Earth Hour 2018
Earth Hour at Loreto Normanhurst
Earth Hour is a worldwide movement held annually which encourages individuals, communities and businesses to turn off non-essential electric lights for one hour as a symbol of commitment to the planet.
Loreto Normanhurst has always been committed to Earth Hour and this year was no exception! On Friday 23 March students were encouraged to turn off lights, fans and projectors and play board games, card games or the classic game, Celebrity Heads. The activities continued as all staff and students officially celebrated the Loreto ‘Earth Hour’. We turned off our laptops and hit the books, old-school style.
The school community was challenged by the Green Team to further their commitment to Earth Hour and to participate, along with majority of Australia, in Earth Hour on Saturday night from 8:30 to 9:30pm. The Green Team suggested the community take the time to turn off most, if not all, electrical devices and use this opportunity to go for a family walk, play board games, read a book, or play an instrument. We also suggested, if light was needed, to burn a beeswax or soy candle, which are both made from renewable resources.
The boarding school participated in Earth Hour by turning off all devices, lights, fans and even holding off on showers for an hour. Each year group had planned different activities to entertain themselves for the hour – the majority of the girls took the opportunity to check-in with each other and had some meaningful conversations. The celebrations were very successful at promoting environmental awareness around the impact of electricity from non-renewable, dirty energy, and allowing our technology-driven society to understand what impact they can make in reducing our carbon footprint by the flick of a switch. Our challenge to you: do you really need that light on?
Elizabeth Isaac and Clodagh Bray
Annual Riverview Earth Hour Breakfast
As part of our Earth Hour celebrations, on Wednesday 21 March, six representatives from the Green Team, accompanied by Mrs Cranfield, attended the Riverview Earth Hour Breakfast. We enjoyed a delicious breakfast at St Ignatius’ College Riverview, networked with students from environmental groups at other schools and heard from speakers from a variety of organisations working on sustainability and environmental awareness.
One of the speakers was a representative from the ‘Return and Earn’ scheme run by the NSW Government. This initiative allows people to receive a refund for recycling beverage containers at 534 locations across NSW. There are a number of types of collection points including ‘Over-the-Counter’ collection points, Reverse Vending Machines, Automated Depots and Donation Stations. Most 150mL to 3L drink containers made from glass, plastic, aluminium, steel and liquid paperboard (cartons) are eligible for a 10 cent refund. We found it very interesting to learn about this inventive way to encourage recycling within our communities. If you would like to find your nearest collection point or learn more about recycling please visit the Return and Earn website.
Another presenter was from Pollinate Energy which is an Australian social business that works to sell solar powered lights to people in India’s urban slums. In doing so, they replace the kerosene lamps which are used as a light source by most people in the slums, thereby reducing toxic pollution and creating a sustainable solution to providing light. So far the company has been able to save 9,850,000kg of carbon dioxide emissions and provide 131,201 people with access to lights powered by clean electricity.
We were also lucky to hear from a representative of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition. The AYCC are an awareness raising group campaigning for sustainability and solutions to climate change. Their main focus is on youth involvement in these campaigns since we will inherit the consequences of decisions made now regarding the climate. They also run programs such as Switched on Schools which aim to have schools run by renewable electricity sources. As students, it was great to hear about the variety of ways we can get involved and make a difference.
There was an exhibit of art projects made from waste, including a giant French knitting loom and giant ball of yarn made from fabric strips knotted together. We collaboratively enjoyed the challenge of working out how this was made and it showed us that items that usually end up in landfill can be reimagined into something creative and beautiful.
We left the event with full minds and full stomachs and a sustainable show bag! These bags were Boomerang Bags which are reusable shopping bags made by volunteers from scrap fabric and provided to participating retail outlets to replace plastic bags for customers. The concept is simple: you borrow a bag, reuse it, pass it on or return it to a participating store for another customer to use. We have floated the idea of incorporating this concept in the Boarding School – so watch this space!
Ultimately, we found attending this event and listening to the speakers to be very fun, informative and inspirational. We hope to be able to use some of the initiatives we learnt about and raise awareness about them within our community.