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.
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.
Miner's headlights help the bar staff light their way.
Minnie Cooper gets the crowd going.
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.]