|The candle I lit during Earth Hour 2011 in SM MOA|
A few years back, I didn’t see the merit of turning off the lights for the Earth Hour celebration. I told myself, and those who listen to me =), how could an hour make a difference? And haven’t the Philippines been contributing to energy savings with all the brownouts, and blackouts, frequenting the country?
Well, I must admit, sometimes I could really be that "pilosopo" =). I never took the campaign seriously until issues on Climate Change (Al Gore's Face the Inconvenient Truth) arise. And it was even made real and local with what happened to our country during Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng.
Earth Hour, which started as a city initiative in Sydney, Australia in 2007 by WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature), is an annual activity where people all over the world are asked to turn off their lights for one hour. Earth Hour has grown into a global symbol of hope and movement for change. Earth Hour 2010 created history as the world’s largest ever voluntary action with people, businesses and governments in 128 countries all over the world coming together to celebrate an unambiguous commitment to the planet. In 2010, Earth Hour 2010 was able to convince 1.3 billion people in over 4000 cities to join the 60-minute switch off.
|WWF's mission has been to stop the degradation of the planet's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. In simple terms, they are in the business of saving our one and only planet.|
Earth Hour arrived in the Philippines in 2008 and in 2009 and 2010, our country earned the top global spot in terms of participation. Earth Hour in the Philippines in 2009 made 10 million Filipinos switch off their lights and 15 million in 2010.
And for this year’s Earth Hour, WWF Philippines held the main switch-off event on March 26, from 8:30 to 9:30 pm at the Globe area of SM Mall of Asia (MOA) which served as the kick-off for a planned year long WWF climate change solutions campaign. With climate change issues becoming more critical, WWF Philippines is going beyond 60 minutes and has launched a continuing climate change information and education campaign for Filipinos to live by our planet’s carbon-friendly principles, not for just one hour, but for life time.
|Earth Hour and WWF advocates Rovilson Fernandez and Marc Nelson served as hosts during the event.|
Earth Hour National Director Atty. Gia Ibay, who also leads the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-Philippines) Climate Unit explains, “We wanted to return to the spirit of the first Earth Hour, which was simplicity and significance. This year’s event was simple, quiet and as low-carbon and energy-efficient as possible. This year’s event relies heavily on acoustic and unplugged music and efficient lighting before the switch-off.”
“Though it would be wonderful to again be number one in terms of participation, we must emphasize that Earth Hour is but 60 minutes long. If we want lasting and effective results, then we must inculcate the true spirit of the event into our lives – which is to reduce our consumption of power, water and other critical resources. We want Filipinos to pledge to a year-long commitment to reduce their energy usage,” says Ibay. “Pledges can take the form of biking to work, choosing to fly less, planting native trees, going on a no-meat diet and so on. It all depends on what the individual is willing to do. In the same fashion, corporations and communities can make commitments to be more resource efficient and environmentally responsive. Remember, it starts with nothing more than a conscious decision.”
|Singer Aliya Parcs during an intermission number|
|When darkness spread all over the world|
|The e-jeepney which is regarded as an eco-friendly vehicle|
Volunteers, advocates, government officials, company representatives, celebrities and organizations, and the public converged at the SM Mall of Asia to make another history not only for the Philippines for Mother Earth. School and youth associations, non-government organizations, pledged supports for the Earth Hour and climate change campaign. And when clock hit 8:30, lights were turned off, the song Paraiso became the scene’s melody, and the candles which took the place of lights served as little sparks of hope. We were moved with what we were seeing, with what we were hearing, with what we are experiencing. I, for myself, felt the love and concern gathered for our one and only home, planet Earth.
|Candle lights served as sparks of hope during Earth Hour.|
|Here's to our one and only planet! =)|
Special thanks to WWF Philippine's Reggie Olalia and advocacy blogger Flow Galindez of www.angsawariko.com.