University of Sydney switches off for Earth Hour

25 March 2011

The Quadrangle before and after the lights were switched off for the 2008 Earth Hour.
The Quadrangle before and after the lights were switched off for the 2008 Earth Hour.

The University of Sydney will show its commitment to an environmentally sustainable future by switching off its lights for Earth Hour this Saturday 26 March.

Non-essential internal and external lighting on the Camperdown Campus will be switched off for the fourth year running, making a bold symbolic statement to governments and the community on the critical issue of climate change.

Staff are also encouraged to switch off all unnecessary lighting, computers and electrical equipment when they leave work on Friday evening.

Founded in Australia, Earth Hour is now marked all over the world, with lights switched off at famous landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, the Sphinx and Pyramids of Giza, the Empire State Building and Buckingham Palace.

The university's Sustainable Campus Program ensures the buzz of Earth Hour endures throughout the year by continually working to improve the university's environmental impact. This includes reducing water and energy use, avoiding waste, and conducting life cycle analysis of purchases to ensure goods and services have the least impact on the environment and bring the most benefit.

A new campaign this year urged enrolling students to sign a pledge to refill plastic water bottles instead of throwing them away. More than 500 students signed the pledge, which hopes to reduce the 140,000 plastic bottles thrown out each year at the university.

For staff, the Sustainable Workplace initiative supports an enthusiastic group of volunteers across the university to improve sustainability and conserve natural resources in their workplaces. This bottom-up approach raises awareness of ways in which everyday decisions can contribute to the university's ecological footprint.

Environmental issues in the wider local and global community are addressed at the university's Institute for Sustainable Solutions, which unites leading academics in the fields of energy, health, development and the environment.

By harnessing the intellect, imagination and research infrastructure already available at the university, the institute is able to enhance the scope of existing research and provide opportunities for new projects.

The institute is also focused on teaching and outreach programs, and runs the Master of Sustainability to provide advanced training to sustainability professionals.

Media enquiries: Katie Szittner, 9351 2261,