailed by the reality of life with little kids: as I blogged here, I ended up with an “Earth Minute.”

This year, I’m determined to learn from the past and enjoy a less rushed and stressed experience. Here are five tips that I’m hoping will make for a more enjoyable family experience. Let me know what you think. How’d your Earth Hour go last year? And what are you planning tonight? (Yes, it’s tonight!)

1. Stick to Your Routines
Clearly, whoever dreamed up Earth Hour did not have little munchkins to put to bed. 8:30 p.m. is simply too late for most kids. If your tykes hit the hay well before 8:30, DON’T, repeat DON’T try to do something special. Odds are, you’ll regret it…

2. Pick a Substitute Time that Works for You
This year, we’re going to have our Earth Hour during dinner (candlelight dining with my three boys should be fun!). If that doesn’t seem to go well, I may try for a few minutes after dinner. But bedtime – it’s still 8 p.m., Earth Hour or not!

3. Use this as a Teachable Moment
My first grader’s school observed Earth Hour on Friday. When I asked him why they did it, he said, “To help the Earth and stuff.” Yet when I tried to make a correlation between Earth Hour and turning off the lights in his room before he rushes off for school, he didn’t quite seem to get it. That’s another reason to do Earth Hour at the dinner hour – it will give us time and context for a discussion about why we are observing Earth Hour.

4. Give Yourself a Break

If despite all your plans, things still go awry, give yourself a break. When I look back at this photo of my little Boo Bear a year ago, I can’t believe how small he was and how much I tried to accomplish despite that. So many of us parents – especially the Moms – are guilty of this. We simply try to do too much.

5. Celebrate with Your Significant Other
Another benefit to Tips #1 and #2 is that if you stick to your kids’ bedtime routine, odds are you’ll have some energy to celebrate the darkness of Earth Hour with your significant other and perhaps a bottle of sustainable wine, organic beer, and fair trade chocolate.

Sounds a lot better than last year! I can’t wait…

Tell me about your Earth Hour! Leave a comment and share!


Copyright 2009 OrganicMania

An Earth Minute.

March 31st, 2008

Did you observe Earth Hour? Or were your plans derailed, like mine were, by the reality of your life?


I had the best of intentions, I really did. At 7:50 p.m. Saturday evening I ran around the house, turning off lights and prepping. Then I remembered that DH was out picking up our kindergartner from his best buddy’s house. If I turned out the front light, they might slip and fall in the dark, I worried. So I left it on. (“At least it’s a compact fluorescent,” I thought).

I grabbed Baby Boo, ready to carry him upstairs to bed, when I realized that it was awfully treacherous going up those dark stairs with a 30 pound writhing bundle of joy. I considered candles but quickly rejected that option as too dangerous with a toddler in the house. Never mind that for thousands of years toddlers survived in dwellings lit solely by candlelight. I turned on the hall light – just so we could make it upstairs safely.

A few minutes later, our 5-year-old came running upstairs, excitedly telling me about his latest adventures. He flipped on the light in the darkened room. Before I could admonish him, “Turn it off! It’s Earth Hour!,” his little brother was jumping all over him. They looked like two little puppy dogs at play. I gazed at them adoringly, happy to have light to see them (and to make sure Baby Boo didn’t roll off the couch!).

I started to feel irritated that things weren’t going according to plan. At that point, I reminded myself of the advice a life coach had shared with my Mother’s Group: If you have kids under age 5, be kind to yourself and lower your expectations!

Finally, well after 8 p.m., I left Baby Boo’s room and made my way up to Big Boy’s room to say good night. All the upstairs lights were blazing. “It’s Earth Hour!” I hissed.

“But you promised me my allowance and a game of Rat-a-Tat-Cat,” he protested. I had promised, so I relented. Plus, I never can resist a good game of Rat-a-Tat-Cat, and it’s hard to play when the Boo Bear is awake because he toddles through all the cards.

DH turned off all the lights, save the light in Big Boy’s room. We played, we laughed, we joked.

Night night.

“See, all the lights are out now, Cutie Pie,” said DH.

It was 8:59 p.m. The last minute of Earth Hour.

We observed Earth Minute.


Did you observe Earth Hour (or Earth Minute) ? What was it like for you? Please leave a comment and share!

Updated (5/17/08) Check out this piece in the Washington Post about Earth Hour’s real impact – or lack thereof.

A Great Excuse to Try Some Organic Beer

March 29th, 2008

OK, so you’ve decided to switch off the lights at 8 p.m. in honor of Earth Hour. What then?

How about kicking back with some great Organic Pale Ale? DH just returned from Whole Foods, tickled to death that he scored this fantastic LaMar Street Organic Pale Ale on sale for $5.99 a six pack. Actually, he bought a case, so there was another discount, which made it $5.69 a six pack. We’ve seen comparable organic beers at $9 or $10 a six pack, so this is a great deal. A legitimate excuse to try some organic beer.


I just found a site that has a bunch of posts about saving money at the grocers. Not too many on organics, but a few… you can check out Crystal over at Money Saving Mom.

Have fun!


Easy Green Weekend Project #2: Earth Hour

March 27th, 2008

Looking for something fun, easy and green to do this weekend? Do you ever ask yourself how you can make a difference with one small action? Here’s an idea: Why not turn out the lights for an hour and join in on “Earth Hour?”

Launched just a year ago in Sydney, Earth Hour is now a global movement to show just how much energy can be reduced in one hour.

Join in on Saturday evening at 8 p.m. local time.

Fun, Easy and Green. And Making a Difference!

— Lynn