It’s an event that has its origin in Australia, but now has a worldwide following - and it’s based on the simple premise of turning off a light in the house. Earth Hour started in Sydney in 2007 as a response to reports of rising carbon pollution and the perceived threats posed to our way of life by carbon change.
(min cost $8)
Login or signup to continue reading
On a simple and more immediate level, turning off a light or three has another beneficial effect for everyone –it allows us to see the night sky more clearly. Judith Bailey of the Ballarat Observatory says that Ballarat’s night sky is still clear enough for good astronomy.
“We’re a lot better off than Melbourne. A lot of people can’t see the fifth star in the Southern Cross anymore in Melbourne. It doesn’t mean we should be complacent.”
Judith says there’s no clear correlation between crime reduction and leaving lights on. Rather, the practice of running street lights all night came about in Ballarat in the 1970s. Prior to that they were turned off at midnight.
“There was an impetus after the (Second) World War right through the night, and that was to create the base load for power stations to run through the night so they could gear up when they needed. The premise that we have for leaving lights on all night doesn’t stack up.”
Ms Bailey says the way we think about lighting is still stuck in the Twentieth Century. Councils are realising that bright lights are not the answer, and can be a hazard on wet roads, causing glare and night blindness.
The Ballarat Observatory is open from 6pm for Earth Hour tomorrow night. The rundown for the evening is:
6.00pm: Star-be-cue – bring your own picnic or have one of the observatory’s ‘astroburgers’ or ‘spacesausages’. Bring a blanket to sit outside.
7.00pm: Did you know France has a policy of turning off all unnecessary lighting after 12am? Did you know that Christchurch in New Zealand is setting a high standard for LED lighting? A lecture including video footage presenting the latest information about lighting, safety, and crime from around the world.
8.30pm: Lights are switched off to witness the glory of the night sky.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.