Monday, April 02, 2007

Earth Hour Is A Drag

According to the statistics published in the Sydney Morning Herald article, anywhere up to 2.2 million Sydneysiders participated in Earth Hour by turning off their lights, unplugging unused appliances and minimising their power usage for one hour on Saturday night. Suburban statistics are still being collated, but the city recorded a whopping 10.2% drop in power usage, a little more than double what was hoped for.

My local watering hole The Newtown Hotel got behind the initiative by turning off the lights from the start of Earth Hour at 7.30, and leaving them off for the rest of the night. The regular drag shows were prefaced by local drag artiste, political activist, Celebrity Big Brother housemate and environmentalist Vanessa Wagner.

Earth Hour Is A Drag: 2 Earth Hour Is A Drag: 4
MC Vanessa Wagner (left) and Morgan by torchlight (right).


Vanessa made sure we got the environmental message, and after distributing hundreds of mini torches to the patrons gave us all instructions on lighting the remainder of the shows by torchlight. Morgan and I went along to take pictures of the event, and we had an absolute blast. Maybe it was the darkness, maybe it was the audience participation aspect of the night, but it was one of the more friendly and fun nights I have had at The Newtown. Shooting the event was lots of fun too, and has gone a long way to kicking me out of my phtotography doldrums.

Earth Hour Is A Drag: 1
Miner's headlights help the bar staff light their way.

Earth Hour Is A Drag: 5
Minnie Cooper gets the crowd going.

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Kitty Glitter (left) and Tess Tickle (right) perform by torchlight. Quiet please there are ladies on stage.

I was kind of impressed to read that participation in the event across Sydney was so high. Sure, it's a drop in the ocean. Like "Red Nose Day", "International AIDS Day" etc, there is both an immediate measurable result (such as fundraising or in this case a cut in power usage), but also hopefully a knock-on effect of information and awareness.

[Updated: As Stil pointed out in the comments and on his blog, controversy reigns about the exact impact this had. Even if the % is overstated, I don't think you can discount the motivational and possible educational aspects of it as an exercise. The important thing is to maximise its usefulness and keep the ball rolling on the issue of climate change.]

15 comments:

Ur-spo said...

alas, we in the USA I am sure gobbled up twice as much energy to compensate.

The Other Andrew said...

Ha! There's been talk of making at an international event next time. The outstanding result has been reported in lots of the international media.

Cozalcoatl said...

The small bit of TV i see here, had a story about the Aussie's powering down. So it did get noticed over here.
Yay

The Other Andrew said...

Cool. It was primarily only Sydney that did it, although once news about it got out some places like Byron participated too. I heard that because the results were so good the WWF are using it as an example to roll it out internationally. Flagstaff, represent!

Stilgherrian said...

Hello, Monday Cynic here! [waves]

The Sydney Morning Herald gilded the lily a bit when pushing the success of Earth Hour — and Crikey was very critical, putting the actual reduction in electrickery usage at 1.7%.

And of course all those battery-powered lanterns are less energy-efficient even than coal power stations — and create toxic waste to boot!

Still, the event gave me the chance to be even more cynical in a longer article.

Remind me to tell you about my plan for nuclear waste some time...

The Other Andrew said...

Took you long enough, I was expecting that hours ago... :)

Stilgherrian said...

I've been busy... :P

Travel Australia said...

Australians are real good in saving up the country's resource. :)

Michael said...

I had heard about it, too, so I think the coverage alone was worth it.

Michael Guy said...

Yes, I saw this on the news here. The 'coat hanger' went black. See? I know stuff...

Great idea. I'd like to see that happen here. And who doesn't like drag queens in dim lighting?

James said...

Fabulous pics. I confessed tonight on my blog I kept the tv on. Will I go straight to hell for this as well?

James said...

Of course Crikey hated it. Had it occurred in Melbourne, however... As a one hour gesture it was never designed with real reductions in use in mind. It was all about community awareness and optimism that people care and want to do something, not negativity and cynicism and that it's up to other people to do something.

The Other Andrew said...

James you ARE going straight to hell, but not for the tv. That's the LEAST of your worries. :)

Thanks for the compliment on the pics, I was really pleased when I got some good shots given the non use of flash and shooting by only torchlight.

Michael & Michael, glad to see it made the news there. BTW Morgan and I were in the paper yesterday! The newspaper took a pic of the drag show audience and there we were.

Ayesha said...

It is now happening in Canada where much energy is being wasted. Lets see what a change this'll make. I have high hopes!

Ayesha said...

Yo! Earth Hour rocks!