Earth Hour Reflections

I celebrated Earth Hour for the first time at the RIBI assembly dinner on 31st March: the lights were switched off and hundreds of candles illuminated the area. This was my first experience to a beautifully simple idea that has become a massive global phenomenon, which has successfully united an extraordinary number of people across the globe. This simple symbiotic act carries a huge environmental message.

Hundreds of millions take time to switch off their lights for an hour on the last Saturday in March as they are driven by the thought of positive action to help tackle climate change and protect the natural world from the impacts of our ever consuming lifestyles. This is fantastic and inspiring and NAEE encourages people to go beyond just the hour and extend energy saving that can make such a difference into their daily lives.

The way we live has impacts that we can not always determine or haven’t yet experienced: these can range from weather changes such as droughts and flooding to food shortages, loss of species and deforestation. So, Earth Hour is not just about saving electricity, it is much greater than that. It is about realising that the actions we take; to the energy we use; the food we eat and the water we drink – all have an effect on our planet.

We all depend on our amazing world and need to care and look after it, not just for an hour, but for every single day of the year.

The analysis after tracking the total electricity demand during the day and comparing it with the corresponding profile of previous Saturdays in the UK showed that there was indeed a significant reduction in the mid evening peak when people often switch lights on. Overall, this translated to a massive saving of around 2,850 tonnes of CO2, an impressive figure

WWF reported that hundreds of millions of people in a record 150 countries and 6,434 towns and cities across the world took part to show they care about our brilliant planet. In the UK, Tower Bridge, Big Ben, Clifton Suspension Bridge, HMS Victory, Edinburgh Castle, Parliament Building in Northern Ireland and the Welsh Assembly were just a few of the landmarks that took part.

Communities across the country also ran local events and thousands took part making this year’s Earth Hour the biggest yet, with an estimated 20,000 visitors per minute on its youtube channel and by the time the switch off had reached South Asia, Earth Hour was trending on twitter.

Gabrielle Back, CoChair, NAEE.


What is sustainability? Pacific tuna fishing re-opens

Yellowfin tuna are being fished as a replaceme...

Yellowfin tuna are being fished as a replacement for the now largely depleted Southern bluefin tuna. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let’s talk about sustainability …. Report are just in of how Pacific nations have reopened the Pacific high seas to commercial tuna fishing after a two-year ban imposed to preserve declining big eye tuna stocks. More at

Compiled by Henricus Peters

Raise money for your school through textile recycling

Raise money for your school through textile recycling. Free ‘Phil’ the Bag sacks are provided to the children to take home and fill with their unwanted items of clothing and shoes. The children bring in their bags on yopur Recycle Day, the bags are then weighed and a certificate and cheque are sent to your school.

Bag2School is a free fundraising scheme based on textile recycling. They operate throughout the UK and raise money for schools and charities by collecting and reselling unwanted second hand clothes. They work in partnership with schools, business, community groups, local councils and charities.

‘Schools must be sustainable’ ….The Edge Debate

From ‘Letter in the Times Education Supplement’, 10 February 2012

If the government is not prepared to make school building sustainable, how can it expect other parts of society to follow suit?

Post your comments below – or at NAEEUK on facebook  

We are deeply concerned that education secretary Michael Gove is considering dropping the current requirement for new and refurbished schools to meet the long accepted BREEAM “very good” standard for sustainable buildings.   In addition to playing their part in reducing emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, school buildings have a role to play in helping pupils, their families and local communities understand how sustainability works in practice.   If the government is not prepared to make school building sustainable, how can it expect other parts of society to follow suit?
The Edge is a cross industry group of building design professionals, many of whom have long and recognised experience in school design.   The Edge calls upon the education secretary to maintain the BREEAM standard for schools and to support and encourage the greening of the school estate.

Signed:  Robin Nicholson, David Adams, Paddy Conaghan and 16 other signatories;  members of the Edge, the built environment thinktank’