ON MARCH 25, everyone is encouraged to participate in turning off their lights for just an hour — from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. — in celebration of the annual Earth Hour organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

Planet protection plans: participate, pledge, preserve

The main switch-off event will be at the SM Mall of Asia complex from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

According a WWF-Philippines press release, this year’s campaign urges millennials in particular to be the “climate change leaders and advocates of tomorrow” by, for instance, sharing their participations on their social media accounts to create more awareness and engagements.

“While the theme of Earth Hour remains ‘Shining a Light on Climate Action,’ we took to heart the role of the youth as the key to further propel the country into [being] a climate-resilient [country]. We continue to engage and encourage the public to emphasize that together we thrive,” Joel Palma, WWF Philippines president and CEO, was quoted as saying in the release.

The annual global campaign, which started in 2007, is more than just a symbol. “It aims to bring concrete solutions at a time when the challenges of climate change and environmental issues are all too real, yet showing the power of collective climate action,” said Gia Ibay, Earth Hour Philippines director, in the release.

The Philippines, one of the first member country participants and also one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change, earned the title “Earth Hour Hero Country” as it topped global participation records from 2009 until 2012.

The WWF and the Earth Hour organizations worldwide have been raising both support and funds for access to renewable energy, protection of wildlife and their habitats, and building a sustainable tomorrow. Interested donors can visit the main Earth Hour website, and choose to give donations of $25, $50, or $100. The Earth Hour-Philippines website for donations is currently under construction.

One of WWF-Philippines’ fund-raising projects is the Individual Donor Program (IDP) which targets mall goers. WWF-Philippines ambassador Luis Manzano became a fundraiser for a day at Glorietta 4 on March 16 as he encouraged random shoppers to participate in IDP.

Mall goers can now contribute to WWF’s ecological sustainability initiatives by going to the Glorietta mall booths or logging on to the WWF Philippines web site. They can either make a one-time donation or make monthly donations P500, P700, or P1,000.

The P500 donations will go towards training public school teachers in sustained environment awareness. The P700 donations will support tuna fishermen in the Ilocos Norte, Bicol Region, and Mindoro; while the P1,000 donations will go towards protecting the Tubbataha Reefs which serve as the food provider for people who rely on fish as their primary protein source.

The Glorietta 4 booths will be open until April. The locations of other mall booths nationwide are yet to be finalized.

WWF Philippines is working to combat climate change, alleviate poverty, conserve wildlife, and help transform lives through sustainable livelihood programs. It currently has 13 project sites: Tubbataha Reefs and Cagayancillo in Palawan, Donsol in Sorsogon, Mt. Iglit-Baco Mountain Range in Mindoro, Ipo Watershed in Bulacan, Hamilo Coast in Batangas, Pasquin in Ilocos Norte, Mamburao and Apo Reef in Occidental Mindoro, Tawi-Tawi, Sta. Rosa in  Laguna, Davao Gulf, and Samal Island. — Nickky Faustine P. de Guzman