Lights out for reef at Earth Hour
THE theme of this year’s Earth Hour was particularly pertinent for the Whitsundays, with lights turned off for one hour on Saturday, March 29, in support of the Great Barrier Reef.
Locally, homes, businesses and even the tourism haven of Hamilton Island, joined 7001 cities, 152 nations and a digital community of 354 million people, in turning the ‘Lights out for the Reef’, from 8.309.30pm, in a stand to save the Great Barrier Reef from the impacts of climate change.
Hamilton Island switched off the island’s principal lighting including external lights at the Reef View Hotel and luxury resort, qualia. Lighting across all sixteen restaurants, including qualia’s Long Pavilion, was also turned off, allowing guests to enjoy dinner by candle light.
Meanwhile two hundred candles lined the Bommie Deck at the Hamilton Island Yacht Club and staff were encouraging guests to go “electricity free” in their guest rooms and homes.
Locals, staff and island guests also had the opportunity to watch the world-premiere Earth Hour docu- mentary about the reef and climate change at two separate venues.
Hamilton Island’s CEO, Glenn Bourke, said the 2014 Earth Hour’s focus on the Great Barrier Reef was a significant one for the destination.
“As the largest inhabited island of the Whitsundays islands, we would like to thank the WWFEarth Hour team for mobilising a worldwide focus on this Australian natural wonder,” he said.
“This focus is more crucial than ever as plans for more dredging along the reef are discussed.
“Such plans would see five million tonnes of seafloor torn up and dumped in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area which concerns us greatly.”
Mr Bourke said dredging was just one of many pressing environmental issues at hand threatening the reef.
He said other factors such as carbon pollution, warmer ocean temperatures, runoff from land use, ocean acidification and rising sea levels were also a concern.