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Extending the Hour

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Since it began in 2007, Earth Hour has been known as a “lights off” moment when individuals from around the globe switch off their lights in symbolic support for the planet and to raise awareness of the environmental issues affecting it.

More than 15 years have passed, and the planet is already at a tipping point as it endures a climate and environmental crisis. We are on course to breach by 2030 the 1.5C global temperature increase limit set by the Paris Climate Agreement, and nature is also under severe threat, facing alarming and unprecedented rates of loss globally.

Earth Hour may be a simple annual gesture that is relatively easy to do, especially for Filipinos who have topped previous ones in terms of participation, but as it has become obvious by now that humans have not done enough to slow down global warming by being more conscientious in our use of energy and consumption habits, the sad fact is given the dire circumstances our planet and humanity is facing, it should be more than just symbolic by now.

As we turn off our lights and reduce electricity consumption for one hour, from 8:30 to 9:30 tonight, let us also try to make Earth Hour more meaningful by looking at more long term ways of reducing wasteful consumption, particularly when it comes to energy, which is still produced by mostly fossil fueled power plants in this country, and consumer products that also require energy to produce, transport, and distribute, as well as come with packaging that end up as waste.

Simple acts like turning off unused lights and appliances, setting the air conditioner’s thermostat to a higher setting instead of keeping it unnecessarily low, or avoiding unnecessary use of cars by planning trips, if done conscientiously and consistently over the course of the year, by millions, if not billions of households, can make a significant impact.

Earth Hour reminds us that we can still do something. Let’s see if the impact we have on the planet and its environment can last for more than an hour this time around.*

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