Thursday, April 10, 2008

On Having a Life...

Last weekend I thoroughly cleaned my house. This may not seem blogworthy and normally I would not consider it to be so, but in this instance that simple act represented the first step toward feeling on top of things for the first time in months! Knocking on wood here, just to be safe.

So while all of Saturday was spent cleaning (it had been way too long), I felt as if I had emerged from the woods. Then on Sunday, we did something even more indicative of having a life - we spent the day on bicycling winery tour of the area with our friends Matt and Sarah! There was a wine festival on and it was great fun (we only made it to three wineries, but never mind). Had a nice picnic lunch with a bottle of sparkling Riesling and carried home nine bottles of varying varieties (well, Brian carried home nine bottles).

Let's see, what else? On Monday evenings I knit with the girls and that's always good fun. In the last year I've managed to make little Gavin a blanket, and half of the front of a sweater for myself (or jumper, as it would be called here). Jan, I'll leave you to guess what color the sweater is. Hoping to actually get to wear it this winter.

On Tuesday evenings for the last ten weeks, I've been taking an African drumming class. We had our final "performance" on Tuesday evening and Brian and some friends came along. Also good fun. I'm continuing on next semester because I love it!

Today, I'm actually at home (hence the reason you're getting a blog post on Friday morning) because I feel that I'm verging on getting sick and so I'm resting today. It's delightful. Hoping to feel well enough to leave the house later as my friend Millie and her partner Garth are having going-away drinks tonight before they embark on a journey across Australia. All the best Millie!

Oh, and still reveling in the success of Earth Hour. Will be getting all of the photos from the photographer next week and will post them online. In the meantime you can see campus media about Earth Hour and a few more photos as well.

Oh yes and another good sign that I'm getting my life back is that I'm reading. Fiction. For pleasure. I'm about to start The Time Travelers Wife. In fact, I can hear it calling me now.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Earth Hour

You might remember that after Celebrate Sustainability Day, I was hoping to get some semblence of a life back. Since then, you may have noticed that blog posts have been few and far between and you might then have come to the conclusion that I failed in the endeavour to regain a life. And you would be right.

As soon as Celebrate Sustainability Day ended, planning for Earth Hour began. Earth Hour started last year in Sydney and is now an international event focussed on the link between energy consumption and climate change. Cities around the world shut off their lights from 8-9pm on Saturday, 29 March. Earth Hour aims to not only reduce emissions for one hour, but also to show people that there are steps that they can take to reduce emissions all through the year.

We decided that ANU should do something really cool for Earth Hour and came up with a nice little plan that turned out to be way more work than expected. How does that always happen?

I've spent the last month working with the students in campus residence halls to create a comunity building and awareness raising event for Earth Hour. We decided that we would make a whole evening out of it and design a giant display of the earth in candles with music and a free BBQ.

So while our simple little plan turned into an epic adventure, it was all worth it! The evening turned out even better than I expected! We planned a BBQ for 350 people and ran out of food mid-way through the evening; many more turned up later in the evening just to see the candles and the music.

Setting up. We planned to be at it all afternoon but we had such a terrific group of volunteers and such a well planned design strategy for the candle display that it only took a few hours!

There were a few panicky moments where it was really windy and the candles wouldn't stay lit - no, no, no, please no! - and then the wind died down and they all stayed lit all evening! Whew!

We got a cherry picker and a professional photographer from the ANU to get some "aerial" photos. Here, Liz and I got to go up and see our creation from above. So cool!

For Earth Hour itself we arranged for a local group, the Big Bang Theory, to do African drumming and at the same time had three people out in the candle display doing fire spinning. It was such an awesome vibe! The music and the fire show were incredible - these folks went out of their way. Many thanks to all of them!

And here are my favorite images from the night, both by Stuart Hay of ANU Photography.

Above: The display after dark with fire spinners in the center of Australia.

Pretty neat, eh?

You might also be interested in more information about Earth Hour in general, ANU Earth Hour coverage in The Canberra Times, and some photos and stats about Earth Hour in Canberra.