The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has urged Filipinos to observe “Earth Hour” on March 25 in support of the global efforts to protect the planet and fight climate change.

The DENR also enjoined its regional and field offices, bureaus and attached agencies nationwide to switch off lights from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. for this year’s event, which carries the theme “The Biggest Hour for the Earth.”

An initiative of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Earth Hour is a global movement held annually, encouraging individuals, communities and businesses to turn off non-essential electrical lights for one hour on the last Saturday of March, as a symbol of commitment to the planet.

The one-hour “lights off” action significantly lowers energy consumption, thus reducing carbon emission and harmful greenhouse gases (GHG), whose biggest source is electricity.

DENR regional offices have lined up other Earth Hour activities including posting infographics of the event, inviting high schools, universities and colleges to participate, and for netizens to take their photos while observing Earth Hour and to post these in the DENR’s regional Facebook pages with a short description of their experience.

Aside from these, the DENR urged Filipinos to support WWF’s invitation to go an extra mile and “give an hour for Earth” or to spend 60 minutes doing something or anything positive for Earth to raise awareness on the climate crisis.

These include watching documentary or educational films on environmental issues, such as the WWF Entangled Series of three-minute videos on biodiversity loss, deep seabed mining, planet plastic, nature-based solution, and other topics; listening to podcasts or talks of the WWF, British Broadcasting Corporation and TED Talks; and joining Earth Hour events near them.

The DENR also reminded the public to properly manage and take responsibility for their solid waste as it is also a source of GHG. Proper waste disposal and reducing, reusing and recycling will cut down waste and pollution from homes, schools, offices and the manufacturing sector.

The Philippines’ Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) has committed to a projected GHG emission reduction and avoidance of 75 percent for the period 2020 to 2030 for the agriculture, transport, energy, waste, industry and forestry sectors, of which the last three are sectors from the DENR.

The NDC is the country’s action plan to help achieve the goal of the Paris Agreement to limit the rise in global temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

In October 2022, DENR Secretary Antonia Loyzaga led the Philippine delegation to the 27th Conference of Parties (COP27) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt where the Philippines was one of only two Asian countries that signed the High Ambition Coalition (HAC) for Nature and People.

The HAC aims to protect over 30 percent of land and ocean by 2030 through financial assistance from the public and private sectors for the management and implementation of programs on nature.

Under Loyzaga’s leadership, the DENR shall implement climate adaptation and mitigation consistent with the climate agenda of the Marcos administration.

For this year, the National Expenditure Program has allocated a total of P453.11 billion for the implementation of climate change programs and projects. ###