For Earth Hour this year, Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje is encouraging the public to switch off not only their lights but also other non-essential electrical appliances to “relieve Planet Earth and its inhabitants of the destructive build-up of carbon stress.”

Earth Hour 2011 will be observed on Saturday, March 26, from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. (local time). People, businesses and communities from across the globe are urged to turn off their lights for one hour to send a message on taking action against global warming. For the past two years, the Philippines recorded the most number of participating towns and cities.

More than an opportunity to create another record-breaking feat, however, Paje is calling on Filipinos to participate and reduce their carbon footprint by decreasing their electrical consumption for an hour, thus lessening emissions generated from carbon dioxide and fossil fuel, which greatly contribute to climate change.

Beyond the hour-long “sacrifice” of switching off power, the DENR chief is also urging the Filipinos to mitigate the further effects of climate change by eliminating wasteful or inefficient consumption of electricity, using cleaner alternatives to fossil fuels, and incorporating clean development mechanisms for greener products and services.

“The lifestyle of ecological responsibility and discipline that Earth Hour promotes deserves habitual and universal application, and we strongly urge everyone to adopt and practice such environmental citizenship,” he said.

Paje has issued a memorandum directing all lights in all DENR offices and their vicinities nationwide are switched off in support to Earth Hour. He likewise called on all local government units, educational institutions, commercial establishments, outdoor advertisers, civic groups and households to do the same.
“Let us not wait for time to run out, or for global warming to become irreversible. The greater the darkness we produce on Earth Hour, the brighter our tomorrow will be,” he said.

Earth Hour is considered one of the largest mass participation for the Earth. It was organized by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature in 2007 in Sydney, Australia, where 2.2 million homes and businesses turned their lights off for one hour to make a stand against climate change. The number of participating communities has steadily risen from 35 countries in 2008, to 88 countries in 2009, and 128 in 2010.

The Philippines topped last year’s participation with 15 million Filipinos in 1,076 towns and cities voluntarily plunged into darkness for Earth Hour.