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Earth Hour

By Christine F. Herrera | Mar. 23, 2013 at 12:00am
For the past five years, the Philippines has supported the worldwide one hour “lights off” campaign for climate change, but the government was “on the dark” on the celebration of 2013 Earth Hour on Saturday.

Presidential Deputy Spokesperson Abigail Valte said the Philippines will join the Earth Hour celebration but she is “yet to see a copy of a memo from President Aquino” about the annual event in which people in their homes and offices switch off the lights for one hour from 8:30 to 9:30 on Saturday night.

“I’m still waiting for a copy of the memo from the office of  Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr.,” Valte said.

Last year, Malacanang ordered all agencies and local government units to hold simultaneous switch-off ceremonies in the cities of Makati, Cebu and Davao. When Manila Standard Today called about this year’s celebration, Malacanang was apparently in the dark “until the 11th hour.”

A total of 140 countries will take part in this annual event, which was intended to raise people’s awareness about the need to take action on climate change. The worldwide event is organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature.

As most of the world turns dark on Saturday, the Got Heart shop, which sells organic products of Aetas and other indigenous people, will turn on its lights using solar power, according to Dakila, an environment and human rights group.

Dakila spokesperson Jam Severo said they decided to use the event to call attention to the need to switch to renewable energy to lessen carbon emissions in a campaign they dubbed as “Go Beyond Earth Hour. Go Solar.”

“Instead of switching off the lights for one hour to help the Earth, the event will highlight the benefits of using renewable energy to lessen the carbon emissions that contribute to heating the planet, thus, helping the earth in the longer run, beyond the celebrated Earth Hour,” Severo said.

She said the Philippines is a country that enjoy a great amount of sunlight, a major source of renewable energy, and solar power is beneficial to the planet and economical for power consumers.

“We decided to go solar because we want to share the light of hope through sustainable social enterprises and green technology,” Severo said.

In Uganda, Earth Hour 2013 was a first step to fight the 6,000 hectares of deforestation that occur in the country every month, according to the WWF-Uganda Team.

In Indonesia, a revolutionary use of Twitter mobilized 30 cities across the country to take ongoing action beyond the hour as part of the “I will if you will” campaign spreading to more than 50 countries.

“People from all walks of life, from all nations around the world, are the lifeblood of the Earth Hour interconnected global community,” said Earth Hour 2013 chief executive officer Andy Ridley.

“They have proven time and time again that if you believe in something strongly enough, you can achieve amazing things. These stories aren’t unique, this is happening all over the world,” he said. With Joyce Pañares
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