AS THE SUN SET over the long low horizon beyond Randwick the lights came on, the crowd gathered, the food stalls started frying and brewing and the wind turbine and solar panels at the community centre whirled and spun up their electrons to signify that another Earth Hour was here.
Earth Hour — an international event when the participating world turns off its electricity (unless powered by renewables) for an hour to highlight that action on climate change is needed now, needed urgently and needed globally. It's a message to lackadaisical politicians and dinosaur fossil fuel industries the world over to lift their game.
I don't know how many people came to Randwick's Earth Hour Twilight Picnic and Food Market, but they came and went through the evening. It must have been a couple thousand at least. I don't think anyone counted.
As children ran wild or participated in the kid's activities and as families spread their blankets on the lawn and settled in to talk with friends, I made sure I bought food from one of the stalls and a coffee from another early in the evening because I knew there would soon be long lines of hungry people eager to be fed. And there were, sooner rather than later. Eating early also meant that I would be free to go about my photography unencumbered by a rumbling, empty stomach and an urge to be fed.
The event demonstrated that the construction of the classroom on the green and the associated landscaping was a worthwhile investment for Randwick Council. People sat and children played on the big blocks of Sydney sandstone that partially enclose the green while others sheltered below the eucalypts.
A clear sky was good news to the UNSW Physics Outreach team, a couple astrophysics students who set up telescopes on the green well before the descent of night. No night just yet was also good news for them as they had filters for their telescopes, and peering through them people could see sunspots on the big orange thermonuclear ball in the sky. Come the darkness, those filters were removed, the 'scopes turned around and the by-now-long line of people could spend a couple minutes peering at the cratered, mountainous silvery disk of lunar, our close companion in the heavens.
Local blues jazz ragtime band, Sugar Bowl Hokum, set up on the new landscaping and blasted out their eclectic music into the soft darkness of early evening as it gently pushed away the fading light of day this fine and mild early Autumn evening.
Darkness descended. Music played. People socialised. Others ate. Children rampaged. All were happy. It was time to go to work. I switched on my camera.
So… sit back and enjoy this photo essay of Randwick's Earth Hour Twilight Picnic and Food Market 2016…