By Dexter Rodrigo Matilla/philstar.com – The Philippines aims to establish further its title as Earth Hour Hero Country as it joins the world event Earth Hour 2013 on March 23.
At 8:30 p.m. on that date, many of the nation’s iconic landmarks are expected to dim their lights in what has been the most visible call for action on climate change. What began in 2007 as a call by the World Wide Fund to the people of Sydney to turn off non-essential lights has now become an annual event with 152 of the world’s 196 countries participating.
Since 2009, the Philippines has been one of the movement’s staunchest supporters and the call to participate once again was made recently by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-Philippines) Philippines.
“The EDSA revolution has shown how the Filipino’s strong sense of spirit and unity can change the course of history,” says WWF-Philippines Vice-chair and CEO Jose Ma. Lorenzo Tan. “Because we stand firm, we are able to set an example and be of positive influence to others. Having secured the top spot for four straight years, we should do all we can to ensure that the country again sends a clear message to the world – that individuals, when working as one, can rise to the challenge of climate change.”
Earth Hour 2013 aims to reach more people and provide further chances for participation by going digital. “At 8:30pm this March 23, you can either initiate your own switch-off at your home or be part of bigger switch-off initiatives led by companies or organizations,” explains Earth Hour Philippines National Director Atty. Gia Ibay. “You can sign up on the Earth Hour Philippines website at wwf.org.ph/earthhour and show the world how you will participate.”
Local communities, organizations, and corporations can download the Earth Hour 2013 Action Kit on the Earth Hour Philippines website if they will hold their own switch off events.
Another way Filipinos can empower one another is through the “I Will If You Will” campaign. Through a social contract between two parties, challenges are made that lead to the common goal of creating a positive outcome for the environment.
WWF-Philippines national ambassador and fitness enthusiast Rovilson Fernandez has pledged to conduct a free CrossFit class if 1000 people pledge to use reusable bags instead of plastics.
His fellow national ambassador, extreme sports extraordinaire Marc Nelson, has also pledged to kite-board from Boracay Island to the main island of Panay while wearing a Panda headgear if 1000 people commit to use reusable water tumblers instead of disposable plastic bottles.
Filipina equestrienne and actress Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski, the newly-appointed Earth Hour Philippines Ambassador, has pledged to contribute 500 seedlings to WWF-Philippines’ agroforestry programme at the Abuan Watershed in Isabela if 500 people agree to quit smoking for 5 days.
Earth Hour corporate partners Philips, Subaru (Motor Image Pilipinas, Inc.), ArthaLand, Smart Communications, LBC Foundation, Big Chill, and Starbucks have also announced their challenges. Participants may visit the website and upload their promises as well as accept the challenges of others. To spread the word and get more Filipinos to follow through, they can also share their dares publicly via their personal social networking accounts on Twitter, Facebook and other sites.
Earth Hour Media Champions include ABS-CBN, GMA, TV5, Discovery Channel, Jack TV, Net 25, GNN, The Knowledge Channel, The Philippine Daily Inquirer Libre, The Philippine Star, Business Mirror, Business World, Aftercall Magazine, Kristn.Com, ClickTheCity.Com, Rappler, When in Manila, FocusMedia, Globaltronics, QCreativs, DZUP, Jam 88.3, and Radyo Veritas.
WWF challenges Filipinos to go beyond the 60-minute Earth Hour switch-off and initiate environmentally-friendly efforts. “It can be as simple as switching to energy-saving lightbulbs, turning off your mobile charger when not in use, or signing up for paperless banking,” suggests Ibay. “It’s about committing to change your lifestyle on your own terms, to change how you live in ways you can manage, in order to sustain the Earth.”
WWF-Philippines also accepts donations to fund its environmental initiatives, such as Earth Hour. Donors not only help sustain WWF programs – they can be part of various events and volunteer activities.
With easier ways for Filipinos to help Mother Earth through WWF, there is simply no excuse to sit back and remain a spectator. “WWF intends to create different opportunities for individuals to make a concrete contribution to the worldwide cause of protecting and saving the planet,” Ibay concludes. “Each act of support matters – which is why we are calling on every Filipino to make that crucial choice to take action. By rallying the entire nation, we can do much more than we have ever done and show the world how our Bayanihan spirit transcends nations.”
Find more like this: Lifestyle