Getting ready for Earth Hour this Friday is Vistara Primary School principal Didi Ananda Vitandra with students (l-r) Bridie Hermen-Bromley, Ethan Hamlyn-Edwards, Murray Roberts, Caleb Patterson and Sirena Youngfields (front).
Getting ready for Earth Hour this Friday is Vistara Primary School principal Didi Ananda Vitandra with students (l-r) Bridie Hermen-Bromley, Ethan Hamlyn-Edwards, Murray Roberts, Caleb Patterson and Sirena Youngfields (front).

Bright sparks say lights off

Vistara Primary School will be turning off their lights for an hour this Friday, March 26, to support Earth Hour and teach students about the importance of reducing their carbon footprint.

Earth Hour is on this Saturday but Vistara school administrator Rukminii Athans is encouraging other schools and businesses to join them on Friday in powering down during business hours, as the collective effort can only do the planet good.

“Having Earth Hour at school is a great way to teach kids about how important it is to save energy and help get that message sent home so more households take part on Saturday,” Rukminii said. “I wish more schools and businesses would get behind Earth Hour the day before – if one school can do it, every school can do it.

“Earth Hour started in Australia so imagine if every school and business across Australia came on board on the Friday to ‘launch’ Earth Hour – we would be the first people on the planet to do that!”

Rukminii said the school was aware that one hour out of every year was not enough to reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly. Mindful of this, Vistara has committed to long-term sustainability and already the students recycle and compost, are involved in school-wide clean-ups and have made a vegetable and herb garden. The teachers turn electrical equipment off at the wall and the school uses solar hot water, water pressure restrainers and energy saving globes, plus they have plans for solar panels and more rainwater tanks to be installed.

“Earth Hour is something we should all do regularly – at least once a week or even once a day,” Rukminii said. “It’s really not that hard to live without power for a short time each day – it’s absolutely possible. Schools could switch off during recess duty or whole school assembly.”

Earth Hour is an annual event co-ordinated by the World Wildlife Fund Australia, which is asking people to turn off essential lighting and machines, and unplug appliances at power points, for one hour from 8.30pm this Saturday, March 27. The event has grown steadily since it began in Sydney in 2007 and last year hundreds of millions of people from 4189 cities in 88 countries took part.

Rukminii said the students at Vistara have even come up with some ideas for what you can do during lights out.

They suggest you light candles and play board games with the family; sing, dance or meditate; play hide and seek with torches; tell stories by candlelight; have a candlelit picnic dinner; go outside and look at the stars; phone a long lost friend; play with your pets; or simply sit and dream about a brighter and better future for the planet.

To register for Earth Hour visit www.earthhour.org.au (it’s free!).

WWF is also asking people to make the commitment to reduce their footprint on an ongoing basis. You can measure your current environmental impact on the footprint calculator at earthhour.org.


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