Who would have thought that 60 minutes of darkness would be such a bright idea?

Earth Hour (Gregg Yan)Envisioned as the most visual way to stand against climate change, Earth Hour uses the simple action of switching off lights for 60 minutes to deliver a powerful message about the need for practical climate change solutions. This simple act has captured the hearts and minds of people the world over. Preparations are in full swing for the world’s eighth Earth Hour switch-off, slated for 8:30PM to 9:30PM this coming Saturday night, 29 March.

Earth Hour began in 2007 as a single-city event. Today, it has become the largest recurring environmental mass-action, with 153 of the world’s 196 countries joining the global switch-off. “Earth Hour has always been more than just about turning lights off. It’s about people from all walks of life coming together throughout the year to show what they can do to protect the planet,” says Earth Hour Co-Founder and CEO Andy Ridley.

The Philippines – one of the movement’s staunchest supporters – has since 2009 topped town and city participation levels to earn the title of Earth Hour Hero Country. Organizers from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-Philippines) encourage supporters to celebrate the switch-off at home or in establishments with lights-out events. Official Earth Hour representatives and celebrities shall be deployed at the Eastwood Mall Open Park and SM Mall of Asia’s by the Bay area at 8:00PM on 29 March.

Earth Hour 2014Most of the world’s iconic landmarks are expected to dim their lights in the largest call for action on climate change. In America, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the Empire State Building in New York and the Space Needle in Seattle are just some popular sites which will be switching off their lights for the event. In the United Kingdom, Wembley Stadium, Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace and the London Eye shall dim façade lights. Over 400 monuments in France, including the Eiffel Tower, will go dark.

“At 8:30PM this March 29, you can either initiate your own switch-off at your home or be part of bigger switch-off initiatives led by communities or companies,” says Earth Hour Philippines National Director Atty. Gia Ibay.

Last 14 March, over 40 local government officials, city planners and environmental officers attended the Liga Para sa Klima, a multi-year WWF, Smart Communications and ArthaLand initiative to help local communities deal with climate-spurred storms, floods and droughts. The participants pledged not just to switch off their lights this Earth Hour – but to strive towards energy, water and food security. National government arms such as the Department of Energy, Climate Change Commission and Department of Environment and Natural Resources have pledged to join in. Local governments, corporations and communities are following suit.

Official Earth Hour 2014 Corporate Partners include Megaworld, Philips and ArthaLand. Earth Hour Media Champions include ABS-CBN, ABS-CBN RNG, ANC, The Lifestyle Network, ABS-CBN Sports + Action, Myx, The National Geographic Channel, The Philippine Daily Inquirer, The Manila Bulletin, Business World, Business Mirror, Click-The-City, FocusMedia, Globaltronics, QCreativs, DZUP and Radyo Veritas.

“What makes Earth Hour different is that it empowers people to take charge and use their power to make a difference. The movement inspires a mixture of collective and individual action, so anyone can do their part,” adds Ridley.

Earth Hour Crowdfunding Platform

Last year’s successful ‘I Will If You Will’ campaign displayed how Earth Hour can catalyze concrete action for the planet. 2013 saw thousands of Argentinians petition to pass a senate bill to protect a marine area 28 times the size of New York City. WWF-Uganda began the fight against the 6000 hectares of deforestation that occur in the country each month by creating the first ‘Earth Hour Forest’. In 2012, Russians petitioned to get legislative change protecting the country’s seas from oil pollution. These Earth Hour success stories illustrate how the movement has become a global collaboration to show what can be achieved for the planet.

Earth Hour has now reinvented itself into Earth Hour Blue – a crowd-funding platform for environmental initiatives. A relative newcomer to the crowdfunding scene, Earth Hour Blue has launched projects from the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, China, Nepal, India, Russia, Uganda, South Africa, Australia, Madagascar, Canada and Columbia – all of which are live on the crowdfunding platform powered by Crowdonomic.

The Philippines’ very own crowd-funding project is Bancas for the Philippines, a WWF-led drive designed to help Haiyan-affected coastal communities in Palawan and Leyte regain their lost livelihoods. The project aims to introduce fiberglass boat-making technology to restore food security, increase climate resilience and decrease the country’s current reliance on hardwoods for banca construction. Through the support of donors, the project provides materials, training and boat moulds, which shall be awarded to selected communities so fisherfolk can build new bancas to jumpstart self-sufficiency. As up to 146,000 fisherfolk lost bancas, WWF-Philippines is on the lookout for more private donors.

Earth Hour Blue donations are expected to spike during the signature lights off event, when the strong call to action will be made to billions of people to take their commitment beyond the hour by backing a crowdfunding project or getting involved in a crowdsourcing campaign once the lights are switched back on.

WWF also challenges Pinoys to go beyond the 60-minute Earth Hour switch-off and initiate environmentally-friendly efforts. Pledges can be as simple as switching to energy-saving light-bulbs, cycling to work or committing to take the stairs instead of the elevator for a year. “Earth Hour is all about empowerment,” concludes Ibay. “Remember that even our littlest actions add up. Committing to small lifestyle changes, funding worthy environmental projects, being a hero for others – all of these promote the ‘can-do’ spirit of Earth Hour. So use your power and help make our planet a little better!” (30)

Use Your Power! Visit earthhour.org or follow WWF-Philippines at Facebook.com/WWF.Philippines or Twitter.com/WWF_Philippines.

For more information, please contact:

Atty. Angela Consuelo Ibay
Earth Hour Philippines National Director

Gregg Yan
Earth Hour Philippines Communicator
gyan@wwf.org.ph / +63917 833 4734

CORPORATIONS PLEDGE TO SWITCH-OFF. WWF-Philippines plus corporate allies Philips Electronics and Lighting, Megaworld Corporation, and ArthaLand invite you to Use Your Power for this year’s Earth Hour!  (WWF)

LOCAL GOVERNMENTS ARE IN FULL SUPPORT of the movement. Together with Smart Communications and ArthaLand, WWF held an inter-LGU conference to promote sustainable development and climate adaptation measures for various LGUs. Shown are participants of the WWF workshop held last 14 March 2014. (Ma-Anne Roque / WWF)

BANCAS FOR THE PHILIPPINES is WWF-Philippines’ Earth Hour Blue crowdfunding project, which aims to deploy 600 fiberglass bancas to Palawan and Leyte before 2015. (Gregg Yan / WWF)

EARTH HOUR HERO COUNTRY. The Philippines has been heralded as an ‘Earth Hour Hero Country’ for topping Earth Hour global participation levels from 2009 to 2013. The Philippines contributed over 1500 of the world’s 7000 Earth Hour hubs for 2012. Shown is an Earth Hour celebration in Davao City, the Philippines. (Gregg Yan / WWF)