Earth Hour 2010 targets 15 million Pinoys

- Katherine Adraneda -

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines and the rest of the world are once again gearing for an hour of darkness in this year’s Earth Hour slated on March 27.

Local organizers of Earth Hour 2010, targeted to become the “largest environmental event” in history, is aiming to garner the participation of 15 million Filipinos in 1,000 cities and towns to switch off their lights for an hour in a bid to step up the worldwide call for action on climate change.

“Now in its third year in the country and envisioned as a celebration of climate change solutions, Earth Hour Philippines aims to inspire more and more Filipinos in more towns and cities to switch off and join in the revelry, which is in an environmentally conscious manner,” said Gregg Yan, communications head of Earth Hour Philippines.

“Many of the nation’s most iconic landmarks are expected to dim their lights when the clock strikes 8:30 p.m. on March 27. Cities from around the world, from Europe to Africa, are expected to join in,” he said.

Earth Hour was crafted to take a stand against climate change, which has been called as the “greatest threat” the planet has ever faced. 

It uses the simple action of turning off lights for an hour “to deliver a powerful message on the need for climate change solutions.”

This simple act has captured the hearts and minds of people all over the world, according to Yan, as it has become a worldwide phenomenon in 2008 and 2009, where the Philippines placed first globally in terms of town and city participation.

Last year, Earth Hour inspired over 10 million Filipinos in 647 cities and municipalities to switch off, saving an estimated 611 MW/h of electricity that is equivalent to shutting down a dozen coal-fired power plants for an hour.

Event organizers said consultations with various sectors have yielded strong commitments for more sustained efforts on climate change.

They said that among the groups that have pledged commitments are the Archdiocese of Manila, University of the Philippines, Technological University of the Philippines, Manila Doctors College, REACT, Philippine Business for Social Progress, Ortigas Foundation, Girl Scouts of the Philippines, Manila Jaycees, Hotel and Restaurant Association of the Philippines, Philippine Science Centrum, World Youth Alliance, Habitat for Humanity and Gawad Kalinga.

They said the business community has also pledged participation in the Earth Hour.

Companies, which have committed support, include the Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Ascott Group, Dusit Thani Manila, Chevron, Abenson, First Gen, Jollibee Foods Corp., Unilever, Globe, Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., PhilBIO, and Piandré.

Yan said 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, while in Cebu, stakeholders gathered at the SM City Cebu to share their collective support for Earth Hour.

Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes, who is expected to lead the Earth Hour Philippines roadshow, is set to visit Iloilo, Baguio, Ilocos Norte, Laguna, Bicol, Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Tuguegarao and Clark in the coming days.

Recently appointed Commission on Climate Change Commissioner Yeb Saño, who is also the national director of Earth Hour Philippines, said that since Earth Hour 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,” Saño said.

“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 added.

Earth Hour Philippines is a yearly effort of WWF-Philippines, Department of Energy, Green Army Network and SWITCH Movement.

2010 partners include Ipanema, Century Tuna, Sustagen, Philips, Motolite, Meralco, SM Malls, Ayala Malls, GMA-7, ABS-CBN, Infinit-1 Communications, ECC International, Dig It All, Friendster, and Discovery Channel.

So far, 807 towns and cities in 82 countries across every continent have signed up for this year’s Earth Hour.

Earth Hour 2009 inspired one billion people in 4,100 cities and 88 countries to switch off.

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