Earth Hour 2017 will stress role of youth in climate issues
The World Wide Fund will celebrate Earth Hour 2017 on Saturday (March 25) with the theme “Shining a light at Climate Action” – which emphasizes the role of youth in making the Philippines climate change-resilient.
The World Wide Fund-National Youth Council has organized an Earth Hour camp that will start at around 4:00 p.m. at the SM Mall of Asia by the bay. This will culminate in the traditional switching off of lights for an hour at exactly 8:30 p.m. – which aims to send a powerful message on the need for solutions to climate change.
“It’s about time that the youth are involved in the whole conservation issue because it is our planet,” Alex Cancio, national chair of WWF-NYC, said on Friday. “This is the planet we are inheriting and we are living through. The youth are aware, and there are a lot of opportunities out there to help the environment. But they just don’t know how to be involved. We have to cascade to them how to have sustainable living.”
The camp is open to all – youth or not – free of charge.
According to Yza Nazal, 20, a University of the Philippines-Los Baños student who is with the WWF-NYC, there will be Bambikes (bikes made of bamboos) that participants can use. There will also be three booths that will teach children about reforestation and tree planting, disaster preparedness and risk management, and renewable sources of energy.
“Climate change is already happening right now,” Cancio said. “There’s an urgency that the youths understand. But they don’t exactly know how to execute these calls to action.”
“What’s going to happen on the 25th will be an honest discussion with the youth and climate change,” she added “We have to debunk myths, do away with alternative facts. We may be in denial but Climate change is now a reality.”
Cancio also cited recent news about various creatures being discovered and tagged as “signs of the end of times.”
“We’ll see how this will fit during the Earth Hour Camp,” she said.
Through the years, the youth has been confined to social media campaigns, according to Nikki Huang, 16, a student of the International School-Manila who’s also also part of NYC.
“But we get to do so much more,” she said. “Our scope is not limited online. We can do real concrete change for the future generations.”
Citing examples, she said, young people can refuse to use or buy things you do not need or avoiding things with large carbon footprints.
World wide Fund Philippines Ambassadors Marc Nelson and Mike Cojaungco-Jaworksi, who will host the celebration, said Earth Hour just shows we could all be heroes by providing solutions to climate change.
EarthHour started as a symbolic event in Sydney, Australia 10 years ago. It has grown to be the world’s largest open-sourced environmental campaign, projects and has mobilized hundreds of millions of people in over 7,000 cities and 176 countries.
Since 2008, the Philippines has topped the switch off in terms of participation records from 2009 to 2012, which earned it the title Earth Hour hero country.
“In its ninth year, it’s going to be the youth who will spearhead the program,” Jose Angelito Palma, president and CEO of WWF-Philippines, said.
“Earth Hour is more than a symbolic event as it aims to bring concrete solution during the time when challenges of climate change and environmental issues are all too real,” he said.
Lawyer Gia Ibay, EarthHour Philippines national director, said several government sectors had already started coordinating to address these issues – namely the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the League of the Cities and Municipalities in the Philippines, and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority.
Last year, 14 historical sites joined the Earth Hour with more expected to join this year.
Social media users can also promote the campaign and express their commitment to the movement by linking their posts to the earthhour.org/climate action.
WWF encourages netizens to use the hashtags #EarthHourPH2017 and #ChangeClimateChange and upload the best photos of the event to Earth Hour 2017’s official Facebook page.
On April 22 and 23, WWF-NYC will hold a sustainable travel fair where people can learn about how to be responsible travelers and consumers at the Central Square Mall, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.
Meanwhile, the NYC will host an online campaign about sustainable food habits, sustainable travel, and conscious consumption. It will also host the screening in various schools nationwide of “Before the Flood,” a film by National Geographic and Leonardo Di Caprio. /atm
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