Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Gina Lopez on Saturday said that the country’s participation in Earth Hour highlights the need for collective action to address environmental issues like climate change.
“Earth Hour reminds us that anyone, down to the last man, woman, and child in the country can do something to protect the environment – and that everyone has a huge stake in this effort,” said Lopez.
Earth Hour is a symbolic switch-off event that began in Sydney, Australia close to ten years ago. It is considered the world’s largest open-sourced environmental campaign, known for mobilizing hundreds of millions of people in over 7,000 cities and 176 countries.
Lopez stressed that while the government is responsible for enforcing laws meant to protect the environment, the country’s citizens can do their share to ensure that their actions do not negatively impact the planet.
“Sometimes it’s the small things that add up, like properly segregating our garbage or eschewing plastic bags when you go to the grocery. This is as important as, for example, going the extra mile to report companies that violate environmental standards; ang importante, lahat nagtutulungan (what’s important is that we are all helping),” said the DENR chief.
The DENR Secretary also said that under President Rodrigo Duterte, “a man who cares passionately for the environment,” the Cabinet has taken his cue and also undertaken efforts to care for the country’s delicate ecology.
Lopez cited Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Ismael D. Sueno, who directed all local government units (LGUs) to take stronger actions against climate change by undertaking activities beyond the appointed hour of 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday in support of Earth Hour 2017.
In a memorandum circular, the DILG secretary directed all provincial governors, city/municipal mayors, punong barangays, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) secretary, and DILG regional/ provincial directors to advocate and widen public participation in the Earth Hour 2017.
“We all live in only one planet Earth, we are all personally accountable to take better care of it by switching to a low-carbon lifestyle,” said Sueno.
The memorandum circular also enumerated how LGUs can show their support for the Earth Hour initiative, such as switching off or dimming non-essential lights, including street lights, signages and key monuments during the global “lights out” event for one hour; promoting the Earth Hour 2017 to officers, staff, employees, and constituents; and documenting their own Earth Hour events and sending the documentation to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).