Saturday, March 27, 2010

15M Pinoys expected to join Earth Hour switch-off

15M Pinoys expected to join Earth Hour switch-off
March 27, 2010

At least 15 million Filipinos are expected to be part of some one billion people worldwide who will switch off their lights for one hour for the environment Saturday evening.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said the switch-off at 8:30 p.m. of March 27 will be the highlight of Earth Hour, which has been observed in the last three years.

“The switch-off signifies the start of a very personal and lasting lifestyle change to minimize our ecological impacts and to do our bit for a more sustainable planet. Personal pledges can take many forms, from upgrading to energy-efficient appliances to planting and stewarding a small grove of native trees," WWF said in its website.

As of 7:30 p.m. last Thursday, some 1,041 Philippine cities and towns have confirmed participation.

Also, the WWF said that many of the nation’s most iconic landmarks are expected to dim their lights in the largest call for action on climate change.

Cities from around the world, from Europe to Africa, are expected to join in, it noted.

But this early, WWF reminded the public that Earth Hour does not end when the lights are switched back on.

The main switch-off event in the Philippines is scheduled from 7 p.m. onwards at the SM Mall of Asia. The program will include entertainment numbers from Arnel Pineda, Moymoy Palaboy, Princess, Ballet Philippines and the Philippine All Stars.

10 ways to make a difference
WWF gave the public 10 ways to make a difference during and after Earth Hour 2010:

* Document Earth Hour celebrations
* Host outdoor evening parties
* Encourage children to play outdoors
* Do a “Recyclables Hunt"
* Unplug or use less power, if working the graveyard shift
* Involve local leaders
* Clean up the street
* Unplug and chill out
* Give yourself an energy makeover
* Make a pledge for the planet

WWF said that in 2009, over 10 million Filipinos in 647 towns, cities and towns joined in – more than anywhere else on Earth.

This year, Earth Hour Philippines aims for the participation of over 15 million Filipinos in over 1,000 towns and cities nationwide. Globally,
807 cities, towns and cities in 82 countries across every continent have already signed up.

Official Earth Hour 2010 partners include Ipanema, Motolite, SM Malls, Ayala Malls, Bonifacio Global City, the Century Pacific Group, Sustagen, Philips, Meralco, Arthaland, Shell, First Gen, Energy Development Corporation, McDonald’s, Jollibee, Shangri-La Hotels, ECC International, GMA-7, ABS-CBN, Net-25, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Philippine Star, Infinit-1 Communications, FocusMedia Audiovisuals, Leo Burnett, Radio Veritas, Sonshine Radio, ECC International, Dig It All, Friendster, Discovery Channel and the National Geographic Channel.

Groups that have pledged commitments are the Archdiocese of Manila, Archdiocese of Cebu, Diocese of Kaloocan, Diocese of Parañaque, University of the Philippines, Technological University of the Philippines, Manila Doctors College, Silliman University, Adamson University, Asian College of Science and Technology, Colegio de Santa Catalina de Alexandria, Foundation University, St. Paul University Dumaguete, Ayala Foundation, Ms. Earth Foundation, Ms. Teen Earth and Ms. Kids Earth, REACT, Philippine Business for Social Progress, Ortigas Foundation, Girl Scouts of the Philippines, Manila Jaycees, Hotel and Restaurant Association of the Philippines, Outdoor Advertising Association of the Philippines, Philippine Science Centrum, World Youth Alliance, Habitat for Humanity Philippines, Iglesia ni Cristo and Gawad Kalinga.

Other companies which have pledged support include BPI, HSBC, Coca-Cola, Tetra Pak, Starbucks, Canon, Abenson, Chowking, Unilever, Globe, PLDT, SMART, BME, PhilBIO, Piandré, ATP, Toyota, the Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ascott Group, Dusit Thani Manila, Hilton Cebu, Robinsons Malls, Chevron, SGV & Co and Ricoh Philippines.

Earth Hour was crafted to take a stand against climate change, and became a worldwide phenomenon in 2008 and 2009. The Philippines placed first in this event globally in terms of town and city participation.

Earth Hour kick-off activities were launched in Davao and Cebu. In Davao City, stakeholders from various sectors led by the Green Alliance for Davao, Mindanao Business Council, Save Davao Gulf Foundation and the Davao City National High School pledged collective support.

Since the observance of Earth Hour in 2009, each of the Earth Hour allies has advocated for the adoption of renewable energy technologies and energy-efficient practices.

“Climate change is the biggest threat to the Philippines. We could lose 2000 isles to sea level rise alone – a scenario which could be made worse by dwindling natural resources," said Earth Hour Philippines National Director Yeb Saño.

“Luckily, Filipinos have a unique Bayanihan spirit – a brotherhood of kinship that unites people. Through the message of Earth Hour – that it’s time to think of solutions now – we stand a good chance of adapting to climate change," Saño said.

Photos and videos of Earth Hour celebrations may be sent to kkp@wwf.org.ph for documentation. — LBG, GMANews.TV