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 three 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, which will 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 in 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. Seven 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 seven Philippine cities for promoting energy efficiency, renewable energy, recycling, green transportation, plus innovation,” explains Earth Hour Philippines Director Atty. 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.” WWF will announce the winner of EHCC during the international EHCC awards ceremony in Quito, Ecuador by 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 7000 cities and 172 countries.
Earth Hour will be celebrated across the globe from 8:30 PM to 9:30 PM on Saturday night, 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 10:00 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,” says Ibay. Renewable energy technologies as well as electric vehicles shall 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 of Earth Hour Hero Country. A growing list of allies has pledged to support this year’s efforts, led by government partners such as the Climate Change Commission (CCC), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Department of Education (DEPEd), Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Finance (DOF), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Health (DOH), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of National Defense (DND), National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP), League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP), Local Government of Quezon City, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), National Youth Commission (NYC) and the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP).
Corporate champions 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 and shall 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,” concludes Ibay. “We hope to use EHCC as a platform to showcase urban solutions which other Philippine cities can emulate.”
For more information, please contact:
Atty. Angela Consuelo Ibay
Earth Hour Philippines Director
Mr. Gregg Yan
Earth Hour Philippines Communications Manager