Sunday, 30 March 2008


Did you participate in Earth Hour? The idea was for everyone to turn off their lights from 8 -9pm as a show of the concern for the state of the earth and climate change. From New Zealand to Australia and around the globe, time zone by time zone millions of people showed concern by switching to candles or lanterns for lighting during this 1 hour vigil.

If you are familiar with the skyline of the city, you will see just the dark shadows of the city buildings in the centre of this photo. We took this photo from a tree-less spot along the road from our house.

Roger and I walked along Mt Osmond Road and saw that some houses seemed to be in semi-darkness, with cars in the driveway so maybe they were participating. Others had everything blazing, in total ignorance, no doubt. The Adelaide City Council did a great job of turning off all the lights that usually flood the city buildings with light from dusk til dawn. We even had trouble seeing where the city was because it was in darkness.

However, it was blatantly obvious that no other councils seemed to be participating as Adelaide lights lit the sky for 50km, from north to south (see this photo that I took from our house). The government of South Australia showed their lack of understanding of how this could have brought people together in a common cause and shown that those in power were at least acknowledging that there is a problem. But no, yet again there was no doubt no thought even given to what they could do in support.

We walked back home and cooked our dinner - cheese and tomato omelets - by candlelight. In the lounge I had hung from the fireplace 2 solar lanterns that normally live out on the verandah and I thought, why don't we all just have a supply of these that we put out during the day and bring in at night? It was nice to be in a soft glow, for a while, and I think we might use our solar lanterns inside more often.

Here is a photo I just took with the flash, of the lanterns back outside - you can see I am up early (and the government expects us to be out watering our gardens at this hour (6am))! We have 6 of these and they glow with a soft yellow light every night, after some sunshine during the day. Perfect to hang in the lounge or a hallway at night.

Partnering cities:
Aegina, Greece
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Burlington, Canada
Calgary, Canada
Chandigarh, India
Chisinau, Moldova
Curitiba, Brazil
Denver, United States
Edmonton, Canada
Galway, Ireland
Geneva, Switzerland
Gold Coast, Australia
Halifax, Canada
Honolulu, United States
Jakarta, Indonesia
Kuwait City, Kuwait
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Lautoka City, Fiji
London, United Kingdom
Mexico City, Mexico
Miami, United States
Minneapolis, United States
Montevideo, Uruguay
Newcastle, Australia
Northampton, United Kingdom
Pasay City, Philippines
Pecs, Hungary
Santa Cruz, Bolivia
Stratford, Canada
Warsaw, Poland
Wellington, New Zealand

Official cities include:
Aalborg, Denmark
Aarhus, Denmark
Adelaide, Australia
Atlanta, United States
Bangkok, Thailand
Brisbane, Australia
Canberra, Australia
Chicago, United States
Christchurch, New Zealand
Copenhagen, Denmark
Darwin, Australia
Dublin, Ireland
Manila, Philippines
Melbourne, Australia
Montreal , Canada
Odense, Denmark
Ottawa, Canada
Perth, Australia
Phoenix , United States
San Francisco, United States
Suva, Fiji
Sydney, Australia (watch the video of turning off the lights on Sydney's landmarks)
Tasmania, Australia
Tel Aviv, Israel
Toronto, Canada
Vancouver, Canada

Official cities are registered as WWF flagship cities and have local government support to participate. Partnering cities are those that have organised participation via community channels and grassroot activity. Earth Hour started in Sydney a year ago with support from local media, politicians, businesses and around 2.2 million Sydneysiders.


Pattie Baker said...

LOVE the lanterns, Kate! I love your idea of filling them with sunshine during the day to enjoy them at night inside. Beautiful way of connecting the outdoors to the indoors and treaching the kids about the power (and joy) of solar.

Also, although there is much progress to be made, I think it's amazing how much this Earth Hour idea has grown in just one year.

As for Atlanta, it POURED here yesterday, so many Earth Hour activities were rained out (we were heading to a nearby nature center but the thunder and lightning kept us home). In all honesty, Atlanta needed the rain more than anything, so I think it's a good sign that it rained here on that particular day.

Kate said...

Pouring rain is a wonderful thing!We have had drizzle all weekend which is also rather nice.

Maggie said...

You must have enjoyed the rain Pattie. I always see on our Sky news how dry it has been in Atlanta.
I don't listen to local news much but everyone around the place has been talking about earth day, so it must have been widely reported.
Good omelet Kate.

Maggie said...

Look at Sydney, what a great photo of the Bridge, it has to be the best city in the world with the harbour and all the little coves, ferries, Morton Bay fig trees, sandstone buildings, old terrace houses, great beaches and wonderful national parks.
I was born in Sydney city and spent much of my first 21 years wandering the streets there, many happy memories and lots of days spent in the botanic gardens looking out at the harbour, wandering through the Rocks area, riding on ferries or sitting at the old Central station watching the steam trains and the the people come and go.
If any of you come to Australia you must roam around Sydney.

Anonymous said...

Kristy (my 13 year old daughter)found lots of candles and told us that no-one could use any lights from 7.30pm till 9pm... so we watched Robin Hood in candle-light!!! Many houses around us in Hobart turned off their lights for Earth Hour.

Anonymous said...

We got into this and went to a local park with a great view of Melbourne to see all the lights go out. It was a bit of a let down - not as many went out as we'd hoped. Then we went home and had dukkah in the dark, carrying around candles to and from the kitchen to bring over the plates of olive oil and bread! Good old fashioned lighting.
Shouldn't we be doing this more often?

Maggie said...

I agree when I was a small child we seemed to have lots of blackouts so we would get out the candles and sit around and chat. I also remember in the 70's it was fashionable to have dinner parties and have fondue heated gently over bees wax candles and and have candle lit dinners and someone would play guitar and we would sing and talk about all sorts of topics.

gardengal said...

Well I hate to be the voice of dissent, but if the Adelaide Council could turn off all the lights one night, but can't be bothered doing it every night, then they don't give a damn about the environment. Its just green washing.
The whole exercise is just to salve middle class angst. Wouldn't it be much better if everyone sat down and resolved not to leave any uneccessary lights on this year? To postpone buying that new car 'til next year? (and the year after and the year after). To examine every new purchase on a needs basis and not buy it if you don't need it? To examine every new purchase on its environmental foot print? To give up polar fleece and knit a jumper? To turn the telly, the computer and all their peripherals off at the power point every night? Not use the AC this summer?
If every person in the western world did one of those things this year, that would make a real impact.

And ... solar garden lights are not a sustainable form of lighting. They were never meant to be. They are a way of getting garden lights without running power into the garden.

Kate said...

Of course you are right and we all know that but all those other people out there need to be educated before any progress can be made. It is no good just you and I treading lightly, so somehow we have to gradually get into people's minds and I think an "Event" is probably, unfortunately the only way to grab the attention of most people. Secondly, solar lights are a fine way to illuminate a space inside at night. Of course it would be better to do more but surely having some people around and eating by the glow of these lanterns is a nice way to start a conversation with un-thinking friends about all this. Maybe you are just feeling a bit grumpy, gardengal, like I often do!

joco said...

Hiya Kate,

I only found out a few minutes before 20.00 hrs because of google's search page being black. No mention on our UK news either before or after the event.

We spent a happy hour just sitting in the dark, not even a candle or torch. ( solar lanterns: brill!)

I would have liked to learn what impact an hour makes, globally or by country. We live in the middle of nowhere, so I couldn't even tell how many took part as there are never any lights visible.

This ought to be a weekly occurrance. Great job you over there starting this last year.