By JESSICA PAG-IWAYAN
Illustration by ARIANA MARALIT
Since the Luzon-wide quarantine started, we’ve seen posts on social media saying that the Earth is healing. Due to limited human activity, the suspension of mass transportation and the prohibition of mass gathering, greenhouse gas emissions have been decreasing—clearer skies, a cleaner air.
But, let’s be honest, we can’t live in quarantine for the rest of our lives. And for those who are saying that the Earth is healing because of Covid-19, experts says otherwise. For them, Covid-19 is, in fact, an environmental problem as much as it is a health problem.
And speaking of environmental problems, tonight, March 28, from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., is going to be Earth Hour, the world’s largest grassroots environmental movement. Everyone across the globe is encouraged to turn off their lights for 60 minutes, as a palpable display of commitment to caring for the planet.
Here are five reasons why you should participate in this event tonight:
1. The Philippines is in danger because of climate change
According to Green Peace Index 2019, “the Philippines is the most susceptible country to hazards brought about by climate change.” The study shows that 47 percent of our population is in areas highly exposed to climate hazards such as floods, earthquakes, tsunami, and drought.
2. 7 million Filipinos need access to safe water
Water.org, a global nonprofit organization that aims to bring clean water across the globe, conducted a local study showing that seven million Filipinos lack access to safe water.
“Out of 105 million Filipinos, nearly seven million rely on unimproved, unsafe and unsustainable water sources and more than 24 million lack access to improved sanitation,” the organization says.
3. PH is the third biggest plastic polluter of oceans in the world
A report by Ocean Conservatory charity and McKinsey Center for Business and Environment has ranked the Philippines as the third largest source of discarded plastic that goes to the ocean.
4. Earth Hour movement works
A symbolic event that started in Sydney, Australia way back in 2007, Earth Hour is now observed over 7,000 cities and 180 countries. In the Philippines, as per WWF’s (World Wide Fund for Nature) report, this movement has resulted to the “deployment of portable solar lamps to replace dangerous and dirty kerosene lamps in Palawan and Mindoro, sharing of best practices for communities via the One Planet City Challenge, and dissemination of climate change solutions via environmental education sessions, training modules, heavy media engagements, and talks.”
5. Everyone’s future is at stake
Studies have shown that if we don’t act as one now, it might be too late for us to save our planet. “Storms are now stronger than ever before and extinction rates have continued to rise, while human suffering continues to grow with the loss of environmental integrity,” WWF says. “Scientists predict that we only have 10 years left to reverse the current trend of environmental degradation and we must act now.”
Show your commitment to protecting and saving our planet by participating in tonight’s Earth Hour movement. Ring an alarm that would remind you to turn off your lights from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.. You can also encourage your friends and loved ones to do the same. Together, let’s act now!