HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 608: 21 March 2012

More than 30 groups signed up for Earth Hour 2012
Earth Hour is scheduled for this weekend, Friday 30th March with a lunch-time switch off from 12 to 1pm.
Most schools in the Cook Islands will be participating, including those as far away as Manihiki and institutes like Creative Centre and Rakei Toa.
Government ministries have also pledged their support with some taking this time to organize activities for their staff.
In response to NES’s green government initiative, the Ministry of Education has developed a “Green Practices” policy to implement practices in their new building on energy conservation and recycling.
“We have timers on lights and other appliances and make sure we are following best waste practices such as no plastic plates at meetings. We have all our recycling bins labeled and are in the process of building our new compost bins. We will be sharing Earth Hour together on Friday with a walk up hospital hill! Over 20 schools have indicated they will also be joining Earth Hour and many have energy conservation as a theme in classrooms this week, “Gail Townsend, MoE.
Deyna Marsh of the National Environment Service says that the response has been great so far. Everyone knows it’s a voluntary activity and most are excited about participating in this activity and using it as a time to reflect on current environment practices in their workplaces which is very encouraging and definitely going beyond the hour!
Last year saw the whole of Mangaia switched off for an hour during the working day as part of their observation for Earth Hour 2011. They are in full support again for Friday ensuring of course that their most urgent services, education and health, are not compromised.
Switching off the power supply is not uncommon for our Pa Enua due to fuel shortages and Island Councils have endorsed the Earth Hour switch off as energy conservation practices are ‘normal’ practice anyway and challenge Rarotonga residents, government departments and businesses to do it too.
“Last year Mangaia supported the initiative but not on the same date and hour, nevertheless the same outcome was achieved. This year, we’re with you all to show collective approach across the board with Government departments,” Helen Henry, Island Secretary for Mangaia.
Tune in to Radio Cook Islands for an hour session on the government’s plan to go beyond the hour! on Friday 30th from 10am.
Remember it is about switching off non-essential lights and appliances and for an hour only and to always remember to switch off when leaving the room or office or when it isn’t necessary. Some tips include:
• Use natural air and light for cooling and light where possible
• Turn your air conditioning unit temperature ‘up’. Use it only if really necessary! Switch it off when you don’t need it.
• Switch off lights in rooms that are not in use
• Shut-down PCs at the end of everyday AND weekend!
• Switch off and pull out mobile chargers, etc from the wall when finished with it. Appliances on ‘standby mode’ still use electricity
• Choose energy-efficient appliances and still use less to reap the benefits
• Switch from incandescent to Compact Florescent Light (CFLs)
• Check appliances. Eg. Defrost fridges and freezers and increase efficiency
• Plant around your office
• Proper waste practices – recycling and composting – NO BURNING!
• Initiate ‘no emissions day’ – walk or ride to work if possible. Carpool or take public transport.
• Aim to use less energy, save power, save money and save our environment.
The Cook Islands wants to be a leader in the environment stakes and being informed and participating in environment activities both organized by others and of your own is the right pathway to a better future.
Earth Hour is a global voluntary activity which started in Sydney, Australia by WWF and this is the fourth year the Cook Islands will be participating. This year it is organized by the National Environment Service and the Office of the Prime Minister’s Renewable Energy Development Division (REDD) and Climate Change Unit with support from Te Aponga Uira and the International Institute for Energy Conservation (IIEC).

Herald Issue 608 21 March
- Terms of one China Policy document should be reviewed
- Pacific Media Assistance Scheme Seeks Innovation
- Successful NZ visit by PM
- Rerekura Teaurere New Climate Change Coordinator
- News Briefs

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