'Earth Hour is more fun in the Philippines'
MANILA, Philippines - "Earth Hour is more fun in the Philippines," declared Andy Ridley, co-founder of the biggest environmental gathering in human history.
Ridney celebrated the global 60-minute switch-off on March 31 with Filipinos, whom he regarded as "incredibly friendly."
In solidarity with the world event led by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), hundreds of young people, environmental advocates, and families gathered at the Ayala Triangle Gardens in Makati City.
At 8:30 pm, local time, the urban oasis at the heart of the country's premier financial district turned into a sea of candles.
A mix of glow-in-the-dark performances, haunting songs, and traditional dances kept the crowd ecstatic.
So were the sharing of pledges by the crowd to live a greener lifestyle and support the call for action on climate change beyond the Earth Hour.
Pledges for the planet
WWF-Philippines national ambassador Rovilson Fernandez, who hosted the program, pledged to combine health and wellness with saving the planet.
He encouraged Filipinos to "run more, exercise more, bicycle more, swim more; to go outside and play and enjoy this wonderful weather that we have here in the Philippines."
He also stressed the need to "change the mindset that I alone can't change the world," noting that a person can, given he produces so much waste.
Fernandez suggested a wide array of other individual acts that can be undertaken beyond the Earth Hour such as using CFL and LED light bulbs, commuting as often as possible, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, reusing and recycling.
Echoing the program of Philippine National Police chief Nicanor Bartolome, Police Supt Gerardo Ulanday said his men will pursue their drive to plant 10 million trees within the year.
According to Ulanday, the police force has so far reached 10% of its target.
Meanwhile, Trish Terada, a representative of the UP College of Mass Communications student council, pledged she will "conserve energy by not using my laptop for 1 week if 5,000 young people will not use their laptops for 1 day."
Terda felt it's possible to achieve by launching a campaign using Facebook and Twitter.
"Hero Country" bid
Earth Hour Philippines is on its 4th bid to becoming an official Earth Hour "Hero Country," a title it has earned for 3 years in a row for topping the global event's town and city participation levels.
Lights went out in a record-breaking 1,661 cities and municipalities in the Philippines the previous year.
This year, Earth Hour Philippines launched the lights out not only in the country's capital, but also in Cebu and Davao to boost its bid.
"Though the Visayas and Mindanao have always observed their own unique switch-off ceremonies, WWF has traditionally celebrated Earth Hour from Manila. We thought it is high time for WWF to observe the movement across the archipelago," said Earth Hour national director Gia Ibay.
Organizers are optimistic they will break their own record. The result will be known in a week's time. - Rappler.com