Supporting global calls to protect earth’s biodiversity, thousands trooped to the Cultural Center of the Philippines’s (CCP) front lawn in Pasay City to take part in the official Earth Hour switch-off event led by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines.
WWF-Philippines’s CEO and President Joel M. Palma said, “The Philippines will continue to play an important role in sending a message to the rest of the world that we can tread the path to sustainable development and help protect our people and planet’s health and well-being. Thriving biodiversity serves as our lifeline, as it holds us all together.”
This year’s Earth Hour theme, #Connect2Earth, recognizes the role of maintaining earth’s biodiversity to counter the worsening impacts of climate change. Biodiversity-rich Philippines is one of the 17 “mega-diverse countries,” home to more than half of the world’s species, but WWF also sees the urgent need to step up environmental action to counter the Philippines’ record as a “biodiversity hotspot” and address worsening threats to its forests, oceans, and wildlife.
Earth Hour onsite and online highlights
Around 1,000 Filipino scouts were mobilized during the event as part of a global partnership to engage the World Organization of Scout Movement (WOSM) through its Environmental Education program tapping young scouts as environmental stewards who are eager to earn the new Panda badge.
Up to 500 bikers from 21 bike groups under the HatawPadyak federation also joined the event and cycled more than 15 kilometers from Malabon City to CCP to promote low-carbon mobility through cycling.
Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s official written message was read during the program in support of WWF and people’s efforts to “take strides in finding solutions to climate change, ecological degradation, and other pressing environmental problems.”
Participants were joined by WWF-Philippines National Ambassadors Iza Calzado, Marc Nelson, and Rovilson Fernandez, together with Earth Hour National Ambassador Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski and National Youth Ambassador Janine Gutierrez.
With CCP as co-presenter, cultural performances and immersive activities highlighted this year’s Earth Hour activities onsite. Featuring the indigenous artistry of Sanghabi and folksinger-activist Lolita Carbon, local performances were inspired by nature at the heart of Philippines’s rich culture and heritage.
Drawing attention to how biodiversity loss affects wildlife, immersive activities like “whale shark dive” and “iceberg path” gave a glimpse of what it is like for some of the world’s climate-vulnerable species like whale sharks and polar bears to struggle and survive amidst plastic-filled oceans and thinning sea ice.
#Connect2Earth video pledges were collected to form a call to action video which was played after the 60-minute lights out encouraging people to adopt a “one planet lifestyle” and make sustainable choices to protect the environment. Online solidarity throughout the globe was captured using connect2earth.org, a social listening and sharing platform featuring Earth Hour commitments and conversations around biodiversity and climate solutions.
Representatives from the government, businesses, and organizations also signified their support for Earth Hour. Nationwide, several schools, government facilities, and business establishments like malls and hotels also held their own Earth Hour activities and switch-off events in their communities.
Earth Hour government and institution partners – Climate Change Commission, Boy Scouts of the Philippines, Department of Interior and Local Government, League of Provinces of the Philippines, League of Cities of the Philippines, League of Municipalities of the Philippines, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Energy, Metro Manila Development Authority, National Historical Commission of the Philippines, Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, City of Pasay, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, Department of Agriculture, Department of Budget and Management, Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Health, Department of Information and Communications Technology, Department of Justice, Department of Labor and Employment, Department of National Defense, Department of Public Works and Highways, Laguna Lake Development Authority, and the Philippine Red Cross– all issued circulars urging their constituents to support WWF-Philippines’s Earth Hour celebration.
Corporate partners and sponsors who share Earth Hour’s vision – Sun Life Foundation, Avolution, BDO Unibank, Rockwell Land Corporation, San Miguel Corporation, Stores Specialists Inc., McDonald’s, Quorn, Summit, Locally, and Mr. Softy – pooled together resources for the main switch-off event.
ANC, CNN Philippines, Philippine Daily Inquirer, The Manila Times, BusinessWorld, BusinessMirror, Play 99.5 FM, Radyo Veritas, LS 97.5, WhenInManila.com, together with the Eagle Broadcasting Corporation’s Net25, DZEC 1062, Pinas FM 95.5, and eaglenews.ph, served as the official media partners of the 2018 run of the world’s largest grassroots movement for the environment.
Going Beyond the Hour
#Connect2Earth will serve as Earth Hour and WWF’s battle cry to galvanize public support for more earnest and decisive actions to protect the planet. For more than a decade, the global lights-out event remains an impactful visual call-out since it started in Sydney, Australia. But more than the one-hour switch off, WWF-Philippines urges Filipinos to observe sustainable living and support advocacies pushing for low-carbon cities, renewable energy development, sustainable food production and consumption, forest and water conservation, and wildlife protection, among others.
Atty. Angela Consuelo S. Ibay, Earth Hour Pilipinas National Director and Head of WWF-Philippines’s Climate and Energy Program shares, “Working together with the government, businesses and communities, we strive to build on the gains of Earth Hour to help drive policies, awareness and actions that would support local, national and global initiatives to halt negative climate impact and biodiversity loss.”