60-hour countdown to Earth Hour

But after turning off your lights, what else can you do to make a difference?

MANILA, Philippines – In 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… Let Rappler’s countdown to Earth Hour 2012 begin. 

Sixty hours from now, hundreds of millions of people will switch off their lights for 60 minutes, an observance that is touted as the world’s biggest annual environmental event. 

Last year, more than 5,200 cities and towns in 135 countries and territories participated in the movement that began in Australia in 2007.

The Philippines is an official Earth Hour ‘Hero Country,’ having topped the event’s global town and city participation levels for 3 consecutive years.

In 2011, a total of 1,661 cities and municipalities across the country joined the lights out. 

According to Earth Hour founder and Executive Director Andy Ridley, who is observing Earth Hour in the country, the popular event reached 1.8 billion people across the globe in 2011.

“This year through digital media, we are offering a greater opportunity to connect people with the desire to take much needed action for the environment,” Ridley said.

EARTH HOUR 2012. Go beyond the hour

What’s the hype all about?

Co-founded by the conservation group World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Earth Hour is a symbolic climate change action held annually on the last Saturday of March. It involves switching off lights over a designated hour. 

But according lawyer Gia Ibay, Earth Hour Philippines Director, “More than anything, Earth Hour is a celebration of hope. When our planet plunges into darkness, we can look to the stars and dream of what can be. When the lights switch back on though – our real work begins.” 

The 60-minute event gathers individuals, businesses and governments across the globe, encouraging them to be responsible for their ecological footprint and to provide solutions to pressing environmental issues.

In the Philippines, switch-off ceremonies will be staged in Makati, Cebu and Davao between 8:30 pm – 9:30 pm on Saturday, March 31. 

What else can you do?

Rappler will facilitate online conversations about how you can meaningfully observe Earth Hour 2012 and beyond. Here are 3 ways by which you can participate:

1. Submit a 15-second video clip explaining how you can help save and protect the environment to move.ph@rappler.comEntries will be put together as a montage.

2. Join the Twitter discussion that will be held on March 31, from 4:30 pm to 8:30 pm using the hashtag #BeyondEarthHour. The discussion will end with a call out to switch off lights.

3. Share your best Earth Hour 2012 experience using the hashtag #EarthHourPH – Rappler.com