Earth Hour, the annual event when thousands across the globe turn off lights and power to promote sustainability - was a success – read more at Learn From Nature. In the same moment, we hear reports of habitats under threat . Reports from The Independent
Fires raging unchecked in an Indonesian peat swamp forest could wipe out the remaining Sumatran orang-utans which live there, conservationists are warning. The forest is one of the last refuges of the great apes. The illegal fires, started by palm-oil companies clearing land to plant the lucrative crop, are believed to have killed at least 100 orang-utans – one-third of those living in the Tripa swamp, on the west coast of Sumatra‘s Aceh province. The rest could die within weeks, according to Dr Ian Singleton, conservation director of the Sumatran Orang-utan Conservation Programme.
“The speed of destruction has gone up dramatically in the last few weeks… This is obviously a deliberate drive by these companies to clear all the remaining forests,” Dr Singleton said. “If this is not stopped right now, all those orang-utans… will be gone before the end of 2012.”
Only 6,600 Sumatran orang-utans are estimated to be left in the wild, and the Tripa swamp – where they are most densely concentrated – is considered crucial to the species’ survival. But less than one-quarter of the peat forest remains; the rest has been converted to palm-oil plantations.
Satellite imagery showing 92 fires over the past week has horrified conservationists, who are awaiting a court ruling with far-reaching implications for the protection of wildlife habitats in Indonesia. The judgment relates to a lawsuit brought against the governor of Aceh by the local branch of Walhi, an environmental group. Walhi decided to act after the governor, Irwandi Yusuf, granted a new permit to one of the country’s biggest palm-oil companies, PT Kallista Alam. Walhi Aceh argues that the permit, which would allow another 4,000 acres of peatland to be destroyed, was granted illegally.
The judges are due to reach a decision next Tuesday. If they dismiss the challenge, other important habitats could also be threatened. Tripa is nominally protected by a presidential moratorium on new logging and palm-oil concessions, as well as by legislation governing the conservation area within which it is located.
There may now be as few as 200 orang-utans left in the Tripa forest, which shelters a dozen endangered species, including the white-handed gibbon, clouded leopard, Malayan sun bear, Sumatran tiger and giant soft-shelled turtle.
- Indonesian fires threaten Sumatran orangutan (thehimalayantimes.com)
- Rare Sumatran orangutans dying as fires rage in Indonesian swamp forest (guardian.co.uk)
- Rare Population of Sumatran Orangutans Could Be Wiped Out in Weeks (treehugger.com)
- 100 orangutans estimated lost in Indonesian fires (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Indonesia land clearance ‘wiping out’ orangutans (mnn.com)
- Indonesia land clearance wiping out orangutans (canada.com)
- 100 Orangutans Estimated Lost in Indonesian Fires (abcnews.go.com)
- Fires pushing orangutans closer to extinction (scotsman.com)
- Indonesian Fires Again Burning Protected Forest, Decimating Orangutan Populations (genascihk.wordpress.com)
The final countdown to Earth Hour 2012 has begun.
For Daily updates – Learn From Nature
Hours from now, hundreds of millions of people will switch off their lights for 60 minutes, an observance that is touted as the world’s biggest annual environmental event.
Last year, more than 5,200 cities and towns in 135 countries and territories participated in the movement that began in Australia in 2007.
In 2011, a total of 1,661 cities and municipalities across the country joined the lights out.
According to Earth Hour founder and Executive Director Andy Ridley, who is observing Earth Hour in the country, the popular event reached 1.8 billion people across the globe in 2011.
“This year through digital media, we are offering a greater opportunity to connect people with the desire to take much needed action for the environment,” Ridley said.
What’s the hype all about?
Co-founded by the conservation group World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF),Earth Hour is a symbolic climate change action held annually on the last Saturday of March. It involves switching off lights over a designated hour.
But according lawyer Gia Ibay, Earth Hour Philippines Director, “More than anything, Earth Hour is a celebration of hope. When our planet plunges into darkness, we can look to the stars and dream of what can be. When the lights switch back on though – our real work begins.”
The 60-minute event gathers individuals, businesses and governments across the globe, encouraging them to be responsible for their ecological footprint and to provide solutions to pressing environmental issues.
What else can you do?
Rappler will facilitate online conversations about how you can meaningfully observe Earth Hour 2012 and beyond. Here are 3 ways by which you can participate:
1. Submit a 15-second video clip explaining how you can help save and protect the environment to firstname.lastname@example.org. Entries will be put together as a montage.
3. Share your best Earth Hour 2012 experience using the hashtag #EarthHourPH - Rappler.com
- Earth Hour 2012! (sabirder.com)
- 9 Fun Things You Can Do During Earth Hour 2012! (inhabitat.com)
- Earth Hour 2012 is This Saturday! (ecolissa.blogspot.com)
- Earth Hour : One Hour Of Darkness For A Brighter Future (darcxed.wordpress.com)
- What Are You Doing Saturday Night? (thegreenists.com)
- Earth Hour 2012 – A Global Event (theecochic.com)
- Earth Hour : One Hour Of Darkness For A Brighter Future (acrosstheuniverseinnotime.com)
- Andy Ridley | Co Founder Earth Hour (ecocitizenaustralia.com.au)
- Earth Hour is only a week away – sign up now! (naeeuk.wordpress.com)
- [In the news] Climate change a women’s issue -RAPPLER.com (hronlineph.com)
- [In the news] Philippines is most disaster-prone in Asia – RAPPLER.com (hronlineph.com)
- Earth Hour 2012 (aliwanavenue.wordpress.com)
No Matter where you are or what you are doing you – as an individual or group – can show that you mean business about conserving energy and being more sustainable. Join up for Earth Hour! | Learn From Nature
At 8.30pm local time on Saturday 31 March, Earth Hour 2012 will see hundreds of millions of people around the world cross borders of race, religion, culture, geography and society to unite in a single moment of contemplation for the planet and celebration of their year-round commitment to protect it.
Now in its sixth year, the annual lights out event has grown from a single-city initiative in 2007 to become the world’s largest display of environmental action, with citizens of 135 countries and territories across every continent coming together for Earth Hour 2011 indicating a growing global movement of positive change in environmental attitudes.
WHAT: Earth Hour 2012
WHEN: Saturday 31 March at 8.30pm in your local time zone
WHERE: Across the globe WHY: To celebrate your commitment to the planet with the people of the world
HOW: Switch off your lights, register your support and get more details at earthhour.org
The 100-day countdown to Earth Hour 2012 has now begun, the iconic ‘lights out’ event that has seen some of the world’s most recognized landmarks, including the Forbidden City, Eiffel Tower, Buckingham Palace, Golden Gate Bridge, Table Mountain, Christ the Redeemer statue and Sydney Opera House switch off in a global celebration of the one thing that unites us all – the planet.
- Earth Hour (nanawithtwodogs.wordpress.com)
- Observations On Earth Hour (pm27.wordpress.com)
- One Lightbulb at a Time (masonhomes.wordpress.com)
- Action for the planet : Earth Hour is March 31st …. (environmentaleducationuk.wordpress.com)
- Lantern Making (roncy.org)
- Switch Off Your Lights for Earth Hour | Video (icountformyearth.wordpress.com)
- Green News Weekly – Ryan Gosling, 10 Places in Most Need of Water, Sustainable Shanghai Hotel, and Countdown to Earth Hour 2012 (planetforward.ca)
- Earth Day too committed for you? Celebrate Earth Hour instead (grist.org)
- Action for the planet : Earth Hour is March 31st …. (shadowwolf32.wordpress.com)
This Earth Hour 2012: 8.30pm, Saturday 31 March, celebrate your action for the planet with the people of world by switching off your lights for an hour, then go beyond the hour.
Earth Hour is a unique opportunity for you to become more sustainable and do something positive for the environment. It’s been the source of inspiration for millions of people taking steps towards a cleaner, safer future. It’s not just about saving energy for one hour, it’s about going Beyond the Hour with lasting, behaviour-changing actions for a sustainable planet.
There are lots of ways you can take action for Earth Hour. Whether you’re a social media fan or a hands-on organiser, you’re sure to find some inspiration right here!
For details, click here : http://www.earthhour.org/page/get-involved/join-community
- 12 simple ways to go green in 2012 (csmonitor.com)