Down to earth for an hour
By HELEN JACK firstname.lastname@example.org ON Saturday night, 20 friends and their children gathered at Tash Morton's Mullumbimby home to share a meal in the dark.
Well, almost in the dark.
For an hour from 8pm they joined millions of people worldwide to turn off the power and light candles.
The party was taking part in Earth Hour, a global initiative to raise awareness about saving the Earth's resources.
"Everyone brought a dish of Indian food to share," she said.
"And we lit a little fire in the back garden so we could make cups of tea, and for heating if we needed it."
Ms Morton said Earth Hour was a reminder for people to take responsibility for their energy use.
"And each of our actions add up," she said.
"So if we learn to turn off the power at the power point and turn off lights when we don't need them it all helps.
"We need to carry the message of Earth Hour into our daily lives, and not just for one night."
Ms Morton said she and her family had taken the Earth Hour message further by choosing to holiday in Australia rather than add to their carbon footprint by flying overseas.
"This year we plan to travel overland and camp in the Kimberleys," she said.
"We have also decided to live in town so we can use bicycles to go and do the shopping and take the kids to the swimming pool."
Ms Morton said as well as turning off appliances at the wall every night to save stand-by power, her family was recycling grey water and she had calculated the carbon footprint of their car.
"I used a website to calculate our car emits 5.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year," she said.
"So to offset that I have paid $100 to fund carbon reduction projects around the world."
"It's about the future."
Ms Morton said she used a local website, Cool Planet, to calculate her family's carbon footprint.
Last year, over two million businesses and households in Sydney turned off their lights for Earth Hour.
This year the message went global, with people in major cities around the world taking part.
The ultimate goal is to reduce carbon emissions by five per cent.