Millions of people turned the lights off for at least an hour in some of the world’s most famous cities on Saturday, March 25, as they joined the global initiative to raise awareness and take action against climate change.
Now in its 10th year, the Earth Hour called for the world to collectively act together to protect the planet. More than 170 countries and territories joined the biggest Earth Hour event to date, which aimed to focus attention on people-driven solutions to building a bright, sustainable future.
“Each light turned off or profile picture changed represents an individual who has made the switch from being a passive bystander to someone eager to be a part of the solution…” said Sid Das, executive director of Earth Hour Global.
The United Nations led the event in the U.S. as it dimmed the lights at its iconic headquarters in New York.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres said, “Climate change continues to imperil lives and livelihoods around the world. From the darkness, we can create a sustainable and inclusive world for all”
In the Philippines, this year’s observance of Earth Hour is a milestone as it comes after President Rodrigo Duterte’s ratification of the landmark Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The country has been actively participating in Earth Hour since 2008 and has topped global participation records from 2009 to 2012 – earning it the title Earth Hour Hero Country.
“The Philippines is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change, but has a very small climate footprint. However, this should not prevent the country from achieving economic development while adopting lifestyles, systems and measures that can slow down climate change,” Environment Secretary Gina Lopez said.
According to Sen. Loren Legarda, chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change and UN Global Champion for Resilience, the Paris Agreement would allow the country access to the Green Climate Fund, which will allow developed countries that are the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases (GHG) to aid vulnerable, low-emitting nations like the Philippines.
Every year, the world experiences weather-related disasters that cause significant loss of life, and economic and social development setbacks. The planet is exhausted and the world stands witness to the devastating effects of climate change. This dreaded phenomenon has brought signals of unimaginable changes such as increasing trends in change of temperature, sea level rise and extreme climate events. These manifestations have brought floods, droughts, forest fires, and an increase in tropical cyclones—all amounting to billions.
For now, the world is not forced to take drastic measures to let the Earth survive. Natural hazards are normal. But hazards become disasters when people’s lives and livelihoods are swept away. When this happens, poor countries are the ones that suffer most—even though they are the least responsible for such disasters.
As experts warned and as the warming continues, the effects are sure to become more catastrophic. There are no exact ways to stop the impending consequences climate change has brought, but this is an endeavor every human being will have to surpass.
While we can’t undo the damages done, we are still capable of decelerating the rate of the effects of climate change and produce a desirable future for the planet altogether. Everyone is simply responsible. (AJPress)