We are proud to have freedive instructor, marine biologist, environmentalist, and humanitarian Lucas Handley as one of our Earth Hour ambassadors this year.
Lucas has been a participant, and advocate, of Earth Hour since the very beginning so we thought we’d ask him a few questions about his connection to the event.
What is your involvement with Earth Hour?
I remember joining in my first Earth Hour event about ten years ago, while I was studying at uni. The excitement for me came from coming together as a wider community to challenge a globally- important problem.
I’ve since joined in every year, and last year hosted my own first community event. Our diving community came together for a night dive (there were a lot of us). We all turned our torches off and sat underwater in the darkness.
Why is Earth Hour important to you?
For me, Earth hour isn’t just about saving energy for that one hour - it’s a visual recognition that we are all part of large and interconnected community; capable and committed to finding a more sustainable and earth-friendly direction for our society.
What do you see as some of the most critical issues for oceans in regards to climate change?
I think people are aware (or at least have some idea) that climate change is heavily impacting the survival of our coral reefs and changing our ocean systems and the fish/animal communities that rely on them.
We’ve seen mass coral bleaching events now, with increasing regularity. If the time between each event is too short for slow-growing species to recover, we will lose those species.
The more drastic, or the more regular, the bleaching, the greater the effect on the corals and animals.
If we lose our corals, if we lose our fisheries, we lose the inspiration that connects us to the oceans, we lose the motivation to fight for its protection.
I don’t want future generations to put their heads underwater and have a response of “meh”. I want them inspired to be a part of our underwater environment, so they can be the next generation of guardians.
What are everyday things individuals can do to keep our oceans healthy?
Single-use plastics are a big problem as they often end up in our oceans and don’t break down. We can be mindful of our own consumption - take your own takeaway coffee cup to the cafe, use reusable bags for your shopping. If you eat fish, choose something that has been sustainably sourced. Give yourself time for an electricity detox – I’m trying to go one day a week where I completely switch off.
But I think the biggest thing we can do is recognise the power we have to make change. Consider the companies that hold your money - Is your bank ethically invested? Your super? Have a look at what your money is funding and make the change if necessary. Collectively, we have huge potential to change the direction of our big businesses.
What is one of your favourite photos that you’ve taken and why?
I think my favourite image is actually a compilation of two of my photos taken in the Solomon Islands. It shows three of the local children - swimming, eyes open, underwater, in front of one of the local village huts.
The hut looks a bit rundown, but the surroundings are so picturesque and the happiness on the kids faces supersedes the apparent state of the hut.
For me, it epitomised the opposite of what we are fed in western society, that we need material objects, status, and luxury to be happy.
Find out more:
Earth Hour: www.www.earthhour.org.au
Lucas Handley: www.lucashandley.com