Earth Hour in the Philippines is now on its 6th year. And today, is the date set for this year's celebration of Earth Hour!
|El Gamma Penumbra at Earth Hour last year|
Earth Hour 2012
Earth Hour began as a single-city initiative in 2007. From 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. on 31 March, 2.2 million people switched off their lights to celebrate Earth Hour in Sydney, Australia. The power saved during the 60-minute switch-off was equivalent to removing 48,613 cars off Sydney roads for an hour. In 2008, Earth Hour became a global movement, and the Philippines was the first Southeast Asian country to pledge full support. From 2009 to 2011, the Philippines, with the most number of cities and municipalities participating in the cause-oriented activity, has been a four-time Earth Hour champion.
And today, for me, will be no different. My first participation in Earth Hour was something personal. I just switched off the lights at our home then. My second was something more active as I actually joined the switch-off ceremony. And my third, last year, was something very close to my heart as I was actually part and led my team that helped organize the Earth Hour celebration across the country - in Makati, Cebu and Davao! It was a spectacular feeling to be part of it as I personally witnessed how Filipinos' community and festive spirit can help continue and grow this largest volunteer movement in the world to help conserve our environment.
|Radio hop for Earth Hour celebration|
Last year, Makati City’s Ayala Triangle Gardens became the central hub for Luzon. Glow-in-the-dark dance troupe Bailes de Luces and the Caracol dancers formed the vanguard of an Earth-themed parade which started at the Makati fire station and ends at Ayala Tower One - where WWF-Philippines National Ambassador Rovilson Fernandez hosted the program with performances from El Gamma Penumbra, Brigada and other groups that highlighted Filipino ingenuity. No less than Earth Hour founder Andy Ridley led the country’s main switch-off event, hosted by WWF with the help of Ayala Land and the Makati City government. Andy Ridley’s speech in Makati was beamed in Cebu and Davao while President Aquino’s message was shown in the three Earth Hour locations.
|foydi with Earth Hour co-founder Andy Ridley|
Cebu City’s Plaza Independencia became the chief switch-off site for the Visayas. A festive street parade led by local Sinulog Dancers started from Fuente Osmeña Circle. The Cebu switch-off further featured a candle lighting ceremony capped off by the release of biodegradable sky lanterns. Cebu’s event was in cooperation with the Aboitiz Group and the Cebu City government. SM Davao became the main switch-off site for Mindanao.
|Earth Hour in Cebu|
WWF-Philippines National Ambassador Marc Nelson hosted the switch-off, which featured a tribal-themed parade around SM Davao. Black-light and fire-dancers weeded the crowd with specialized routines as the city plunged into darkness. The Davao event was in collaboration with SM Supermalls, the Green Alliance and the Davao City government. WWF was excited for this year’s switch-off ceremonies.
|Earth Hour in Davao|
It was so monumental that no less than the prestigious International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) and the Public Relations Society of the Philippines (PRSP) recognized the cause-oriented program. IABC gave the Quill Merit Award while the PRSP bestowed the Anvil Award of Excellence to last year's Earth Hour celebration (I Will If You Will).
Now, like what WWF is spearheading, I'm also doing it online. Yes, we're relying on the power of social media to propagate the cause. So come 8:30 pm, I invite you folks to switch-off your lights.
So why is Earth Hour important? Aside from the fact that we can actually save electricity (last year, the Earth Hour Switch-off resulted to an energy savings of approximately 362 megawatts per hour (MHW) which is equivalent to a temporary shutdown of 6 coal-fired power plants, Earth Hour is a global symbolic activity for us to take care of our only planet. Each year, it reminds us to go beyond the hour.
WWF challenges Filipinos to go beyond the 60-minute Earth Hour switch-off and initiate environmentally-friendly efforts. “It can be as simple as switching to energy-saving lightbulbs, turning off your mobile charger when not in use, or signing up for paperless banking,” suggests Earth Hour National Director Atty. Gia Ibay. “It’s about committing to change your lifestyle on your own terms, to change how you live in ways you can manage, in order to sustain the Earth.”
|Mikee Cojuangco, the newest WWF Environment Steward for Earth Hour|
|The Earth Hour Shirt 2013|
So folk, let's do our share and be part of this global movement. Let's do the switch-off and go beyond the hour!
That has been the TaDi way, Happy Earth Hour today! :)