Earth Hour in Vancouver

We spent much of the day outside, with all lights of course turned off at home. Sure, it rained, and we didn’t make completely low-footprint choices, but oh well. I took many opportunities to chat with Cameron about our world and the effect we are having on it.

A highlight of the day was watching the paving on Cambie. The new train line from the airport to downtown is still having its effect on the area – traffic near Broadway is still diverted to one side of the street while they adjust pipes and such underground, and re-pave. So Cameron and I watched the long process of paving. As we strolled down a couple of blocks, we saw the crews digging up the old pavement and carting it away, filling with sand to make a strong base, spreading the blacktop paving stuff (whatever that is), rolling it smooth. We talked about where the old pavement goes, about how the new stuff smelled awful, why it was being done.

In the early evening we bounced in sunshine on the trampoline. I lay on my back and lifted him, perched sitting on the soles of my feet, up high. “I’m high up with the birds,” he shouted, spreading his arms wide and flapping along with them.

Supper was as locally-sourced as I could manage, mostly organic, and what wasn’t local was organic. I modified the squash soup recipe to include only local produce (still had non-local broth in it, oh well, and the olive oil was west-coast at least), and loved one change. Fresh ginger root, instead of powdered. We also had wild-caught salmon with (not local) citrus, and quasi-local (west coast) organic broccoli. Alright, you got me, I didn’t make Cameron forgo his ice cream, but that at least has a major local component.

At 8:30 while Cameron was in the tub, I ran around unplugging things. Or rather, casually walked to unplug power bars at my whole six outlets in the entire apartment, turn off lights, and take the battery right out of my computer. Even the fridge/freezer got unplugged. Why didn’t I just throw the switch on the breaker? Couldn’t, as I don’t have access to it. My neighbours who do were out for the evening, but assured me that they’d turned everything off before they went. So, good enough. Cameron finished his bath and his ice cream by candle light, while we talked about why we were doing this. Story was by one single candle, then he blew it out before we snuggled into his bed.

So, was it thrilling, did the skyline go dark?

No. Sure, it was nice to do, and I’m glad we took part. But I am sad to say that Vancouver was unimpressive. Maybe it was more obvious on Robson, where the Juno excitement was going on, but from my livingroom window downtown looked little different than any other evening.

City hall did go dark, so kudos to them. They left the brilliant red clock lights on, but the lights that normally illuminate the entire building were off. The West End from what I can see through the trees was darker than normal. Downtown itself? I saw little change. Grouse it was hard to tell, and may update tomorrow night when I get a fresh view, but it looks as though their lights stayed on full-blast. The neighbourhood? Well, maybe one in four houses was obviously participating.

I don’t mean to sound too down about it. After all, that’s pretty much what I remember from last year. I look forward to the power consumption reports – here’s hoping we improved!


One response to “Earth Hour in Vancouver

  1. Another lovely day! You and Cameron sound like you’re in a really nice groove.
    We had a fun earth day too. Spent the morning at the Green Living show at the convention center. Saw all sorts of fun stuff about electric cars, solar power, green-sourced things, organics, all sorts of yummy food and nice music. We’re seriously considering an electric car. And would totally do solar panels on the roof if we didn’t live in Seattle where it’s never sunny…
    We were talking about earth hour on the way home, and wouldn’t you know it – as we drove, we saw a tree had knocked down some power lines and our house was without electricity for a couple hours 🙂 I think every one should have an enforced earth hour like that! It was kind of fun. Daniel was upset at first, but then we talked about what electricity is, what needs electricity to work, and then went about figuring out what worked and what didn’t. Potty… can’t turn the lights on, but the flushing still works and you can still wash your hands! He tried to play his trumpet and one of the valves was stuck. Usually when that happens, he’ll tell me it needs valve oil, but yesterday he told me it needed electricity 🙂
    Ok, so he didn’t totally get it, but he is only three…

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