How can Pinoys help fight climate change

By Anna Valmero,

PASIG CITY, METRO MANILA— Reducing electricity use at home by just 10 percent is already a big deal when it comes to mitigating the effects of climate change.

This is just among the many ways Filipinos can do other than joining the symbolic 60-minute light off on Earth Hour on March 26  according to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

“The Earth Hour is meant to symbolize and increase awareness about the importance of personal action to help mitigate the effects of climate change. For this year’s celebration, we urge 95 million Filipinos to take this personal commitment for the Earth,” said WWF Philippines chief executive Lory Tan.

The carbon footprint of the Philippines is equal to 0.8 metric tons per capita or 0.3 of one percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to WWF.

While the Philippines is one of the countries with low carbon emissions in Asia, Tan stressed that every little act to decreasing energy consumption is very important.

He stressed that the country is at risk to 20 typhoons and over 20 earthquake events in a year, with effects set to escalate as climate change continues.

“Climate change is a global problem that needs mitigation, everyone has a role to play, it’s not just the government or NGO sector’s job, it’s imperative on all of us to do our part,” said Tan.

Aside from reducing energy at home and office use by ten percent, individuals can take on a pledge to walk or carpool, pay dues when riding a plane, buy local instead of imported goods, and eat less meat to reduce methane, a greenhouse gas that is ten to 20 times more efficient than carbon dioxide in terms of trapping heat in the atmosphere.

(Check the WWF-Philippines website for more steps on how to reduce your carbon footprint.)

Tan also recommended the forging of public-private partnerships for investments in green renewable energy sources to reduce the country’s reliance on fossil fuels for energy.

At least half of the country’s carbon emissions are from the energy sector including transportation, manufacturing and buildings powered by electricity, and the other half includes agriculture and construction industries, said lawyer Gia Ibay, national director for Earth Hour 2011.

“If we can do the lights off for an hour, imagine what we can do to reduce our footprint if we make it a habit to walk and conserve water, for example,” she said.

WWF urges home owners associations and barangays to hold their own Earth Hour activity. People are also encouraged to send photos and videos to for documentation.

This year's Earth Hour main event is set to happen at the SM Mall of Asia on March 26 from 830pm to 930p.m. The Philippines is among 128 countries joining this event, which started in 2007.

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