As the world prepares to celebrate Earth with in synchronised ‘switch-off’, a gesture acknowledging our need to rely less and change to more sustainable sources of power—many are embracing the event by pledging to extend its purpose and benefits beyond the hour.
In Australia where Earth Hour began four years ago, the WWF responsible for organising it are encouraging people to leverage the hour as a means of shifting perspectives and politics on power. Rather than focus on the event as a one time celebration for which energy-poor countries by circumstance are forced to experience on a daily basis, we should consider the event a catalyst for action on climate change.
This years theme ‘Go Beyond the Hour’ reflects the voice of united concern expressed amongst experts the world over… change needs to be immediate, innovative and embraced by all. Every household has influence, every action, creation, choice, consensus—it all matters.
To this end WWF created a website recognising peoples efforts to reduce their energy expenditure Beyond the Hour . Load images and examples of your actions and feel the effect of contributing with a community to restore our depleted planet.
Turn your attention and support toward energy solutions as offered by companies like Beyond Zero Emissions who partnered with the University of Melbourne’s Energy Research Institute last year to create the Zero Carbon Australia – Stationary Energy Plan.
The Plan outlines a strategy to wean Australia off fossil fuels for good, using commercially available technology to harness the country’s bountiful supply of clean energy. Such a strategy would cost households just eight dollars a week for ten years, and ensure a future less at the mercy of dwindling fossil fuel supplies and the adverse impacts of a changing climate.
Many people express concerns that solar and wind power is too variable to rely on for a constant source of energy. This concern is misplaced.
Concentrating solar thermal (CST) power plants operate differently to the solar panels commonly found on neighbourhood rooftops. They consist of thousands of mirrors that reflect sunlight onto a central receiver tower, which stores the sun’s heat in tanks of molten salt. These solar power towers with storage can generate electricity for seventeen hours straight, without any sunlight at all.
Modelling by Beyond Zero Emissions shows that this game-changing technology coupled with geographically dispersed wind installations, existing hydro and a small amount of biomass can easily meet the nation’s baseload electricity demands.
In contrast to Earth Hour’s current focus, the energy future presented in the Zero Carbon Australia plan will not be achieved through simply reducing our electricity use. Of course increasing the energy efficiency of buildings and automobiles is important, but it is renewable energy substitutes for fossil fuels that will ultimately decouple our modern energy-intensive society from carbon emissions.
When we reconsider the problem of climate change as an energy challenge, human civilisation can turn its undivided attention to deploying the renewable energy technologies already at our disposal.
“With renewable energy, every hour can be Earth Hour” says Mark Ogge director of operations for Beyond Zero Emissions.
Take the Pledge to turn out your lights for Earth Hour, then…
Go beyond the hour by making daily changes in your life to protect our planet.
Don’t be in the dark by yourself!