On March 26 at 8:30 p.m. local time, WWF-Philippines invites Filipinos to turn off their lights during the annual celebration of Earth Hour as a symbol of a broader commitment toward the planet. This global celebration started as a symbolic event in Sydney, Australia in 2007 and has grown into one of the world’s largest grassroots environmental movements spanning over 7,000 cities and 193 countries and territories.
As humanity’s unsustainable demands on the natural world are leading to climate breakdown, habitat loss, and decline of wildlife, Earth Hour is celebrated every year on the last Saturday of March as an opportunity to invite individuals and institutions to take substantial action for the planet. The core message of this movement lies in going Beyond the Hour – what actions people can do after the lights go back on.
“Through Earth Hour, we want to engage over a billion people worldwide and engage decision makers whether in business, institutions, and governments, to move the agenda of nature up the priority list in the global sphere and in the national agenda. We want people to lend their voices as we’re shaping our future, and hopefully, we’ll be changing the ending for the positive – for both people and the planet,” Atty. Angela Ibay, Climate and Energy Program Head of WWF-Philippines said during the media launch of Earth Hour 2022 on Friday.
This year’s Earth Hour takes place at a particularly crucial time as it calls for increased ambition and urgent action to halt and reverse nature loss by 2030. It also takes place before the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) COP15, initially scheduled for April 25-May 8, where leaders from around the world will gather to decide on a new global action plan for nature for the coming decade. WWF aims to build a groundswell of actions and noise en-masse, including on the news, to put pressure on world leaders in the build-up to CBD COP15.
Earth Hour 2022 also puts forward a broader call to action for individuals to step towards living sustainably and for companies and governments to help build an equitable, nature-positive and net-zero carbon future.
WWF-Philippines’ Earth Hour Ambassador Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski shared what this movement means for everyone saying “Earth Hour might be symbolic, but it’s the most powerful reminder that we care, and how many of us all over the world do care.”
“We are still talking about what we can do at home and the big breakthrough for all of us who really care about what happens is the work that’s being done in plastics and everything that WWF has contributed to that. So it’s ultimately about what you and I can do when nobody is watching and how all the effort adds up and becomes a collective movement that can actually make a difference. We are still in a position to change the ending, but we can only do it if we’re together,” she said.
Last year’s worldwide Earth Hour celebration reached millions of engagements with more than 24,000 news articles from 9,197 total media outlets in 144 countries and territories covering the movement. There were also over 4,000 news articles across prominent outlets such as DW, The Guardian, and Xinhua that incorporated WWF’s message, highlighting the link between nature loss and increasing incidences of pandemic outbreaks.
For a decade since its inception back in 2007, Earth Hour focused on building awareness of climate change. From 2018, the focus of the movement pivoted to include both climate and nature as their interconnectivity became more evident with human activity causing direct negative impacts on nature and the environment, which then contributes to biodiversity loss and climate change.
While COVID-19 has prevented people from interacting in person, this has been an opportunity to connect to millions of people in digital spaces and engage with decision-making institutions to secure a new deal for nature with the aim of halting the loss of biodiversity by the end of the decade.
Over 67 million Filipino voters are about to choose a new set of leaders who will set the tone and define how the country will respond to the dual challenge of climate change and biodiversity loss in the next six years. For Earth Hour Philippines 2022, the movement will be a platform for inspiring collective action for our environment by raising awareness on key issues that everyone, especially the country’s leaders, should address effectively.
“It is for the Filipino voters, for the sake of our children, to let our leaders know that nature is important to you so that it will be important to them. Speak out about issues of the environment and ask, ‘what is your plan to secure the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe? How will you protect the ecosystems that give us a chance of bouncing back from climate disasters and to prevent future pandemics?’” Katherine Custodio, WWF-Philippines Executive Director, said in her remarks.
Most of the events and campaigns for Earth Hour Philippines 2022 will be celebrated online. The #ShapeOurFuture social media mini-series that ran from March 1 to 11 features select individuals encouraging the public to probe into the election candidates’ platform for the country’s biodiversity conservation.
Earth Hour Virtual Run, a self-paced virtual run that aims to promote a sustainable and healthy lifestyle, raise environmental awareness, and support conservation efforts of WWF-Philippines, will span from March 26 to April 22. Participants can choose their distance from 10 km to 60 km. The registration started February 2 and will end April 9.
Jefferson Lo, founder of Pinoy Fitness, which partnered with WWF-Philippines for the Earth Hour Virtual Run said he believes that “protecting the planet is everyone’s responsibility, especially for us runners and those who are into fitness knows how important the environment is.”
“We’re really happy that Pinoy Fitness, as a platform, can enable more active participation from our community. Rather than starting from switching off the light, we can now extend this campaign by donating their sweat, steps, and distances. By joining this virtual event, they are giving back something already to the environment, helping WWF to shape the future,” he said.
On the day itself, an hour before the switch-off, there will be a Countdown to Earth Hour roundtable discussion hosted by WWF ambassadors Marc Nelson and Pia Wurtzbach. The speaker line-up includes representatives from the Green Thumb Coalition, farmers and fisherfolks, and on-the-ground environmental workers.
The roundtable will be anchored on the importance of legislation and policies for the future of the Philippine environment. With 2022 being a critical year for both the environment and Filipinos, this aims to empower voters with the proper knowledge to create well-thought-of choices in the upcoming national election and elect leaders that will put sustainability on the pedestal.
Earth Hour 2022 is co-presented by GCash, the leading mobile wallet in the Philippines, and our event partners, Araneta City, Vista Mall, Starmall, and SM Cares, and virtual run partners Ayala Malls, Megaworld Foundation, PAWssion Project, Lemongrass, Sun Life Foundation, Bulacan State University, Adidas, Rustan’s, Rudy Project, Natura Yoga, and Urban Ashram Yoga.
Thank you also to our supporters from the government sector: the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources, the Department of Energy, the National Parks Development Committee, the League of Cities of the Philippines, Philippine Economic Zone Authority, Metro Manila Development Authority, and the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.
Follow WWF-Philippines on social media for updates and events related to Earth Hour Philippines 2022. Lend your support to the environment with the official Earth Hour hashtags #EarthHour2022, #EarthHourPhilippines2022 and #ShapeOurFuture.