3 PH cities finalists in Earth Hour City Challenge

This is an announcement.

MANILA, Philippines – Half of all people live in cities, which account for 70% of the world’s carbon emissions. Over the past century, cities have become centers for consumption, pollution, and overpopulation.

Global solutions-provider World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) projects a dramatic rise in urban development in the coming decades.

To encourage the sustainable development of cities, WWF announced 3 Philippine cities which made the cut as finalists of its Earth Hour City Challenge (EHCC): San Carlos City in Negros Occidental, Santa Rosa City in Laguna, and Makati City in the National Capital Region.

One of these cities can become a national Earth Hour capital, and have a chance to be hailed as the global Earth Hour capital. Past global winners include Vancouver in Canada, Cape Town in South Africa, and Seoul, South Korea.

Launched by the WWF global network in 2011, EHCC is a yearlong initiative to promote sustainable practices for cities to transition to a low-carbon future. 7 Philippine cities joined in August 2015 – Cagayan de Oro, Makati, Naga, Parañaque, San Carlos, Santa Rosa. and Quezon City.

A total of 124 cities from around the world joined the 2015 to 2016 challenge.

“We laud all 7 Philippine cities for promoting energy efficiency, renewable energy, recycling, green transportation, plus innovation,” explains Earth Hour Philippines Director Gia Ibay.

“Our theme for 2016 is Bridging the Gap to 2020 and is about inspiring solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improving the way food, water and energy are produced and consumed. We believe that properly developed, cities can lead the way to a sustainable future," Ibay added.

WWF will announce the winner of EHCC at the international EHCC awards ceremony in Quito, Ecuador, in October 2016.

Earth Hour preparations set

Meanwhile, preparations for Earth Hour are in full swing. Earth Hour uses the simple action of switching off lights for 60 minutes to deliver a powerful message about the need for decisive climate change solutions.

In the past decade, the movement has grown from a symbolic switch-off event in Sydney, Australia, to the world’s largest open-sourced environmental campaign mobilizing hundreds of millions of people in over 7,000 cities and 172 countries.

Earth Hour will be celebrated across the globe from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm on Saturday, March 19.

Earth’s most iconic landmarks are expected to join the massive event.

Earth Hour Philippines’ main event shall be held at the Quezon City Memorial Circle from 7:30 pm to 10 pm.

“It shall feature stationary bamboo bicycles connected to energy-harvesting generators. Supporters can ride these to light up a map of the Philippines. In effect, we’re showing how human power can light up the world,” said Ibay.

Renewable energy technologies as well as electric vehicles will also be on display to showcase low-carbon solutions.

The Philippines has been championing Earth Hour since 2008, and has topped participation records from 2009 to 2013 – earning it the title "Earth Hour Hero Country."

A growing list of allies have pledged to support this year’s efforts, led by various government institutions including the Climate Change Commission, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and Department of Education, among others.

Corporate partners include ArthaLand, Banana Peel, Coca-Cola, Healthy Options, H&M Philippines, McDonald’s, Philips, Pru Life UK, and White Gold Club. Technical partners include Anakata, BEMAC, Deanworks, Global Electric Transport, Motolite, Pivot Edutainment, Renewable Energy Association of the Philippines and Solar Solutions.

Earth Hour is a media-driven campaign to be promoted through strong alliances with ABS-CBN, ABS-CBN RNG, ABS-CBN Sports and Action, A & E Network, BusinessMirror, BusinessWorld, Click the City, CNN Philippines, Eagle Broadcasting Corporation, Eagle News, DZUP, FleishmanHillard, FocusMedia, Global News Network, Leo Burnett, Net-25, Nyxis, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Philippine Star, Orange Magazine TV, QCreativs, Radyo Pilipinas, Radyo Agila, Radyo Veritas, Rappler, Tech2Go, TV5 and Yuneoh.

WWF is seeking more government, corporate, and media support.

“We are known as the Earth Hour hero country because more Philippine towns and cities participate in the movement than in any other nation,” said Ibay. “We hope to use EHCC as a platform to showcase urban solutions which other Philippine cities can emulate.” – Rappler.com