Earth Hour began in Sydney in 2007, when 2.2 million homes and businesses switched off their lights for one hour. In 2008 the message grew into a global sustainability movement, with 50 million people switching off their lights. Global landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Rome’s Colosseum, the Sydney Opera House and the Coca Cola billboard in Times Square all stood in darkness.
This year, Earth Hour “has been transformed into the world’s first global election, between Earth and global warming,” the World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour website says.
“For the first time in history, people of all ages, nationalities, race and background have the opportunity to use their light switch as their vote – Switching off your lights is a vote for Earth, or leaving them on is a vote for global warming. WWF (is) urging the world to VOTE EARTH and reach the target of 1 billion votes, which will be presented to world leaders at the Global Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen 2009.”
The Copenhagen meeting will determine official government policies to take action against global warming, which will replace the Kyoto Protocol. “It is the chance for the people of the world to make their voice heard,” the website says.
In Davao City, Earth Hour will be celebrated with a program that will start at 7 p.m. Audio visual presentations on Earth Hour will be shown as well as a documentary titled “Panahon Na.”
Duterte is expected to deliver an inspirational message while representatives from the Department of Energy, Davao Light and Power Company, Davao City Chamber of Commerce, Sangunniang Kabataan, Association of Barangay Captains, Clean Air Youth Alliance, Kinaiyahan Foundation, Inc., Faith Organizations, Green Alliance, Yamog, ECAP / ECOGOV – USAID, National Government Agencies and other sectoral representatives “will express a one or two- sentence commitment, light a candle and place it in designated places in the stage to lighten it up.”
The lights will be turned on by 9:30.
Environmental rights group Panalipdan-Southern Mindanao Region has urged its network members to “switch off their lights and all electrical devices from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 pm on March 28.”
Panalipdan-SMR Spokesperson Francis Morales said the move “would contribute to the global efforts in mitigating the impacts of anthropogenic global warming and climate change, while not forgetting to highlight the accountability and responsibility of transnational corporations and corporate elites, which are the main culprits of anthropogenic global warming and climate change.”
In terms of carbon emission, the Philippine contribution is just 0.3% of the world total emission compared to the emission of monopoly capitalist countries like the United States, which contributes 25% of total global emissions.
But Morales also denounced the Arroyo government’s “erroneous policy of privatization of energy resources and expansion of environmentally destructive power plants such as coal fired plants and hydropower plants like HedCor’s Sibulan hydro project and the planned Tamugan-Suawan hydro project, which allow wanton energy resource exploitation and carbon emissions by the corporate elites at the expense of the people and environment.” (MindaNews)