DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Hundreds of Davaoeños ignored the sudden downpour as they joined the flash mob and danced over puddles of water to celebrate Earth Hour on Saturday evening, March 31.
Students coming from different schools, boy scouts and girl scouts, and parents with their youngsters participated in the Earth Hour Davao Dance Craze and danced to the beat of Rivermaya’s Liwanag Sa Dilim to signify their commitment in saving the planet.
Gregory Paul Yan, Communications and Media Manager of WWF-Philippines, said that it is thrilling to see the people unite, despite the pouring rain, with the purpose of protecting Mother Earth.
“It is amazing considering that we are a small country but our voices are reaching the different parts of the world,” Yan said.
Yan added that after the 60-minute switch-off the people in Mindanao must pursue the arduous task of environmental protection.
“Our real work happens after the celebration of Earth Hour. Our responsibility to help the environment is not just during the 60-minute switching off of our lights,” he said.
In a written statement, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte urged the people of Davao to pledge to undertake greater efforts to save the environment from further destruction.
“Your presence will be your promise that your commitment is not just for today. I enjoin everyone to oppose any initiatives that threatens our environment,” Duterte said.
The city mayor also encouraged her constituents to reuse, reduce and recycle and to keep Davao as an environmentally friendly city.
To add more fun in the celebration of Earth Hour, WWF initiated the “I Will If You Will” campaign to empower people by asking them to share a personal dare with the world. It poses the question “what are you willing to do to save the planet?” and focuses in creating a social contract between two parties.
The WFF added that this campaign connects one person, business or organization to a promise and their friends, families, customers or members to a challenge, which unites them behind a common goal of creating a positive environmental outcome.
Robert Garan, a sales executive who first attended Earth Hour in Manila last year, pledged that he will run 3 kilometers a day for one month if the people in Davao City will quit smoking for one hour.
“That’s all I am asking. Stop smoking for one hour,” Garan said.
Dr. Jean Lindo, a leader of Kalikasan Partylist and No To Coal Coalition, commends the Earth Hour organizers for helping in terms of raising the awareness the public.
“The even has given ideas on how we can contribute in terms of helping save Mother Earth. They suggested practical steps that may become a lifestyle for all of us and if all people do this, it’s going to be a wonderful world,” Lindo said.
However, Lindo said that the real solution lies not just in events most particularly that it has become, allegedly, an event that has sugarcoated a company’s anti-environment projects in the city.
Lindo was referring to the Aboitiz Group of Companies, which is one of the major corporate partners of the Earth Hour Celebration, that is constructing a 300MW Coal-Fired Power Plant in the city.
“There is nothing wrong with trying to do PR but then they should be consistent with their advocacy. Definitely their coal plant will not save Mother Earth. It will have adverse impact on mother earth which they continue to deny,” Lindo said.
The environmental activist asserted that genuine Earth Hour is about genuine social responsibility, which requires being mindful of the rights of Mother Earth and the people.
“Earth Hour should translate into communities, governments, corporations engaging in honest to goodness energy audit, energy efficiency programs and finally a democratized, people-based renewable energy solution, which is the sustainable energy solution,” Lindo concluded.
The ceremonial switch-off in Davao City was led by WWF-Philippines Vice President for Programs Joel Palma, SM City Davao Mall Manager Lynette Lopez, Green Alliance of Davao Convener Baby Montemayor, DENR Regional Technical Director Emmanuel Isip, DOE Chief Science Research Specialist Engineer Nilo Geroche, DOT Regional Director Art Boncato and City Tourism Officer Jason Magnaye. – Rappler.com