Everybody’s hour

It is not too early to prepare for Earth Hour, which will be held on March 23 from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m.

In these times when the effects of climate change are manifesting themselves in increasingly destructive ways, Earth Hour stands out as a truly bright idea, melding environmental awareness with the simple act of turning off the lights for just an hour. It’s an idea that Filipinos have taken to heart with proud force. For four straight years, the Philippines has led the world with the biggest number of local government units participating in the global gesture. Last year, a record-high 1,671 towns, cities and provinces took part, registering a reduction of 362 megawatts in power usage. For this, Earth Hour sponsor World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has given the Philippines the title of “Hero Country for Earth Hour.”

It goes without saying that the Philippines intends to keep that distinction this year among the 152 participating countries.

First held in 2007, Earth Hour has grown from a citywide activity in Sydney, Australia, to a worldwide event held every March to cut power consumption and highlight the need to raise awareness of climate change and the dangers everyone faces.

The Philippines, which first participated in Earth Hour in 2008, ought to understand these dangers better than others. Even in a country inured to weather disturbances, the recent unseasonable storms have proven to be surprisingly strong. Typhoon “Pablo” in 2012 and Tropical Storm “Sendong” in 2010 killed thousands and wrought wide desolation, striking in that part of the year when typhoons had generally stopped coming, and hitting Mindanao the hardest. Freak weather has also been observed all over the country, with temperatures spiking and dipping in the most unexpected places.

As during times of need—for example, in the aftermath of typhoons—the Filipinos’ inherent willingness to wade in and help others has been awakened by Earth Hour. “The [1986] Edsa revolution has shown how the Filipinos’ strength and unity can change the course of history. Because we stand firm, we are able to set an example and be of positive influence to others,” said WWF Philippines CEO Jose Ma. Lorenzo Tan. The Philippines’ exuberant participation taps into its people’s deep affinity with nature, which finds a public outlet in this movement.

Earth Hour has happily become a public-private partnership, with individual and corporate entities as well as government agencies taking part in the collective action.

Private corporations have early on pledged their cooperation: This year, Philips, LBC Foundation and Starbucks will join past participants Nestlé, SM Supermalls and the Yuchengco Group of Companies, among others. Their numbers will indicate just how strong the Philippine fight will be.

Perhaps the most inspiring development is how Earth Hour has become a national initiative. Last year in Baguio, the city government closed off a section of Session Road for the Earth Hour activities. In Davao, a parade featured fire dancers celebrating the shutdown. “We’re extremely excited for the switch-off ceremonies,” Earth Hour Philippines national director Gia Ibay said last year.

“Though the Visayas and Mindanao have always observed their own unique switch-off ceremonies, WWF has traditionally celebrated Earth Hour from Manila. To commemorate our country’s fifth Earth Hour, we thought it high time for WWF to observe the movement across the archipelago, which has always been what we’ve aimed for.”

Earth Hour executive director Andy Ridley himself attended the 2012 ceremony in Makati City. “For the first time in history, we have the power to connect behind a common purpose and the ability to create a network without national borders, based on the most influential voices and the smallest voices,” Ridley said. “The growth in social media, the world’s news media outlets and the digital revolution have allowed that to happen.”

The endeavor has continued to evolve, with this year’s observance—a new campaign called “I Will, If You Will”—becoming more digital and more interactive.

Earth Hour continues to add new members to its movement, and as always, Filipinos can be counted on to add to the numbers. Mark the date. Remember that Earth Hour is everybody’s hour, and a chance to use people power for the planet.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

More from this Column:

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Short URL: http://opinion.inquirer.net/?p=48005

Tags: climate change , earth hour , editorial , environment , opinion

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • Ukraine FM: We are ready to fight Russia
  • Slain officer’s ‘diagram’ rocks PNP
  • 2 contractors fined P25,000 for delays in Edsa rehab
  • Luisita beneficiaries take over renters
  • 5 years of hard work pay off for top UP grad
  • Sports

  • Sharapova advances to Stuttgart quarterfinals
  • Galedo caps ride of redemption
  • Beermen, Express dispute second semis slot today
  • Lady Agilas upset Lady Bulldogs in four sets
  • NLEX roars to 7th D-League win
  • Lifestyle

  • Wear a rainbow on your wrist
  • Wearing Kate Moss
  • Sail into summer
  • Life lessons from the Ultimate Warrior
  • Young actor profile: Teejay Marquez
  • Entertainment

  • Kristoffer Martin: from thug to gay teen
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Cris Villonco on play adapted from different medium
  • OMB exec’s assurance: We work 24/7
  • Business

  • Gaming stocks gain, PSEi eases on profit-taking
  • Cebu Pacific flew 3.74M passengers as of March
  • Corporate bonds sweeteners
  • Professionals in the family business
  • Foreign funds flowed out in Q1, says BSP
  • Technology

  • Vatican announces hashtag for April 27 canonizations
  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Opinion

  • Editorial Cartoon, April 25, 2014
  • No deal, Janet
  • Like making Al Capone a witness vs his gang
  • MERS-CoV and mothers
  • A graduation story
  • Global Nation

  • Afghan hospital guard kills 3 American doctors
  • Career diplomat is new PH consul general in Los Angeles
  • US4GG: Aquino should ask Obama for TPS approval, drone technology
  • Complex health care system for California’s elderly and poor explained
  • Tiff with HK over Luneta hostage fiasco finally over
  • Marketplace