Earth Hour – Powering Off for the Planet Paddy March 22, 2018 All A simple commitment you can make to the planet. On Saturday March 24, power down from 8:30-9:30 pm, local time and join the global movement to protect our earth. Did you know? The worldwide mass movement, Earth Hour, was started right here in Australia. In 2007, the annual campaign started off as a “lights off” event in Sydney. In search of an imaginative way to capture the masses and inspire people to reduce power consumption, this initiative was launched and the city committed to the cause, making it a grand success. Monumental actions were taken, such as the famous Coca-Cola sign at Kings Cross being switched off for the first time since 1973. Citywide, a number of buildings took this opportunity to permanently shift to more energy efficient lighting systems, ensuring that most lights were off during the night. In the following year, the event had gained global traction and by 2009, 88 countries participated and the campaign exploded to reach people in over 30 languages. ’09 saw the partnership between the Wold Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Earth Hour emerge to help create one of the world’s biggest celebrations for the planet. Image Source Fast forward to 2017 and we were celebrating Earth Hour’s 10 year anniversary. Earth hour has gained traction that has fostered environmental change far exceeding minimised electricity use. This blanket title has become a force for environmental movements fighting various aspects of climate change all over the planet. As Australians, we share our environment with some of the most unique wildlife on earth, both above and underwater. More than 80% of Australia’s flowering plants, mammals, reptiles, frogs and almost 50% of our birds can’t be found anywhere else on Earth. Due to current climate situations, these statistics are rapidly changing, and they are changing for the worse. We are losing species at an unprecedented rate, with climate change being a major player. A few examples highlighted by the WWF specific to Australia’s wildlife include: Pertaining to green turtles and the Great Barrier Reef, rising sea levels are threatening Raine Island in the Great Barrier Reef, currently home to one of the world’s largest nesting sites for green turtles. A recent study (supported by WWF) showed that higher temperatures in nests are causing turtle eggs to produce females. Around 99% of the green turtle population is now female, signalling a potential population crash. At Paddy Pallin, we are very aware of the increasing problem surrounding our unique Koalas. As such, we have been continuously rolling out our “Don’t Bag the Environment” campaign, where we donate 20 cents to The Great Koala National Park initiative every single time a shopping bag is refused by one of our customers. Why is this initiative so important to us? Because with higher average temperatures, global warming is changing the water and nitrogen content of eucalyptus leaves, the koala’s only food, making them less nutritious. As a result, koalas are not getting enough water and nutrients from their natural diet and have to leave the protection of their tree-top homes, making them prone to predators and traffic. With habitats back on the ground, the black-flanked rock wallaby, inhabiting the desert and bush in many parts of Northern and Western Australia, is highly endangered. More severe and longer droughts will result in food and habitat loss, leaving these beautiful animals with nowhere to go. Finally, Antarctica is one of the fastest warming areas on the planet. The accelerated melting of Antarctica’s ice sheets has contributed to global average sea levels rising, increasing the risk of coastal flooding in Australia. The melting ice is putting pressure on Antarctica’s many coastal and marine species, including penguins. A third of the Adélie penguin colonies in Antarctica could disappear in less than 50 years due to the impacts of climate change on food supply of krill and fish. This Saturday, March 24th 2018, join people spanning the globe in world’s largest grassroots movement for the environment by powering off all non-essential lighting and electricity for one hour from 8:30-9:30 local time. If you want to get more involved in Earth Hour festivities and potentially connect with like minded people jumping on board in support of this initiative, check out the following events near your local Paddy Pallin store. Sydney’s iconic harbor views will be modified with lights switching off as a symbolic gesture in support of this movement. With minimized light pollution, take advantage of events such as Earth Hour Star Trails Walk Around Sydney Harbour to learn about astronomical heritage as well as Earth Hour at Sydney Observatory where you can enjoy an evening of community, astronomy and climate change featuring live music, talks from environmental experts, shadow puppets and other hands-on activities for the family. We can even squeeze in your exercise plans – Damien Kelly Fitness Studio in Bondi Junction is hosting Candlelit Yoga to switch off both your mind and the lights. Finally, don’t let date night prevent you from taking a stand on climate change – switch things up a little and take your date on a romantic candlelit dinner in support of the cause at Pizzavelly Italian Kitchen in Clovelly! For all outdoor enthusiasts and climate change action takers in the Melbourne area, there are some unique events taking place including the Ride On Cinema, a pedal powered FREE screening of a surprise film in Elwood. Not to mention, you’ll have a chance to win a free bike of your own! Our community members with a green thumb (or those of us who simply love tasty treats) might be gravitated towards events such as Grazing in the Garden – a gathering in support of community gardens where you can enjoy a delicious dinner, drinks at bar prices, entertainment, razzle and a guest appearance from Meg Caffin from Urban Forests. If you will find yourself in and around Brisbane this weekend, don’t miss your chance to Dine in the Dark for Earth Hour. Bookings are essential if you would like to experience a meal prepared without using electricity at IndigiScapes in Capalaba. If you’re keen on seeing some of the unique wildlife we’re aiming to protect, bring your torch and join in on the Earth Hour Spotlighting Tour to observe the new nesting boxes and nocturnal wildlife that inhabits this section of Springfield Lakes. Bonus, there will be hot chocolate served after the tour! Surrounding our Perth location, connect with and learn from your environmentally minded community by rugging up for the Earth Hour picnic at Tomato Lake in Kewdale. BYO picnic and picnic rug to hear from Lindsay Miles on actions you can take to minimise climate change impacts, followed by acoustic guitar while you enjoy your picnic. If you’re looking for something to get you that much closer to nature, and up your chances of spotting some of the unique wildlife our country boasts, try your luck on the “Night Stalk”, an evening walk around Naragebup to spot local native nocturnal wildlife. For an encompassing list of all the registered Earth Hour events around Australia, check out Earth Hour’s Community Events page. Can’t swing Saturday’s 8:30 p.m. global movement? Not to worry! There’s an overwhelming amount of small habits you can change and conscious decisions you can make in your every day life ultimately allowing you to make a small promise to the planet. Here are some awesome examples and their impacts offered by the WWF: “I’LL REFUSE PLASTIC CUTLERY WITH TAKEAWAY FOOD”– By 2050 there could be more plastic in the sea than fish! By refusing a plastic knife and fork with your lunch each working day of the year, you could personally save 466 items of unnecessary plastic. “I’LL USE A REUSABLE COFFEE CUP RATHER THAN DISPOSABLE ONES” – It’s estimated that around 2.5bn coffee cups are thrown away in the UK each year – that’s 7 million a day! By using a reusable cup on your commute you could prevent 233 cups going to landfill every year. “I’LL TURN WASHING TO 30°C” – According to research by Ariel and the Energy Saving Trust, reducing the temperature by just 10°C from 40°C to 30°C can save around 57% of the energy used in laundry. “I’LL MAKE MY NEXT VEHICLE AN ELECTRIC ONE” – Most of the 30 million vehicles on UK roads produce emissions that contribute to climate change and are harmful for us to breathe. Driving electric means keeping fossil fuels in the ground and harmful pollution out of the air. “I’LL REUSE OR COMPOST LEFTOVER FOOD” – Composting a tonne of food and drink waste has a carbon footprint of just 6kg. Sending the same amount to landfill via your bin produces more than 100 times that amount – equivalent to driving a car for 24 hours! “I’LL SWITCH MY ENERGY TO A GREEN ENERGY SUPPLIER” – Switching your home to renewable energy can save around 1.5 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year – equivalent to taking a car off the road for six months. As well as saving carbon you can also save money too. “I’LL BECOME A FLEXITARIAN AND EAT LESS MEAT” – The vast amounts of land, water and feed needed for livestock is destroying habitats and critically endangering species. Reducing meat consumption and eating more plant-based foods could reduce your carbon and water footprint and help safeguard wildlife. Here’s a snapshot of some of the ways Earth Hour and other climate change initiatives have positively snowballed to instill positive action world wide: PROTECTING SEAS AND WILDLIFE IN RUSSIA In 2012, Russia legislated to protect its seas from oil pollution after receiving 120,000 petition signatures as part of Earth Hour’s ‘I Will If You Will’ Challenge. Since then, Earth Hour has been used by WWF-Russia to push for a commercial logging ban in protected forests, a moratorium on new oil fields in the Arctic and fundraise for the conservation of animals. EARTH HOUR FOREST IN UGANDA According to the UN, Uganda loses 6000 hectares of forest each month. To halt this, WWF-Uganda in partnership with Standard Chartered Bank, The National Forestry Authority and local communities established an Earth Hour Forest in 2013. WWF-Uganda aims to plant half a million Indigenous trees across 2,700 hectares of degraded land. MARINE PARKS IN ARGENTINA In 2013, Earth Hour helped in the creation of a 3.4-million-hectare marine park in Argentina. Known as the Banco Namuncurá, this marine protected area has significant natural and cultural value. The marine park was a result of the Fundacion Vida Silvestre, Patagonia Natural and the Wildlife Conservation Society, using Earth Hour to mobilise public support for the legislative bill. BAN ON PLASTICS IN THE GALAPAGOS In 2014, an alliance of organisations campaigned under Earth Hour’s banner to raise awareness of the impacts of disposable plastic bags in the Galapagos. By the end of the year, the Government passed a resolution to ban plastic bags and styrofoam from the Islands. The win is expected to reduce the harmful impacts of plastics on the Galapagos’ unique animals. COMMUNITY SOLAR ON THE SOUTH COAST In 2014, Annette Kennewell attended Camp Earth Hour at Heron Island for community leaders, and went on to organise the People’s Climate Picnic in Moruya (NSW South Coast). She also helped establish the South Coast Health and Sustainability Alliance (SHASA) which is working on a community solar bulk buy for Eurobodalla homes and businesses. By 2017, SHASA will have 50 PV systems installed in the community. SHINING A LIGHT ON CLIMATE CHANGE In 2017, Earth Hour Australia partnered with Solar Buddy to provide 500 portable lights to rural communities in Ethiopia. These lights were assembled by students, teachers, corporate partners, and staff. Charged by the sun, they provide many hours of light to help students in-need with their studies, as well as replacing carbon-intensive kerosene lamps. In 2018, the program will support communities in Papua New Guinea. Paddy Pallin has committed to support Earth Hour by switching off all non-essential lighting and power on Saturday 24th March. We are actively making a commitment to minimise any power usage in stores and offices. Paddy Pallin is powering off in support of Earth Hour, and we hope you will too! #ExperienceIsEverything Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.