Oras Para sa Kalibutan (Earth Hour)

By hermz gacho

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

– Margaret Mead

“May tiyempo ka pa bala para sa kalibutan? Sa imo kaugalingon? Nga untaton mo ang tanan mo nga ginaubra kag ginapanumdum kag mag-gwa sa imo panimalay kag magbalik sa lupa, sa dagat, sa adlaw, sa bulan kag sa mga bito-on?” [Do you have time for the world? For yourself? To stop everything you are doing and go out of your house to return to the earth, the sea, the sun, the moon, and the stars?]

Earth Hour - Project Iloilo
Earth Hour 2010

Earth Hour is a worldwide grassroots movement uniting people to protect the planet, and is organized by WWF, a.k.a “the organization with the cute panda logo”. Engaging a massive mainstream community on a broad range of environmental issues, Earth Hour was famously started as a lights-off event in Sydney, Australia in 2007. Since then, it has grown to engage more than 7000 cities and towns worldwide, and the one-hour event continues to remain the key driver of the now larger movement. Earth Hour aims to encourage an interconnected global community to share the opportunities and challenges of creating a sustainable world.The first thing anyone can do to get involved is to turn off their lights on Saturday. But there is much, much more to this event. Our full ambition is for people to take action beyond the hour. Whether it’s supporting a crowdfunding or crowdsourcing campaign on www.earthhour.org or getting involved in Earth Hour campaigns in their own country, or even starting the movement in their own community, the vision is always to do more. So, you can make the light switch as the beginning of your journey.

The second-to-last and last weekend of March is around the time of the Spring and Autumn equinoxes in the northern and southern hemispheres respectively, which allows for near coincidental sunset times in both hemispheres, thereby ensuring the greatest visual impact for a global ‘lights out’ event. Earth Hour 2015 will be held on Saturday, 28th of March between 8.30PM and 9.30PM in our local time zone. The event is held worldwide towards the end of March annually, encouraging individuals, communities, households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour as a symbol for their commitment to the planet. Iloilo City participated from 2008 until today, and the event that was initiated by WWF Philippines now included NGOs, the city and provincial government, various biker groups and artists/performers, and even large businesses here in the city.

The biggest Earth Hour so far took place in 2013, where more than 7001 cities and towns in 154 countries and territories across all seven continents, and not to mention hundreds of millions of people, switched their lights off for an hour, and the campaign experienced its biggest growth since 2009. There were around 3395 landmarks that participated.

Earth Hour - Project Iloilo
Earth Hour 2013 with the Iloilo Folding Bikers

Earth Hour is not a voluntary “blackout”. It is a voluntary action made by its participants to show their commitment to an act of change that benefits the planet. For many businesses in city, skyscrapers and for many government buildings, the lights are turned off at the end of the business day the Friday before Earth Hour. So Earth Hour is more of a “fade-out” in some ways than a total blackout. There is no dramatic intent, but rather a gradual dimming of lights starting the day prior from said event. Many major icons and neon signs are switched off for the hour and they are extremely noticeable. You may be able to see dramatic changes in large business districts or at iconic landmarks and buildings around the world and in your city. Earth Hour is a campaign for anyone and everyone who wants to share a commitment to make this planet better.

Earth Hour 2015 is about getting the crowd to use #YourPower to change climate change. You can take action and join the global movement today at http://earthhour.org/join-the-movement.

You can create your own Earth Hour event at: http://www.earthhour.org/create-your-own-earth-hour-event

For more info you can visit: http://www.earthhour.org/

Earth Hour 2015 Official Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxIMib4e8f8

Photos courtesy of the author

Hermz Gacho is an environmental advocate, poet, spoken word artist, and teacher by profession. While taking up graduate studies at the University of the Philippines - Los Baños, he still indulges in his love of historical films and pop culture.