Lights Out! Filipinos Participate In The 11th Worldwide Annual Earth Hour Event
Filipinos have learned that with 60 minutes, they—and generations yet to be born—can enjoy a healthy, living planet for years to come.
WWF-Philippines National Ambassadors Marc Nelson, Rovilson Fernandez, and Iza Calzado, together with Earth Hour Ambassador Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski and National Youth Ambassador Janine Gutierrez, take a selfie with the crowd / Josh Alibcag / WWF-Philippines
Earth Hour #11
Thousands of Pinoys around the country came together last March 24 to support for Earth Hour—an annual event held to raise international awareness of environmental issues, promote green-centric sustainable lifestyles, and urge earnest and immediate action for the protection of the earth.
As a movement that began in Australia 11 years ago, Earth Hour is now a massive initiative that has participants from over 7,000 cities and more than 180 countries. It's now the world’s largest grassroots movement for the environment that has resulted in successful people-powered changes in environmental policies and practices.
While Earth Hour once simply required homeowners, businesses, and commercial spaces to switch off lights and turn off electronic appliances as a symbol of commitment to the planet for 60 minutes, today, it means so much more.
Earth Hour now brings together environmentalists and ordinary members of society alike to share and learn more about concrete initiatives they can do to save the planet. Every year, a different environmental issue gets the spotlight and in 2018, the focus was placed on the increasingly severe effects of climate change on biodiversity with the theme #Connect2Earth.
WWF-Philippines President and CEO Joel Palma, celebrated Filipina mountaineer Carina Dayondon, WWF-Philippines Chairman of the Board Aurelio “Gigi” Montinola, Climate Change Commissioner Atty. Rachel Herrera enjoying the program that led to the symbolic switch-off / Josh Alibcag / WWF-Philippines
The Philippines, a green hotspot
As a Southeast Asian country considered to be one of the planet's 17 richest sanctuaries of biodiversity, the Philippines actively participated in this year's iteration of the event.
As said by World Wide Fund for Nature-Philippines’ CEO and President Joel M. Palma, "The Philippines will continue to play an important role in sending a message to the rest of the world that we can tread the path to sustainable development and help protect our people and planet’s health and wellbeing. Thriving biodiversity serves as our lifeline, as it holds us all together.”
Representatives of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines led the 1,000 Scouts in attendance in pledging to #Connect2Earth, which is this year’s Earth Hour global theme / Josh Alibcag / WWF-Philippines
- Led by the WWF Philippines and their ambassadors Iza Calzado, Marc Nelson, and Rovilson Fernandez, Earth Hour National Ambassador Mikee Cojuanco-Jaworski, and National Youth Ambassador Janine Gutierrez, thousands of participants gathered at the Cultural Center of the Philippines fountain grounds to take part in the event.
- With a goal of promoting low-carbon mobility, the Hataw Padyak federation pulled together 500 members of 21 bike groups who cycled from Malabon to the CCP.
Some 2,000 individuals participated in the main switch-off event organized by WWF-Philippines at the Cultural Center of the Philippines ?/ Josh Alibcag / WWF-Philippines
- The World Organization of Scout Movement was represented by 1,000 Filipino scouts who promoted the movement's Environmental Education program.
- Onsite events also included performances by Sanghabi and folksinger-activist Lolita Carbon who highlighted Philippine heritage and culture.
WWF-Philippines Ambassadors led this year’s main switch-off event that featured immersive activities that urged attendees to #Connect2Earth and performances front lined by Lolita Carbon / Josh Alibcag / WWF-Philippines
- Outside onsite events, government offices, schools, private businesses that included malls, hotels, restaurants and retail outlets, as well as individuals joined in on the global "lights out" movement to show their support for Earth Hour.
- Immersive activities like going on a “whale shark dive” and treading an “iceberg path” allowed participants to experience how whale sharks and polar bears, two of the world's must climate-vulnerable species, battle the effects of climate change on their natural habitats.
Earth Hour’s 60+ logo glowed as lights were switched off at CCP in observance of the world’s largest grassroots movement for the environment / Josh Alibcag / WWF-Philippines
Beyond the 60 minutes
Of course, the hard work continues even after Earth Hour has come and gone. Aside from shining the spotlight on issues plaguing the integrity of the world's biodiversity, another focus this year was on the need for more tangible actions needed to address them.
To supplement the symbol of their support for everything Earth Hour stands for, Filipinos must themselves adjust lifestyles to live more sustainable lives. Leaders are also expected to devote more time into researching on and implementing laws for the protection of Philippine seas, forests, and wildlife.
As summarized by Atty. Angela Consuelo S. Ibay, Earth Hour Pilipinas National Director and Head of WWF-Philippines’ Climate and Energy Program, “Working together with the government, businesses and communities, we strive to build on the gains of Earth Hour to help drive policies, awareness and actions that would support local, national and global initiatives to halt negative climate impact and biodiversity loss.”
This year and for evert year after this, what will you pledge to do to help save the earth?
Cover and content images from Josh Alibcag / WWF-Philippines