Lights out on March 28’s Earth Hour

By Kris Crismundo

March 27, 2020, 6:03 pm

MANILA – Filipinos are encouraged to participate in this year’s Earth Hour from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday by turning off their non-essential lights for at least an hour, a symbolic commitment of taking care of the planet.
Earth Hour, an annual international movement of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), promotes awareness on energy consumption and its impact on the environment. 
More than 180 countries join the WWF in this advocacy.
However, this year’s Earth Hour is different from the past years as the world faces the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic that has pushed some countries to implement a quarantine period and prohibited mass gatherings.
“This year, we are facing Earth Hour in exceptional circumstances with countries around the world experiencing a health crisis with the outbreak of the novel coronavirus,” the Earth Hour organizer stated on its website.
The Earth Hour global organizing team recommended individuals to join the event online for “on-the-night live streams”.
In a phone interview Friday, Energy Utilization Management Bureau Director Patrick Aquino told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) that the country saved 606 megawatts of energy during Earth Hour in 2010, the highest energy savings the Philippines has recorded in its more than a decade of participating in the global event.
However, energy savings during Earth Hour in the past two years declined to 110 MW in 2018 and 195 MW in 2019, Aquino said.
He encouraged local government units to promote the advocacy and urged households and establishments to at least switch off their lights for an hour.
“Our theme for this year is ‘Change the Ending’. The power is in our hands if we want to have a sustainable environment and growth,” Aquino said in Filipino.
He noted that Filipinos could expand their actions in taking care of the environment by “going beyond the Earth Hour” by making energy conservation as part of their lifestyle.
“We want the Filipinos to be efficient and smart in consuming electricity. The lower the consumption, the greater the impact (on) the environment,” Aquino said.
Do it in the dark, but stay at home
There are many activities to try during the Earth Hour despite the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon and some parts of the Visayas and Mindanao.
On Earth Hour this Saturday, have a candlelit dinner at home with your loved ones while enjoying a good playlist on your phone.
While the electricity-consuming lights are out, dance the night away. 
To try something new, hold a silent disco -- household members should grab their earphones, play their favorite songs, then dance in the dark. They could enable their phones’ flashlight for improvised disco lights.
Experience the “zen life” in candlelight. Practice yoga or meditation during Earth Hour.
Catch up with friends by holding a group video chat. You can also do a virtual prayer and together pray for the world amid the Covid-19 crisis. (PNA)