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Philippines

Philippine dioceses, parishes join Earth Hour observance

Church seeks to use event to show love for nature and promote campaign against single-use plastics

Joe Torres, Manila

Joe Torres, Manila

Updated: March 29, 2019 05:19 AM GMT
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Philippine dioceses, parishes join Earth Hour observance

Climate activists and faith communities mark Earth Hour outside a Catholic church in Manila's Malate district using solar power systems to light the celebration in 2018. (Photo courtesy of  350.org Pilipinas)

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Several dioceses and parishes across the Philippines are joining the observance of Earth Hour on March 30 to show support for the campaign against the use of plastic.

Environmental group World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) announced that this year's observance in the Philippines will carry on the theme #Connect2Earth, which was first launched in 2018.

The campaign will bring to focus the issue of single-use plastics, which are used on average for seven minutes, according to WWF, but take more than 100 years to decompose.

In a Greenpeace report in 2017, the Philippines was named as the third-biggest plastic polluter of oceans after China and Indonesia.

Bishop Roberto Mallari of San Jose said it is important for the Church to be part of the observance to reflect and raise awareness on caring for the environment.

The Earth Hour observance starts at 8:30 in the evening.

"It is important to awaken ourselves to care for nature and God's creation," said the prelate, adding that the call is more timely with a water shortage affecting many cities across the country in recent weeks.

"Let our experience bring us to a genuine care for the environment and the recognition of the importance of water," said Bishop Mallari.

Bishop Alberto Uy of Tagbilaran called on Catholics in his diocese to show their "love and support for nature."

The prelate said turning off lights for an hour on March 30 is a symbolic gesture of "support for the care of the earth."

WWF-Philippines, which is spearheading the campaign against single-use plastics, expressed hope that this year's Earth Hour observance can help send a message to act upon plastic pollution.

Introduced in Australia in 2007, Earth Hour is the world’s largest grassroots movement for the environment.

Lawyer Gia Ibay, Earth Hour Philippines national director, noted that last decade of Earth Hour has contributed so much to the global climate agenda and has paved the way for many conservation victories.

"Our efforts will still be centered on raising awareness and inspiring action on conserving nature and biodiversity to counter the worsening impacts of climate change," she said.

In 2018, when #Connect2Earth was launched, more than 17,900 landmarks and monuments in over 180 countries and territories switched off their lights to show their commitment to and support for raising awareness and inspiring action on conserving nature and biodiversity.

Both #Connect2Earth and #EarthHour trended in 33 countries and garnered more than 3.5 billion social media impressions worldwide.

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