Saturday, March 29, 2008

Earth Hour

Well Earth Hour here in S-W Ontario is about 1 1/2 hours away. Some of the people I have talked to are going to particpate. Go Lambton SNB's!!

Some fun links: (the video where it all began)

The sails of Sydney's famous Opera House were plunged into darkness Saturday as Australia's largest city voluntarily switched its lights off Saturday night.

The event, known as Sydney's Earth Hour was billed as a sixty-minute demonstration of Australia's resolve to curb global warming. Thanks to a reliance on coal-fired power plants, Australia is the world's single largest per-capital emitter of carbon dioxide.

If nothing else, the lights of Sydney's skyline were noticeably thinned by Earth Hour, which began at 7:30 local time. Officials had arranged for all non-essential city lights to be switched off, and residents followed suit by darkening their homes and unplugging unnecessary appliances. Hundreds gathered at Sydney harbor to watch the spectacle, while clubs and restaurants served patrons by candlelight.

While billed as something of a party, Earth Hour kicks-off a serious 12-month public awareness push by the World Wildlife Federation-Australia and the Sydney Morning Herald. The immediate goal is to cut the city's greenhouse emissions by 5-percent. In the long run, Earth Hour organizers hope to expand their concept to other cities in 2008, coupling it with a focused initiative to make deep and permanent cuts in the amount of carbon dioxide being pumped into the Earth's atmosphere.

Sydney's mayor, Clover Moore, told Sky News Saturday that his city is serious about addressing climate change.

"Tonight is really important because it's a call to action," said Moore. "We are asking people to think about the action they can take to fight global warming. We all have to act to reduce out ecological footprint."

Scientists worry that global warming -- which the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change links to manmade greenhouse output -- may already be exacting a painful toll on Australia's most treasured natural wonder: the Great Barrier Reef. Marine biologists report unparalleled coral bleaching and dry-off, with a domino-like effect rippling through the aquatic food chain. Australia suffered its hottest and driest summer on record, and some climate change experts wonder if last year's violent typhoon season may have been made more severe by rising ocean temperatures.

While Australia's Conservative Prime Minister, John Howard, is a bitter opponent of the greenhouse emission reductions proposed by the Kyoto Protocols, his government has recently responded to political pressure to take action. Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced in February that Australia will enact energy regulations essentially banning the sale of conventional incandescent lightbulbs after 2010.

So -- what can the average Australian (or anyone else) do to curb global warming? It all starts with small, meaningful changes in our personal energy habits. Australia's WWF Futuremakers website lists Lighter Footstep's article How to Live with CFLs as a good place to start.

You can also take your first Ten Steps toward a lighter lifestyle, give your home an energy audit, investigate local recycling opportunities, and talk to your family and friends. Share a few of your ideas, and you may get some back in return.

Were you in Sydney for Earth Hour? Please share your experience in our comments section!

The Sydney Morning Herald has a photo gallery of Saturday's Earth Hour here.

No comments: