Earth Hour: What are bets’ environment platforms?

Rhodina Villanueva - The Philippine Star
Earth Hour: What are bets� environment platforms?
WWF said the “lights off” activity can be used as a platform for inspiring collective action for the environment by raising awareness on key issues that everyone, especially the country’s leaders, should address effectively.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — Conservation group World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said the observance of Earth Hour tonight will highlight the need for Filipinos to be decisive in the coming May elections.

WWF said the “lights off” activity can be used as a platform for inspiring collective action for the environment by raising awareness on key issues that everyone, especially the country’s leaders, should address effectively.

The group noted, “The Earth Hour activity this year comes at a time when over 67 million Filipino voters are about to choose a new set of leaders who will set the tone and define how the country will respond to the dual challenge of climate change and biodiversity loss in the next six years.”

“It is for the Filipino voters, for the sake of our children, to let our leaders know that nature is important to you so that it will be important to them. Speak out about issues of the environment and ask, ‘what is your plan to secure the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe? How will you protect the ecosystems that give us a chance of bouncing back from climate disasters and to prevent future pandemics?’” Katherine Custodio, WWF-Philippines executive director, said.

Earth Hour, one of the largest global grassroots movements for the environment, will virtually bring together millions of people, businesses and leaders from around the world to speak up for nature.

WWF-Philippines is inviting Filipinos to turn off their lights during the annual celebration of Earth Hour at 8:30 p.m. local time, as a symbol of a broader commitment toward the planet. This global celebration started as a symbolic event in Sydney, Australia in 2007 and has grown into one of the world’s largest environmental movements spanning 7,000 cities and 193 countries and territories.

Custodio added, “As humanity’s unsustainable demands on the natural world are leading to climate breakdown, habitat loss and decline of wildlife, Earth Hour is celebrated every year on the last Saturday of March as an opportunity to invite individuals and institutions to take substantial action for the planet. The core message of this movement lies in going ‘Beyond the Hour’ – what actions people can do after the lights go back on.”

“Through Earth Hour, we want to engage over a billion people worldwide, and engage decision makers whether in business, institutions and governments, to move the agenda of nature up the priority list in the global sphere and in the national agenda. We want people to lend their voices as we’re shaping our future and, hopefully, we’ll be changing the ending for the positive – for both people and the planet,” Angela Ibay, climate and energy program head of WWF-Philippines, said.

This year’s Earth Hour also takes place at a particularly crucial time as it calls for increased ambition and urgent action to halt and reverse nature loss by 2030. It also takes place before the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) COP15, initially scheduled for April 25 to May 8, where leaders from around the world will gather to decide on a new global action plan for nature for the coming decade.

WWF aims to build a groundswell of actions and noise en masse, including on the news, to put pressure on world leaders in the build-up to CBD COP15.

At the same time, Earth Hour 2022 also puts forward a broader call to action for individuals to step toward living sustainably and for companies and governments to help build an equitable, nature-positive and net-zero carbon future.

For a decade since its inception back in 2007, Earth Hour focused on building awareness of climate change. From 2018, the focus of the movement pivoted to include both climate and nature as their interconnectivity became more evident, with human activity causing direct negative impacts on nature and the environment, which then contributes to biodiversity loss and climate change.

Ibay added, “While COVID-19 has prevented people from interacting in person, this has been an opportunity to connect to millions of people in digital spaces and engage with decision-making institutions to secure a new deal for nature with the aim of halting the loss of biodiversity by the end of the decade.”

WWF said the Philippines has earned the distinction of being an “Earth Hour Hero Country” by consistently registering the most number of participating towns and cities since it first joined the event in 2009. 

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