Monday, March 28, 2011

A night of darkness: Earth Hour 2011 in the Philippines

Earth Hour's switch-off event in SM Mall of Asia was well attended. For the third year in a row, the Philippines is the number one participating country in Earth Hour. Aside from the Philippines, more than a hundred other countries have also switched off their lights as a symbol of their stand against climate change.

I arrived in the globe grounds of the mall at 4:00 PM in the afternoon. After which, all of us in the production team became busy with organizing the program and making sure that everything is going well from the staging to the people attending. There were around 1,600 people in the venue and everyone enjoyed the acoustic performances by local bands as well as listening to the pledges of going beyond the hour from representatives coming from different sectors. The best part of it all is the switch-off itself. When the clock strike 8:30, PM everything just went black. Mall of Asia and the building around it switched off their external lights. I was shouting when Mall of Asia did the switch-off. It was the moment we all worked hard for: the Climate Change and Energy program officers, the social mobilization officers (Chris, Bianca and Maika), we interns (me and Tiffany) and the volunteers.

I'd like to thank everybody who came in the main switch-off event and of course, every single individual in the country who switched off their lights for Earth Hour and committed to go beyond the hour in his or her own personal way. This also marks the the end of my project with WWF-Philippines as a team member for Earth Hour 2011's Social Mobilization Team and as an intern. Thank you for making Earth Hour 2011 a success. The experience was great as I met a lot of new people and made use of my free time during the semester in a very good way - helping organize a global event on a national level.

Here's Earth Hour 2011 Philippines' Round Up video shot by Kuya Chris. You can actually hear my voice in the video.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

On Earth Hour, environmental campaigns and the unbelievers

I have been asked a lot of questions about Earth Hour, why it's significant, how switching off one's lights can change the world and such. Most of the time the campaign is criticized by non-believers questioning its actual effect given the massive press and effort the people behind it do.

Earth Hour is more than just switching off our lights. It's a symbolic act that encourages people to go beyond the hour and do their part in conserving energy and making environmental-consciousness a part of their everyday lifestyles. We are actually encouraging people, groups, businesses to do their share in conserving the planet's energy. For example, big companies can make an effort to lower their yearly energy consumption by 10% or a college student can opt for walking and riding a bike if his destination isn't that far.

The fight for energy conservation is a long fight with many factors involved, but what's important is that people actually do something (whoever they are and whatever field they may be in) to make it happen. That's what Earth Hour is all about: YOU, ME and US. Others might say, what can a hour of switching off your lights do to change the world? I say - a lot of things, if only we will take it as our own personal responsibility to make that change.

The same goes for a lot of environmental campaigns we have today. They receive a lot of criticisms questioning their effectiveness. Most of these critics might actually be people who are not doing anything to save the planet themselves. Some people fear of being educated and corrected regarding matters such as climate change, energy and other pressing environmental concerns leading them to criticize campaigns which are actually good or the least, won't do them any harm.

In these times where consumerism and environmental degradation is high, we need to to find alternative sources of energy, develop new technologies and conserve what we have for a sustainable and livable future.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Switch off your lights for Earth Hour 2011


I’ll seriously be happy if all of you guys, especially all the Filipinos, would participate in Earth Hour 2011. I swear we at WWF-Philippines and Earth Hour Team Philippines are working so hard to make Earth Hour 2011 a success. In 2009 and 2010, the Philippines is the #1 country in terms of participation in Earth Hour. We're going nationwide again this year. Everybody in our team is working so hard at coordinating with provinces, cities, municipalities, corporations, schools, NGOs and a lot more people and organizations.

Don’t forget, March 26th, 8:30-9:30 PM. You can also come to our ceremonial switch-off event at SM Mall of Asia. Gates open at 6:00 PM. Just turn off your lights, and most of all, Earth HOUR 2011 is about going BEYOND THE HOUR. It’s what we do after Earth Hour that counts the most.

I'm very excited and nervous for this at the same time. Everybody is giving their extra best to ensure that we'll have a great Earth Hour this year. More importantly we need to spread the message that we need to take care of our planet. Let's do our part. On March 26th, turn off your lights along with billions of people in the world in a stand against climate change. But as you turn it back on after Earth Hour, think about what else you can do to make a difference.

I have two exams on the week of Earth Hour. I'll be doing extra effort to ace my exams as well as to do the best as I can as one of the few people in the Social Mobilization Team for this year's Earth Hour. I'm very positive. Let's go!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Kuklos Sa Kolektiv Bike Show

Today we went to Kuklos Sa Kolektiv, a bike show in a place called The Collective in Makati City to promote WWF's event, Earth Hour 2011. Here are selected photos of the bikes I like the most.

Among the cool bikes, this next one has to be my favorite.