27 March 2011
Go Beyond the Hour
So it was Earth Hour last night! Without a doubt one of my favourite days of the year. I was meant to be helping out at the GCI event on Lower Campus but that didn't work out... I feel a little guilty about it but where I did end up was on Signal Hill with a friend, looking out over an ever so slightly darker Cape Town cityscape :) The highlight - seeing Table Mountain switch its lights off for the hour. Earth Hour is such a beautiful concept. What I love the most is that it started off as a small scale WWF event in Sydney in 2007 and has since grown to become a global symbol of environmental awareness. One thing I really enjoyed yesterday was watching the hype on Twitter, as Earth Hour hit different time zones. Aah, it warms my heart when worldwide, people are acknowledging the problem of climate change and adding their voice to the fight against it.
This year, WWF took the message of Earth Hour further. They added the + to the "60" logo, asking everyone to go beyond the hour. Basically, along with switching off your lights and non-essential appliances during Earth Hour, people are being encouraged to do a little more and take on-going action that'll make their lives more sustainable and show their commitment to doing their part to combat climate change. In my last post I said I'd make my pledge on what I'm going to do to go beyond the hour. There's a lot of things I want to do to make my lifestyle more sustainable. Student life is pretty sustainable as it is, but I'm going to start with using less water and reducing my waste. COP17 is also part of my ambitious plans for going beyond the hour - spreading the word :P
Earth Hour has become one of those flagship environmental campaigns, so naturally, it attracts a lot of criticism. One of the most common things you'll hear from the skeptics is "what difference does it make if one person switches off their lights for an hour, it's not going to stop global warming from happening, (maybe they'll say climate change isn't even real)". There are very few things that bother me more than people who are so opposed to taking individual action in global problems. Sure, in the case of Earth Hour, switching off your lights isn't going to have much of a direct positive impact (though the drop in electricity consumption in cities worldwide has in the past been quite significant). But I think in campaigns like this it's the indirect impact that matters - the awareness and noise you create out of it. Like I said, it's amazing when people across the globe are acknowledging a problem as big as climate change and willing to do something about it.
I'm going to be quiet for a while because I'm off on ecology camp all of next week. I am so excited for a week of fieldwork in the West Coast National Park. I can't describe how cool it is to be going away somewhere and throw field guides, binoculars and a dissecting kit into my bag. Nick put it quite well and said it makes you feel like a real scientist :P The vegetarian animal rights activist in me is feeling a little iffy about the prospect of catching fish and things and dissecting them. But it's in the name of science and it's a grey area I haven't made my mind up on yet so I'm just going to man up and do whatever needs to be done and get good grades. Much like the snail, lobster and frog dissections from first year biology :S But I'm extremely excited. I've heard only amazing things about the ecology camp and I'm hoping it lives up to its reputation :)
Anyhow, I've got an EGS assignment to submit before leaving. Many ecological stories shall be told in the next post :)