T he World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Earth Hour third annual awards event will this year celebrate the grassroots efforts of Australians in the creative arts and education fields by awarding people who are taking action to protect our planet, WWF - Australia CEO Dermot O'Gorman told Your Home.
"Action for our planet starts in our local communities among everyday Australians committed to the environment," he said.
"While the challenges facing our planet are immense, many of the solutions are smaller scale, and local."
NSW has had a number of entrants in the awards, including the 2012 winners of the Young Panda Award Immie and Freya Wadlow of Castle Hill who made a short film about how young people could help protect the environment.
Since winning the 2012 award the girls have gone on to win the European Science Foundation competition.
Immie Wadlow said the awards have been a great way for her to get involved in something she is passionate about and kick start the careers of both sisters.
"Winning this award has also meant that everyone takes us more seriously and they really listen to what we have to say," Immie said.
NSW resident Robert Dane, the founder of SolarSailor, also won a Futuremakers Award.
Mr Dane built his first wind-and-solar-powered boat in 1997.
Since then, his company has supplied six hybrid technology vessels in Australia, Hong Kong and Shanghai, established his own hybrid-powered ferry services at Lake Macquarie, and formed a research partnership developing hybrid prototypes for unmanned and large vessels with the University of Wollongong.
The official awards ceremony takes place in Sydney on Saturday, March 23, and winners will be selected by an expert judging panel including the Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth, Peter Garrett, Sustainability Director City of Sydney Chris Derksema, Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia Elizabeth Ann MacGregor OBE, and WWF's CEO Dermot O'Gorman.
"Over the past years, we've seen a number of amazing and moving winners of the Earth Hour Awards that have included stories from pre-schoolers and businesses to Indigenous groups and hi-tech entrepreneurs," Mr O'Gorman said.
"This incredible range of entries demonstrates the great number of Australians who are passionate about tackling our environmental challenges. If you or somebody you know is working to make a better future for our planet, please apply."
● For more information about the WWF Earth Hour awards visit: earthhour.org.au