Chicago area readies to celebrate Earth Hour

On March 29, the lights will go out in Tokyo, and Paris, and Dubai.

Earth Hour

  • 7-9:30 p.m. March 29
  • Eastside Community Center, 14 N. VanBuren St., Batavia
  • bataviaparks.org

And they’ll also go out in Batavia.

It’s all part of a worldwide initiative known as Earth Hour, which was launched in 2007 in Sydney, Australia, as an attempt to unify people in their desire to protect our planet.

Two years later, in 2009, Batavia joined in and decided to turn the relatively subdued event into a party-and expanded it into Earth Two-and-a-Half Hours.

“We just wanted to take it to the next step: Look at all the great things that we can do in the dark,” says Carolyn Burnham of the Batavia Environmental Commission. “We’ve turned it into a celebration instead of something quiet, a celebration of what we can do without power.”

The “celebration” includes games in the dark for kids 2 and up, a storyteller, stargazing with the Fox Valley Astronomical Society, and “Art in the Dark” photography. Another popular option is the Drum Circle, where people of all ages join together to improvise and make music.

“We treat it like a celebration, but there is a certain mindfulness to it,” Burnham says. “Who are we and what are our goals? How do we want to treat ourselves and the world around us?”

To that end, other options include yoga by candlelight, tai chi, guided meditation and a gong bath (“no water involved”). And for those who are curious about whether they’re more like a badger or a puma (no, it’s not a Facebook quiz), there will be place to learn your animal totem.

Burnham says the idea is to get people to think about the world differently and consider how they can better care for our planet.

“There are so many unique experiences that they can try out here,” Burnham says. “But mostly we want them to have fun.”

Speaking of fun, the Batavia Creamery is staying open late and offering $1 off each item purchased. The party continues until 10 p.m. for everyone who mentions they’re coming from Earth Hour.

One last thing: Bring a flashlight. Although there’s a certain amount of natural light, and the building’s mandated safety lighting, you might be surprised at just how dark it gets when you dare to turn out the lights.

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