The countdown for Earth Hour 2018 is set for March 24 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines which was the venue of the first Earth Hour in the Philippines 10 years ago. With the global theme #Connect2Earth, the event focuses on biodiversity which is not a strange topic for the Philippines. The country is home to a number of rare and exotic plants and animals, with some even considered endemic to the Philippines.
WWF-Philippines’ President and CEO Joel Palma shares his thoughts on Earth Hour’s theme for 2018, “Collectively, we must now look deeper and see how our water, food and energy consumption is endangering our planet’s biodiversity. It’s time to connect to Earth and rekindle our role as stewards of the environment.”
From a symbolic moment to a social movement
Earth Hour started as a symbolic lights out event in Sydney, Australia in 2007 and has since grown into one of the biggest global open-source movement for the protection of the environment in more than 7,000 cities and 180 countries.
Over the years Filipinos have embraced Earth Hour, inspiring climate action within our government, communities, businesses, and organizations. “Beyond the Hour” initiatives have inspired national advocacies pushing for low-carbon cities, renewable energy development, sustainable food production and consumption, forest and water conservation, and wildlife protection of endangered tamaraws, whale sharks and Irrawaddy dolphins among others.
Earth Hour 2018 aims to raise awareness on the crucial importance of biodiversity as a viable resource link that families, communities, nations, and future generations all depend upon. Understanding this interconnectedness is key in solving Earth’s most pressing challenges.
Supporting Earth Hour’s vision, WWF-Philippines National Ambassadors Iza Calzado, Rovilson Fernandez and Marc Nelson led the campaign’s kick-off at the Discovery Suites in Ortigas on February 27, together with National Youth Ambassador Janine Gutierrez to help build public engagement.
Earth Hour 2018 highlights will include activity booths, exhibits and cultural performances by local artists to amplify #Connect2Earth messages creating a meaningful celebration to honor our planet. Earth Hour do-it-yourself (DIY) activities and partnerships with businesses and organizations are also encouraged to promote and further strengthen the grassroots movement here in the country.
Using this year’s official hashtag #Connect2Earth, WWF-Philippines is encouraging everyone to harness the power of social media and help share their commitment to a “one planet lifestyle” by sharing stories and photos of their sustainable living actions to care for our planet’s biodiversity via Earth Hour Philippines’ Facebook event page – http://bit.ly/EarthHourPH2018 which went live on March 1, 2018.
WWF-Philippines’ Head of Climate and Energy Program and Earth Hour Pilipinas National Director Atty. Gia Ibay reiterates, “Sustained and concerted efforts are needed to help solve the planet’s deteriorating biodiversity that is further threatened by our changing climate. Governments, businesses and communities all win significant gains when we all work together and bring positive change for the planet.”
I had the chance to attend Earth Hour in 2012 and the activities are really fun. The event attracts millions of people every year from around the world to converge around major world landmarks, cities, and communities to hold switch-off events for 60 minutes – starting at 8:30pm, as a sign of commitment to address the plight of our planet and our people.
And although I was not able to attend the event in the following years, I made sure that I participated by switching the lights off at home. And even after the event, it has been making a conscious effort to help protect our planet. One of the issues that is close to my heart when it comes to our environment is biodiversity and I feel that it’s time for the spotlight to be set on this issue. I look forward to attending Earth Hour 2018 at the CCP and participate in the fun activities.