Hunter Valley Electric Vehicle Festival raises awareness for climate change

As temperatures increase and our planet changes, Chrystal Moore brings good news in the form of the annual Hunter Valley Electric Vehicle Festival, partnered with the Tom Farrell Institute at UON.

With sea levels on the rise, the Arctic glaciers melting at an alarming rate and the Earth reaching concerning temperatures, it has become apparent that our planet is changing. Renewable energy such as wind farms simply aren’t being invested in in Australia; a country which is one of the largest exporters of coal on the globe. As Tony Abbott so famously put it, “Up close, they’re ugly, they’re noisy.”

Unfortunately for Mr Abbott, global warming has caused the Earth’s biological clock to start counting down and we no longer have the time to debate the aesthetics of sustainable resources. Spiking an interest in clean energy sources can be a challenge, but understanding the crucial nature of the task is a starting point.

HVEVF
Image via Bill Collision.

In 2010, scientists predicted that if Earth became as little as two degrees warmer, it would have catastrophic effects such as an increase in natural disasters. Long lasting storms, bushfires with a wider range and unrivalled droughts are just the tip of the iceberg (or lack thereof).

But what can we do to help?

Community involvement on an individual scale is imperative in the fight against a changing climate. Beginning the conversation is the first step, participating is where the real activism kicks in.

One of the biggest greenhouse gas emitters comes directly from transport. Cars which chew through an abundance of petrol are incredibly detrimental to the environment and it has become apparent that a viable alternative must be developed. Before you can wonder, “What ever happened to the electric car?” I bring good news in the form of the annual Hunter Valley Electric Vehicle Festival (HVEVF).

The HVEVF is delivered each year by a range of supportive Hunter organisations and businesses, led by the Tom Farrell Institute for the Environment at the University of Newcastle.

HVEVF2
Image via Bill Collision. 

The festival is a home-grown educational resource that informs the community in an interactive way through a series of competitions. The festival runs several events over two days, including the Mini EV Prize, EV Prize and EV Show. The Mini EV Prize asks primary age children to design and build a fully solar-powered car, which is put through a competition against other schools. The EV prize is open to high school students who are required to build and race an electric vehicle in a test of speed and dexterity against other schools.

Proving that renewable energy can be sexy, the EV Show showcases a fully solar powered electric DeLorean, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Catavolt and Renault; alongside many other big name vehicle brands.

The HVEVF has managed to pique an interest in science, technology, engineering and maths from both primary and high school students since its inception, as well as develop a deeper interest in renewable energies.

“As a result of the EV Prize, Hunter TAFE has created a course for Certificate II in Electronics. It has also brought many visitors to Newcastle and Lake Macquarie,” Coordinator for the HVEVF, Belinda McNab said.

The unique Newcastle-based event is the largest and most comprehensive Electric Vehicle Festival in Australia. The event has had an amazing outreach into the lives of young people, helping them develop their education with renewable resources in mind.

The exclusive event is run over two days from Saturday, August 13 to Sunday, August 14 this year at the Newcastle Kart Track in Cameron Park. Everyone is welcome to join and learn about the latest developments in clean energy, to admire some cars, and do your part for the environment.

For more information on the HVEVF, visit www.hunterfestival.net, follow their Instagram account @HVEVF_ or check their Facebook page for more details.

The Tom Farrell Institute for the Environment is to implement 100% renewable energy on campus, as well as asking the university to have clear guidelines in their financial policy to prevent investment into fossil fuel projects and companies. They are circulating a simple survey to gather data as a reflection of the student opinion on the matter. Feel free to have your say!

Feature Image: by Bill Collision.