HI Hostels Blog

Earth Hour 2012

Earth Hour is nearly upon us once again which is wonderful as it provides us all with many opportunities to help make the world we live in a better place for us, our children, and their children too. Earth Hour 2012 is at 8.30pm, Saturday 31 March and is the time to celebrate your action for the planet with the people of the world by switching off your lights for an hour, and then go beyond the hour.

2011 became a record breaking year for Earth Hour with 134 countries in total participating in the event. Many HI hostels also chose to participate with events such as night excursions, campfires, storytelling, fair-trade coffees and teas, discussions about climate change, homemade cookies, ghost stories, unplugged music and lots of candles. Here are some photos from the Hostels during Earth Hour 2011.

HI Earth Hour Pledges 2012

This year, all of us here at the HI head office have chosen to make our pledges for Earth Hour for all to see and you can do the same too! Just visit our HI Earth Hour Pledges tab on our Facebook page to see what each of us pledge to do for 2012. Please feel free to upload your pledge too and be as creative as you like!

Here are a couple of our pledges so far:

Mikael Hansson - pledge to save water
Mikael Hansson’s (CEO) pledge to save water

Alison - Pledge to turn off the lights
Alison’s pledge to turn off unwanted lights

Many National Associations and Hostels within the HI network will also be turning off their lights and hosting fun Earth Hour activities within their hostels. Here are just some of the things that are happening around the world for Earth Hour 2012:


This year, FUAJ have chosen to be involved and to participate to the world wide event Earth Hour which is held on next Saturday 31th march between 8:30 pm and 09:30 pm. So why not join them and participate in this eco-citizen meeting within participating FUAJ Youth Hostels. You will be able to take part in a meal in the darkness at Pontivy Youth Hostel, participate to a barbecue at Lorient Youth Hostel, play board games at Marseille Bois Luzy Youth Hostel, listen to an acoustic concert at Biarritz Youth Hostel, observe the lighthouses from the beach at Plouharnel Youth Hostel, and much, much more! You will find the all the youth hostels participating to this event through their website.


DJH have already published information of Earth Hour on their website for young travellers. DJH will also be promoting Earth Hour via twitter a few days before March 31th, and would love their Facebook followers to send them “live” reports and photos from the YH (and elsewhere) participating in Earth Hour 2012. If you would like to do so, please visit their Facebook page.


Danhostel Ribe Earth Hour spooky storiesDanhostel Ribe promises spooky stories about decapitated pirates outside the hostel and a headless pirate who haunts the hostel when they invite to Earth Hour for the 5th year in a row at the 31th of March from 8.30pm-9.30pm. Please click here for more information or watch the spooky story for yourself!


Throughout Australia, YHA hostels will be turning off their lights at 8.30pm on 31st March 2012 in support of Earth Hour.  The two largest properties in Sydney, Sydney Central YHA and Sydney Harbour YHA are both participating in Earth Hour and will be trying to get as many guests as possible involved on the day. The rooftop terraces of both properties provide excellent viewing points to watch the city be plunged into darkness! Sydney Harbour YHA is offering free hot chocolate to all guests watching from the terrace.  Airlie Beach YHA in Queensland and Pittwater YHA in northern Sydney will be hosting candlelight dinners, whilst Ecobeach YHA in Apollo Bay, Victoria, will be replacing electric light throughout their hostel with candles.  At all properties guests will be encouraged to join in by making sure their room lights are out for the hour.

South Africa

All of the hostels in South Africa will be turning off their lights during Earth Hour and one of the hostels in Cape Town will be recording a video of the lights going off on Table Mountain. This should be amazing to see and as soon as we receive video footage we’ll put it live here.


In Reykjavik City Hostel, a large group requested to use the conference room for a lecture during Earth Hour, however we will still turn off the main appliances and use some candles for their lecture. The short film (The story of Stuff) which was going to be shown with a projector powered with a bicycle will now be shown in April. For Reykjavik Downtown Hostel, we are going to have a poetry reading and we‘ll replace the candles with some eco bulbs powered by the bicycle, to create a cozy atmosphere 🙂 Further details of Earth Hour events can be found on their Website and also on their Facebook page.


Stayokay will also join Earth Hour! After the enthusiastic reactions last year of both guests and staff, a lot of hostels will be participating this year. One of their hostels will organize a night excursion and a campfire and one of the hostels will organize a cozy atmosphere with candlelight in the bar. Most of the hostels will serve free Utz certified coffee and tea in candlelight. They’ve published the participation of Earth Hour on their website and via twitter, but also on the general Facebook page. During Earth Hour photo’s will be published on the facebook page of the hostel.


Earth Hour at AIG ItalyThe hostel in CORTONA will turn off all lights and lighting will be strictly by candlelight. It ‘also planned to organize debates on sustainability with the guests of the hostel. Even at the hostel in NOTO, lights will be turned off and candles or lanterns will be used . They will also put into evidence a series of ‘eco-friendly’ behaviors as the installation of containers Yellow, Green and White for separate refuse collection; videos concerning the environment education will be shown at the hostel and hostel guests will be given a gadget (keychain) with the words “I Recycle”. GENOA and AGEROLA hostels will reduce the lighting and will use candles while in Milan YH lights will be turned off at all.

In Como Youth Hostel the ‘Earth Hour 2012’ poster will be put on the hostel entrance and for 1 hour hostel signs and exterior lights will be turned off. Also all light in the dining room will be turned off and dinner will be by candlelight. In Bergamo hostel for 1 hour lights will be turned off and scented candles will be used. Guests will be requested to write on paper a simple ACTION OF COMMON SENSE that they promise to bring forward: simple actions that each of us can do every day, showing our love for our children, for nature and for the planet we live on!

What about us at NA in Rome? As the Earth Hour will be on Saturday we won’t be able to turn off the lights in our office so we will do our best to be eco-friendly at home and putting more and more attention to avoid wasting energy.


In Finland, Dream Hostel in Tampere and Eurohostel in Helsinki are taking part in Earth hour. Here’s a picture from Eurohostel last year during the earth Hour and the other is from Dream hostel.



  • We will be shutting down all computers but one at the front desk and servers
  • We will initiate a story hour lit by tea candles and will look for locally produced bees wax candles (keep those transportation GHGs at a minimum).
  • All unnecessary( for safety) lights will be turned off throughout the hostel
  • We will be hand blending our margaritas and using hammers to crush ice instead of electric blenders!


HI-Vancouver Downtown:  We’ve still got our lanterns from last year, so I’ll stock up on bee’s wax candles. We’ll shut down the non-essential lighting and work with the candle light. We’ve got the signs up on recycled paper to encourage guests to join in!


HI-Vancouver Central:  We’ve still got our lanterns from last year, so I’ll stock up on bee’s wax candles. We’ll shut down the non-essential lighting and the street sign for the hour, working with the candle light. We’ve got the signs up on recycled paper to encourage guests to join in!


Note:  Beeswax candles are the superior choice since regular candles are made of petroleum-based products (but you already know that).


HI-Whistler: At Whistler, we will have tea lights at the desk and in the lobby as well as in Cheaky’s (our coffee shop).  And…….

  • We will close down 2 of our 3 PCs down at the front desk as well as having all of the office equipment turned off.  
  • We are aiming to shut down some hallway lights but not all to keep everyone safe.  
  • We are also going to shut down the elevator for that hour and help folks take their bag upstairs if they need it.
  • We are assigning people to lower floors as much as possible.
  • Also going to have board games in the kitchen so that guests (maybe) leave their laptops aside for a bit.
  • · Posters will be around to promote the movement.


HI-Lake Louise:  We will be doing the same as what we did last year… turn off as much electricity as possible and encourage our guests to come to our scheduled bonfire.

Depending on weather (if the moon and stars are visible), we may also put on a night time snowshoe along the Bow River during Earth Hour.


HI-Banff:  We will

  • Use tealight candles for lighting the Front Desk and the restaurant
  • Have the lights off in the front and back parking lots
  • Have lights off or minimum lights outside the Mary Belle Barclay (MBB) and Main building entries, ensuring visibility is still adequate
  • Lights dimmed in hallways and lobby, minimum for safe visibility
  • Office/backspace/storage lights – all off



  • We’ll be turning off as many lights as possible, shutting down our internet terminals, etc.
  • We have signs up promoting the hour!


HI-Halifax Heritage House: We will do the same thing we did last year.   We will advertise the date during the week and ask for guests’ participation. We will turn off the lights at the hostel for that hour, TV off, radio off, computers off and even close the office.


Central Reservations:  We’re spreading the word!  We have been including this message in the confirmation notices issued this week……….Hostelling International Canada supports Earth Hour. Join us on March 31, 2012 from 8:30 PM to 9:30PM.  Imagine what we could achieve if we go beyond the hour: http://earthhour.wwf.ca/earthhour/index.html


Regional Office:  Since the office is closed on Saturday, the good folks in the RO are making some commitments to reduce their individual impact on Friday and for the weekend they will

  • Turn off and unplug all electrical devices before the weekend, power back up on Monday morning.
  • Turn off overhead lighting for the weekend
  • Individual commitments include for the Friday:
  • Bringing a raw lunch – one that does not require any type of electricity to cook or heat.
  • Taking the stairs, and not use the elevator.
  • Use the natural light in the office all day and not turn on the lights.



Eurohostel EarthHour 2011Dream Hostel

Earth Hour 2012

Don’t forget to Like the Earth Hour Facebook Page and also visit the official Earth Hour website to see what’s happening all around the world!


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