Tonight at 8.30pm around the globe, millions of people will switch off their lights as a symbolic gesture to show that they want to make the world a more sustainable place – starting with the way we create power.
Earth Hour, which started as a grassroots movement 10 years ago here in Australia has grown into a monster of a peaceful protest, and this year it’s more important than ever.
In February, the world experienced the hottest February on record, with temperatures spiking above the 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.
Why is that a problem? Put it this way: at the Paris Climate talks last year, everyone agreed that pushing global temperatures beyond 1.5 degrees means we’re all screwed and this should be avoided at all costs.
Now, February was compounded by a massive El Nino, it’s true, but don’t let that excuse sway you – make no mistake, we are at a tipping point, and it’s frightening. Fairfax media described February’s weather as the “spike that stunned scientists”. Even those who predicted this could happen were shocked that it happened so fast.
People often say, “The world’s been heating and cooling for millions of years, we are just a moment in time and couldn’t possibly have an impact on the temperature control room of the planet.”
I’m sorry, but that’s bollocks. Studies of tiny air particles trapped in ice have helped us chart global temperatures back to a time long before the first humans were a twinkle in a distantly-related mammal’s eye, and from the moment of industrialisation, global temperatures began to rise as we burned shit to make progress.
Apologies for getting a little hot under the collar but if you have even the slightest doubt that humans aren’t the cause of climate change, then please banish it – okay, that’s mean… please share it so we can discuss.
The great thing about all this doom and gloom is this: if humans can screw up the balance of the world’s climate then we too can at least try to correct it, starting by fast-tracking the switch to renewable energy sources.
Australia is one of the first nations to switch off its lights for Earth Hour, we are also one of the worst offenders for climate-action lag, not only because we drag our heels and set shamefully low reduction targets, but because we are on the brink of letting an Indian mining company open our biggest coal mine, the Carmichael mine.
We have so much to lose from climate change, including our crowded coastline and the World Heritage Great Barrier Reef, which has experienced unprecedented bleaching with this massive spike in heat. But who needs coral when you’ve got coal?
I’m sure that tonight you plan to switch off your lights at 8.30pm (and yes, going to bed counts!). Can you do me a favour and take one extra step to tell our Prime Minister that Australians are expecting him to do more and to be the leader we need right now?
Asks Malcolm Turnbull to switch his lights off on tonight to show his commitment to action on climate change and the country’s transition to 100 per cent renewable energy – all you have to do is visit this website to make a postcard for the PM, letting him know you’ll be watching to see if he flicks the switch.
Malc loves a selfie, so lets see him tonight holding a candle to our hopes for the future.