Philippines is Earth Hour 'Hero Country' for 4th Year

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines remained the undefeated champion in the global Earth Hour celebration on March 31 in terms of the number of participating cities and municipalities.

Having mobilized 1,671 provinces, cities and municipalities -- 10 more than last year -- the country broke its own record, easily clinching the "Hero Country" title for the 4th straight year.

“We are elated to clinch the top spot for the 4th year in a row,” declared Earth Hour national director Gia Ibay in a statement, two days after the biggest environmental celebration in human history took place.

Organizers revealed that Earth Hour 2012 covered 6,525 cities, towns, provinces and municipalities in 150 countries and territories -- itself a record-breaking participation level since the global climate action launched in 2007.

The previous year, more than 5,200 cities and towns in 135 countries and territories participated in the movement, reaching 1.8 billion people across the globe.

EARTH HOUR MAKATI. Ayala Triangle Gardens turns into a sea of candles Saturday night, March 31.

EARTH HOUR MAKATI. Ayala Triangle Gardens turns into a sea of candles Saturday night, March 31.

More than numbers

Ibay stressed that “more than the numbers though, Earth Hour espouses the importance of our actions beyond the hour.”

“This year’s switch-off merely signifies the start of a year-long pledge to minimize our ecological impacts and to do our bit for a more sustainable planet," Ibay added.

This year, Earth Hour Philippines held the lights out not only in the country's capital, but also in Cebu and Davao to boost its bid.

A highlight of the symbolic switch-off  was the sharing of pledges by the participants  to live a greener lifestyle and support the call for action on climate change beyond the Earth Hour

"These sustainable-living pledges can take many forms, from upgrading to energy-efficient appliances to choosing to bike to work every day. Pledges really depend on the individuals who can personally assess what changes they can adopt to reduce their consumption of electricity and water,” Ibay said.

SWITCH-OFF IN THE SOUTH. Davao released sky lanterns to celebrate Earth Hour 2012

SWITCH-OFF IN THE SOUTH.

Davao released sky lanterns to celebrate Earth Hour 2012

More fun in the Philippines

No less than the co-founder of the biggest environmental gathering in human history declared that "Earth Hour is more fun in the Philippines."  

Ridney celebrated the global 60-minute switch-off with Filipinos, whom he regarded as "incredibly friendly."

"We heard extraordinary stories about how it goes off in the Philippines and I thought to come and see it. It's nice to be out of Sydney and see how a different country does it," Ridley told Rappler.

Launched in Australia in 2007 by the international conservation group World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Earth Hour has been held annually across the globe on the last Saturday of March as a symbolic action to raise awareness about the threat of climate change. - Rappler.com