Monday, March 29

Earth Hour in Rarotonga

This year Rarotonga took part in wwf’s Earth Hour for the second time.
In case you missed the world-wide publicity, Earth Hour encouraged people to turn off electric lights for one hour on Saturday 27 March to save power and raise awareness about climate change.
Our newest cabinet minister, Cassey Eggelton, is MP for the village of Matavera where a candlelight vigil was held on the Takitumu school field. Cassey is now the environment minister and was the face of Earth Hour for the Cook Islands.
We called our celebration Matariki Night, the idea being that if you turned out the lights you would be able to see the stars. Matariki is the Maori name for the Pleiades, the seven sisters (matariki means ‘little eyes’).
Not too many stars were visible on the night because of clouds but we were quite lucky – during the afternoon it rained heavily but the evening was fine.
Around the island some shops and hotels joined in Earth Hour as did the Avatiu sports club with a candlelit party out on the field.
Te Aponga Uira (TAU), the power company, sent power usage updates to one of the local radio stations, 88FM and the results were pretty pleasing.
We had a 390 kilowatt decrease in readings, with Takuvaine, Tupapa, Matavera and Turangi recording the biggest drops. Last year the decrease was 200kW.
So, altogether a good effort from Rarotonga.
The country is also beginning to do something about renewable energy.
Solar water heating has been around for many years but now people are getting wind turbines or solar panels to generate power for other things and TAU is fitting meters that can run backwards and allow you to send electricity back into the grid.
I’ve been looking into that but in the meantime it’s a case of remembering to turn out unnecessary lights to save electricity, save money and save the planet.