Turning Earth Hour on its axis

By Anna Rose 19 March 2014
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Earth Hour is the world’s largest mass participation event of its kind. How is it different this year, and why should you take part? Anna Rose explains.

ON SATURDAY 29 March the people of 154 nations and 7000 cities will turn off their lights for one hour to prove the world can unite to tackle climate change.

But let’s be honest: it’s going to take more than an hour to solve this problem.

That’s why this year’s Earth Hour is turning from a moment each year to a year-round social movement – and using that movement’s power to help Australians make the connection between tackling climate change and saving our Great Barrier Reef.

Turning Earth Hour’s attention to the Great Barrier Reef on this year reminds us all why Earth Hour started in the first place: to inspire the world to tackle climate change by showcasing what we can save if we act now (and what we risk losing if we don’t).

It’s a pivotal year for our Reef. Recently Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg from the University of Queensland – coordinating lead author of the Oceans chapter of the upcoming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report – warned that if we don’t act now the reef could be irreversibly damaged by climate change by 2030.

Our reef is one of the most vulnerable places in the world to climate impacts: sea level rise affects turtle nesting grounds, ocean acidification undermines the basis of the marine food chain, rising sea temperatures lead to more coral bleaching and more intense storms risk destroying reef structures.

But it’s not too late to act, and that’s where you come in.

This year, on Earth Hour evening (Saturday 29th March), thousands of Australians will hold gatherings with friends and family to watch our family-friendly world premiere documentary Lights Out for the Reef, and kick-start a conversation about what we can do to help make progress as families, communities and a nation.

Then, at 8.30pm, we’ll join millions around the world in turning off our lights to make a stand for our Reef.

Holding an Earth Hour gathering is easy and fun: register your event, then round up some family members or friends at your place or a nearby venue.

As an official Earth Hour Host, you will:

  • Receive a special event pack (including kids’ activities if you have little ones);
  • Be automatically eligible to apply for our Camp Earth Hour trip of a lifetime to the Great Barrier Reef; and 
  • Go into the draw to win one of 50 FREE movie passes to Spiderman 2, thanks to Earth Hour’s official first ever superhero ambassador (Spiderman). The tickets are first-in-best-dressed for events registered this week, so register your event now.

Plus, you’ll be playing an important role in kick-starting a conversation that too often isn’t had: reminding people in your life why we need to act on climate change.

Wouldn’t it be great, after all, to be able to tell our kids that we helped save places like our reef? And wouldn’t it be awful if we had to tell them we only thought about the problem for one hour each year, and by the time we realised it required more from us it was too late?

No one can do everything, but everyone can do something, and Earth Hour is a great place to start. Let’s be proud to say we didn’t sit back on climate change when the going got tough, but helped move a nation to change course.

Register your Earth Hour event at www.earthhour.org.au.


Anna Rose is the campaign manager of Earth Hour and co-founder of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition.