Guernsey Earth Hour

March 25th, 2009 by Vanessa

G-CAN is encouraging the Guernsey community to take part in a global phenomenon this weekend to raise awareness of climate change. Earth Hour which takes place from 8.30pm to 9.30pm on Saturday 28th March has grown into a worldwide initiative spearheaded by the World Wide Fund for Nature and the UN.

“The idea is very simple’ said Vanessa Crispini-Adams of G-CAN. ‘By turning off lights and non-essential electrical items for one hour from 8.30pm this Saturday we hope to join as many as a billion other people across the planet doing the same thing. It is not to see how much energy can be saved in a single hour – we acknowledge it will be just a drop in the ocean.

‘Rather, the simple act of flicking a switch and spending an hour in relative darkness, aims to achieve two much more fundamental things. The first is for us to appreciate how easy it is to take the energy we have at our fingertips for granted and for us to waste this incredibly valuable resource. The second is for us each to realise that we have to take individual responsibility for our energy use and that we need to do this collectively on a global scale to make the difference needed.’

Professor Nick Day who has illustrated the potential serious land loss Guernsey could experience through predicted sea level rises agrees, ‘The scientific community is almost unanimous in its conclusion that energy created from fossil fuels is altering the world’s atmosphere in a way that could have catastrophic consequences. As an island community it is of particular pressing relevance, as we are directly effected by sea levels. However using the energy from the sea could also be a big part of our response and so I am delighted that the States of Guernsey has begun focusing on the potential of tidal energy.’

Castle Cornet, Guernsey’s most iconic landmark, and itself almost entirely surrounded by sea, will be in darkness for Earth Hour. ‘It’s a symbolic gesture but with a serious message – it is important for us to be involved,’ said Deputy Mike O’Hara.

Participating organisations have agreed to switch off all non-essential electrical equipment last thing on Friday and are encouraging their staff to get involved at home too. G-CAN has been heartened by the positive response to Earth Hour so far. ‘It is amazing the difference in the level of knowledge within our business community even since we promoted this event last year.’ said Lyndsay de Sausmarez, co-ordinator of their new Sustainable Business Forum. ‘Most of the businesses represented on the Forum not only have signed up to Earth Hour but are implementing sustainable practices at every level of their organisations’. Julian Winser, Chief Executive of Schroders (CI) Ltd who commissioned a thorough internal assessment of the company’s environmental impact last year said “I strongly believe where we can make a difference, we have a moral duty to push it as far as we can’.

Dr Andrew Casebow, head of La Societe’s Climate Change Section who are holding a ‘Nature Dectective’ event for youngsters on Saturday afternoon refutes sceptics who claim Guernsey is too small to make a difference, ‘We are part of the problem so logically we must be part of the solution. “Its down to us. If a rich community such as ours can’t lead the way, then who can? We must take action.’

G-CAN are encouraging as many people as possible to switch off and get together with friends and family and enjoy each others company over a candle-lit supper or gathering. And for those that don’t want to stay in, a number of local restaurants including Browns, Nello’s, Petit Bistro and Mora are participating again after a successful similar evening last year. ‘Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves – it was a real talking point’ said Mel Brown owner of Browns Restaurant in Mansell Street.

‘Everyone who signs up on the Earth Hour website (www.earthhour.wwf.org.uk) will be added to a massive global petition which will be presented to world leaders at the Global Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen later this year. This is a real chance for us all to make our concerns heard at a time when policies to combat climate change are being set,’ said G-CAN’s Rosie Dorey.

‘Earth Hour is not meant to be a sombre occasion where we all meditate on the doomed state of our planet. Quite the reverse – it is a celebration of the power of personal action and an acknowledgement of what can be achieved by working together,’ said Mrs Crispini-Adams.

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