Environmentalist Stan Mussared encourages people to discuss ways they can reduce carbon emissions long-term, not just for Earth Hour.
Environmentalist Stan Mussared encourages people to discuss ways they can reduce carbon emissions long-term, not just for Earth Hour. JoJo Newby

Switching off for Earth Hour

EARTH Hour, the global phenomenon to raise awareness and drive action to arrest climate change, will be celebrated across the Clarence Valley from 8.30 tonight.

At its simplest, Earth Hour asks homes and businesses to turn off lights and all other electrical appliances for an hour to raise awareness of climate change.

Stan Mussared, from Waterview Heights, has participated in Earth Hour since it started back in 2007.

Each year he has done what he can to push the program and what it represents.

The theme of this year's event is “beyond the hour”, recognising that tackling climate change requires ongoing effort.

In their hour without power people can sit down and talk about what they can do to keep fighting climate change when the lights come back on, he said.

Power usage in Grafton dropped 7.5% during last year's Earth Hour, and Mr Mussared hoped that would be surpassed tonight.

In Wooleweyah, Earth Hour is supported by Glenda Healy's family, including three children.

“The kids really enjoy it. We've been doing it for the last three years,” she said.

“They really enjoy being involved with something that can help to make a difference.”

The family is going camping this weekend, so effectively they will be going 48 hours without power.

“We just light candles and play games,” Mrs Healy said.

It is also important to spread the word and Mrs Healy has been promoting Earth Hour through her baby equipment hire business.

Grafton High School's environment committee is also a keen supporter of Earth Hour and got a jump on everybody by turning off the power throughout the school for an hour yesterday afternoon.

Fifteen-year old Ryan McCallum has been a member of the environment committee for two years.

He said Earth Hour was a chance for the school to take part in the global effort.

“We use a lot of power with lights, appliances and air conditioning. If we turn these off we can save emissions,” he said.

To maintain awareness of the issues the school will be having four one-hour blackouts across the year, one each term he said.

Earth Hour started in Sydney in 2007 and has grown to involve millions of participants from more than 128 countries.

This year will include an online platform where people can share their ideas about how to improve the sustainability of the planet, according to Jonathan Larkin of the WWF, which organises Earth Hour.

“We want people to inspire each other with ways to fight climate change beyond the hour,” he said.



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