EARTH HOUR. Representatives of various youth organizations in Negros Occidental join the observance of Earth Hour 2022 at the Provincial Capitol grounds in Bacolod City on Saturday night (March 26, 2022). Initiated by the Provincial Environment Management Office, the event was highlighted by the lighting of candles formed into the 60+ symbol and the switch-off of lights from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. (Photo courtesy of PIO Negros Occidental)

BACOLOD CITY – The province of Negros Occidental has renewed its commitment to protect the environment during the observance of Earth Hour 2022 at the Provincial Capitol grounds here on Saturday night.

Joined by representatives from 14 youth organizations, the event, themed “Shape Our Future”, was highlighted by the lighting of candles formed into the 60+ symbol, which is the campaign’s main logo, and the switch-off of lights from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

In a video message, Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said the people must recognize their part in causing the problem of climate warming and accept the responsibility to do what needs to be done.

He noted the hour-long lights-off shows the Negrenses are not just aware of the gravity of climate change and its impact on the planet, but also prepared to do their active part to change the course of environmental destruction.

“Let this undertaking be the start of the many measures we are going to take to protect our habitat. Not only for ourselves, but most importantly for our children and the generations next,” he added.

In her message at the program, lawyer Julie Ann Bedrio, head of the Provincial Environment Management Office, said the Earth Hour is not just an event, but a symbolic coming together of earth advocates.

“This is a symbol of unity to combat all forms of destructions against our planet and our steadfast commitment to continue the fight for a greener and healthier Mother Earth,” she added.

She also said the Earth Hour is not just a one-hour event in one day, but an everyday commitment to attain a healthier environment and more sustainable earth.

“As stewards of our planet, we must all take action and make it an everyday decision to save the environment. Together, let us shape the future,” Bedrio said.

Youth representatives Josh Eusebio of Bacolod Youth Coalition for Democracy discussed the climate justice agenda; Nicole Wong of Linghod led the commitment sharing; and Bianca Montilla of Youth for Climate Hope responded to the call to action.

Observed every fourth Saturday of March, the Earth Hour aims to encourage people, governments, and businesses to recognize their ecological footprint and start thinking about how to take responsibility for managing it in a more sustainable way, and also to seek out the facts about climate change and its impact on the earth and people’s lives.

According to earthhour.org, “everyone has a part to play in shaping a new future for people and planet, from taking individual steps towards living sustainably to urging companies and governments to help build a nature-positive and carbon-neutral future.” (PNA)