Earth Hour 2016: Going beyond lights out
MANILA, Philippines – Every year, cities around the world go dark, and shine a light on a pressing issue in the process.
Does it sound familiar? It should: Earth Hour, the global grassroots movement for environmental awareness, started in Sydney, Australia in 2007 and the Philippines in 2008.
But this year's Earth Hour promises to be different.
On March 19, from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm, the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City will switch off its lights, but will put the spotlight "on various climate actions that individuals, communities, businesses and countries can take."
"Promoting climate change mitigation and adaptation" will be at the center of the efforts of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the organizer of Earth Hour in the Philippines.
To highlight its point, WWF-Philippines will use bicycles to power its event when the lights go out. When people use the bicycles, the energy generated by their pedalling will be converted to electricity.
WWF-Philippines brought one of its machines to Earth Hour Philippines' pre-launch on Tuesday, March 1.
Even the bikes are made of renewable materials. Bambike, one of Earth Hour's partners, creates bicycles using bamboo and abaca.
"We live in a world where climate change is the new normal," WWF-Philippines board chairman Aurelio Montinola told the pre-launch's audience. (READ: Yolanda and the world's strongest storms)
The effects of climate change are more tangible for Filipinos. The loss of lives and the devastation brought by storms like Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) are harsh reminders that the Philippines suffers greatly from natural disasters that are aggravated by climate change.
But the country is not going down without a fight.
The Philippines is the first country in Asia to celebrate Earth Hour and has produced the highest participation rates from 2009 to 2013, earning it the title of Earth Hour Hero Country.
WWF-Philippines, however, thinks Filipinos can take the fight against climate change outside Earth Hour by pledging to switch to a low-carbon lifestyle.
Some of their suggested lifestyle changes include:
- Setting air conditioners' thermostat to 25 degrees celsius
- Avoiding overcharging gadgets
- Using public transportation
- Bringing reusable canvas bags when shopping
- Avoiding food waste
What will you pledge? Do you have any suggested pledges? Let us know on X! – Rappler.com