Metro Manila turns off lights for ‘Earth Hour’

By Jocelyn Uy, Julie M. Aurelio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 21:18:00 03/29/2008

MANILA, Philippines — When the clock struck 8 p.m. Saturday, Metro Manila’s skyline slowly drifted into an evening gloom as it joined the world in staging “Earth Hour,” a global movement to beef up awareness of climate change.

Sirens blared while lampposts flickered out along the bayside stretch of Roxas Boulevard and the Edsa highway, highlighting the silhouettes of skyscrapers that lined the main thoroughfares.

Over at a commercial strip on the grounds of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, where the environmental group World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)-Philippines held the countdown to “Earth Hour,” observers feasted their eyes on the dark Manila night sky or the glaring lights offered by the distant Manila South Harbor.

The Department of Energy-led Philippine Task Force on Climate Change and other environmental organizations joined the WWF-Philippines in kicking off the event, marked by the shutting off of the glowing CCP fountains.

Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes, Pasay Mayor Wenceslao Trinidad, Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, and Parañaque Mayor Florencio Bernabe Jr. were also on hand to kick off the event.

“We are here fighting for a noble cause and we can only make it happen if we will work together,” Reyes addressed a crowd that gathered in front of the CCP grounds.

Several rides over at the nearby amusement park temporarily stopped in deference to the global movement, which was first launched in Australia last March 2007.

Sydney managed to move 2.2 million people and 2,100 business establishments, including the iconic Harbor Bridge and Opera House, to shut off all lights for a full hour.

In some restaurants along Roxas Boulevard, casual dinners and coffee sessions became a candle-light affair while strolling couples took advantage of the “lights out” for cuddling.

Several hotels and fast-food chains switched off their signages to mark their participation.

While other households failed to join the global act, a few faithfully switched off their lights as they went about their usual chores.

Adeline, a Makati resident, turned off the lights at exactly 8 p.m. even if her neighbors failed to do so.

“I was waiting for the church bell to peal, but there was none. But I still turned off the lights,” she said.

“Climate change is still a high-faluting concept to Filipino homes, so this movement is to bring the issue to the ordinary people and make them aware that it is not a science fiction anymore,” Yeb Saño, WWF Climate and Energy Programme Head, told the Inquirer in an interview.

Over 1,000 streetlights in the Central Business District and in streets nearby the Makati City Hall were switched off as part of the city government’s contribution to the Earth Hour.

Lampposts along Ayala Avenue, Makati Avenue, and Paseo de Roxas were turned off while nearby establishments like Tower 1, Makati Stock Exchange and Ayala 6750 reduced their lighting by 75 percent.

More at:  http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/metro/view/20080329-127201/Metro-Manila-turns-off-lights-for-Earth-Hour

Copyright 2008 Philippine Daily Inquirer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

***

Starbucks joins Earth Hour 2008

I got really excited when I stood at the counter of Starbucks Vito Cruz last Saturday – my friend and I just finished dinner and I invited in for coffee – when I spotted the small poster standing in front of each machine.

The barrista gave some explanation of what it was about but I told him that I already knew and that we were promoting this event (not officially but personally, of course).

Sadly, during the hour that my friend and I stayed there, only a couple of lights were dimmed and Starbucks just turned off their sign in front – there were too many students studying to properly observe the event. I didnt observe other establishments there – Jollibee, Kenny Rogers, etc. – to have participated in the event.

Still, all is not lost because a lot of participants joined in the observation of Earth Hour Philippiens. See the article below. It’s from a Chinese News agency.

***

Philippines says Earth Hour observation succesful

MANILA, March 29 (Xinhua) — Philippine Environment Secretary Angelo Reyes said on Saturday the country’s first observance of “Earth Hour” environmental protection activity was successful. The Philippine capital region observed a one-hour switch off from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, during which the Cultural Center of the Philippines complex in Pasay City was covered with darkness for one hour.Organizations including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF)-Philippines, the Department of Energy and local government agencies organized a count-down ceremony in Pasay complex which is known as an environmental flagship of the Metro Manila known otherwise for serious pollution of air and water.Officials of the organizations also conducted a signature campaign to show support to environment protection.

Shopping malls, the Manila City Hall, several streets and government buildings of the financial hub of Makati City also observed the Earth Hour, while the Roxas Boulevard along the Manila Bay also turned off lights for one hour.

More at:  http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-03/29/content_7881524.htm

Even Google supported the event. I was most surprised to see their homepage resemble the customized search engine – Blackle.

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