HI Hostels Blog

Earth Hour update

Earth Hour was founded by Andy Ridley in Sydney, Australia, where on 31st of March in 2007 2.2 million inhabitants and 2,100 businesses participated. The plan was to make the Earth Hour a national event in Australia but the international interest was very high and cities from all over the world started to sign up for the next campaign.

This year, the Earth Hour which took place on 23rd of March attracted a massive international interest as well. Many National Associations and Hostels within the HI network contributed to its success, motivating others to join. Here are just a few of the things that were happening around the world in support of Earth Hour 2013:


Montana Family & Youth hostel in Bergen turned off all lights and switched to a candlelight concert in the living room. The Bergen band Ramasjang with musicians from different musical backgrounds played an interesting scope of soundscapes and styles. Both local community and hostel guests were invited to join the International Earth Hour where they could enjoy organised entertainment and had a coffee on the house.


Here’s what happened across the country…..

In Halifax, Nova Scotia………from HI-Halifax, Timo reports, “This year we participated again for the event. Our office was closed for an hour. We turned off all the lights, shut down computers, TV (ruined one guest’s hockey night) and put candles in the kitchen. In the kitchen we played board games and it turned out that people can have fun without electricity!”

Dans la belle province du Quebec……..Maxime, avec HI-Tremblant, a rapporté que, “Bon, pour la earth hour, l’auberge de tremblant a éteint les breakers. Donc, pendant une heure les seules sources de lumières ont été des chandelles. En plus, on s’est un peu amusé avec les chandelles. Je te mets en pièce jointe la photo que j’ai publié sur le Facebook de l’auberge. Et, question de signifier que l’énergie électrique n’est pas nécessaire à notre amusement, moi et quelques clients avons organisé une partie, amicale bien évidemment, de poker. Voila!”

Across the prairies in Edmonton………Greg and his team at HI-Edmonton planned “to turn out as many lights as possible, our internet terminals, and whatever else we can”

In the Alberta Rocky Mountains, Linda reported that she and her team at HI-Lake Louise planned to “turn off all non-essential lighting as well in the hostel and guests in the restaurant will dine by candlelight. We will also run an activity outdoors (bonfire or snowshoeing).”

On the other side of the Great Divide and into the Pacific Coastal Mountains of British Columbia, Shaun told us that he and his team at HI-Whistler would “be turning off all non-essential lighting, the elevator, guest computer terminals, all workstations that aren’t in-use and the TV’s. Toyed with the idea of turning off the wifi – but I’d hate to put the front desk through the number of complaints I imagine we’d receive.”

At the HI-Banff Alpine Centre, HI team supported Earth Hour by using tea light candles for lighting the front desk, restaurant and pub; they also had the lights off in the parking lots, office, backspace, storage area and had lights off or minimum lights outside the building entries, ensuring visibility is still adequate. In addition, all computers except those required for guest service were turned off and signage was posted in advance to ensure all guests knew about this activity and why they were doing it.

And in the great city of Vancouver, Jenn told us that “At both HI-Vancouver Central and HI-Vancouver Downtown, we will be turning off all non-essential lighting in the hostels, working with light from a couple lanterns with beeswax candles inside them. We’ll also have signs on recycled paper to encourage guests to join in our efforts!” Afterward, from HI-Vancouver Downtown, Doug confirmed the activity, saying “This year for Earth Hour our hostel turned out the lights in most of our common areas except the kitchen and part of our front desk. Staff placed candles in strategic areas so guests would not collide with the walls and other guests.”


Canberra City YHA was celebrating Earth Hour with a glow stick party whilst guests at Sydney Harbour YHA were enjoying free hot chocolate on the roof terrace and watched Sydney plunge into darkness.

In addition, Thredbo YHA (New South Wales) had an outdoor fire, toasting marshmallows and serving up hot chocolate warmed on the fire. All guests came out by the fire so the hostel staff could turn off lights; exhaust fans, computers, and quiet down the hum of electricity.

The same applied to Grampians YHA (Victoria) where hostel guests sang and played a guitar by candlelight first for an hour, then another hour and before they knew it, 1am had arrived and still the lights were not back on! All the guests had a night to remember.


Como YH invited its guests to have dinner by candlelight and YH “La Casa Sul Lago” of Torricella, for the day dedicated to the Earth Hour decided to turn off all the lights for two hours, using candles and paper they normally use for recycling has been given to a school class of children who spent the night in the hostel, to make drawings on the theme of the attention to the environment.

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