Uniting once again to change climate change, 184 countries including the Philippines participated in the annual Earth Hour celebration held last March 25, 2017.
2017 marks the tenth anniversary of Earth Hour which started as a symbolic event in Sydney in 2007. Today, it is the world’s largest grassroots movement for the environment, ensuring that people who are on the frontlines of climate change, are also empowered to be the planet’s first line of defense.
Locally, Earth Hour 2017 was held at SM by the Bay, Mall of Asia Complex with an interactive Earth Hour Camp that opened at 16:00, the program proper at 19:00, and the switch-off at 20:30-21:30.
First Earth Hour Camp
This year, Earth Hour was committed to engaging and mobilizing the youth to be the climate leaders of tomorrow, urging them to join the movement and shine a light on climate action. Members of the WWF-Philippines National Youth Council led the Earth Hour Camp which had interactive climate adaptation and mitigation booths; mainly comprised of the native tree planting, renewable energy technologies, and disaster risk reduction management booths.
The native tree planting booth had an exhibit of various seeds of endangered local trees, while the renewable energy booths attracted both attendees and passersby with their interactive and informative setup and a plasma ball that won everyone’s attention. Lastly, the disaster risk reduction booth showcased a ball pit where attendees had to search for the contents of a go-bag within a set time limit. After which, they were invited to learn and practice the proper CPR on a life-sized dummy. With the Philippines being the third country in the world most vulnerable to climate change, learning these skills are a must for every Filipino.
WWF-Philippines new Youth Ambassadors
Another first for WWF-Philippines was the launch of WWF-Philippines’ National Youth Ambassadors, TV host and actress Janine Gutierrez and actor Andre Paras. They joined WWF-Philippines roster of ambassadors Marc Nelson, Rovilson Fernandez, Iza Calzado, Luis Manzano, Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski, Piolo Pascual, and the Legaspi family Zoren, Carmina, Mavy, and Cassy.
The program also included the launch of the first WWF-Philippines anthem sung by WWF Ambassador Piolo Pascual. Titled ‘Together We Thrive’, the anthem aims to get the message across that the wellbeing of humans is closely interlinked with the environment.
Attendees took turns in pedalling stationary Bambikes attached to power generators. Turning potential energy into kinetic, ten bikes lit up a globe in the middle of the stage. It sends the message that when willing, human power can shine a light on climate action.
The main takeaway of Earth Hour is to go Beyond the Hour. The one hour switch-off is but a symbolic commitment to live an environmentally-conscious lifestyle across all facets of life. There are a myriad of simple climate actions that anyone can do, making everyone a driver to reduce climate change in their own ways.
This year’s event was made possible with the support of SM Supermalls, SM Cares, SM by the Bay, Philips Electronics and Lighting, Inc., Pure Energy Holdings Corporation, Bambike Ecotours, Summit Natural Drinking Water, Energy Development Corporation, Pivot Edutainment, McDonalds Philippines, Bayani Brew, Business Mirror, Business World, Globaltronics, Inc., Manila Times, WhenInManila.com, and ComCo Southeast Asia.
An array of National Government Agencies also pledged their support for Earth Hour Philippines 2017: Department of Energy, National Historical Commission of the Philippines, Department of the Interior and Local Government, League of Provinces of the Philippines, League of Cities of the Philippines, League of Municipalities of the Philippines, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Commission on Higher Education, Department of Education, Department of Agrarian Reform, Department of Budget and Management, Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Information and Communications Technology, Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Tourism, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Transportation, and of course, the Pasay City Government.
Go Beyond the Hour and learn more about what you can do to shine a light on climate action by visiting the WWF-Philippines website. We encourage everyone to upload their images of their Earth Hour celebration on our official Facebook event page. For the official photos of the SM by the Bay event, please see our Facebook album. The official hashtags for this year’s celebration are #EarthHourPH2017 and #ChangeClimateChange.