WILL you plant more trees, segregate your trash and take shorter showers?
These, some Cebu City Hall Government officials said, are among the things people can do to go beyond Earth Hour, which took place from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. last Saturday.
In the three Visayas regions, the demand for electricity dropped by 34.67 megawatts during Earth Hour, said the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP). (That’s equivalent to nearly 15 percent of the power reserve for the entire Visayas yesterday.)
Councilor Nida Cabrera, chairperson of the Cebu City Council’s committee on environment, said it is time people did more to help address climate change.
“Together, we should change our habits, attitude and lifestyle, conserve scarce resources and eliminate pollutants,” she said.
She suggested segregating trash at home, using less water and power, and planting more trees, especially fruit-bearing and indigenous trees.
Climate change adaptation, she added, also needs to include disaster preparedness and relocating residents from no-build zones and vulnerable areas of the city such as along rivers and other waterways.
“In the 2015 global climate risk index, Cebu is not spared from the effects of climate change. It is important that we go beyond this Earth Hour,” Cabrera added.
Councilor Alvin Dizon said the next challenge is to “make it a daily habit to feel for Mother Earth.”
Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella emphasized the need for the public to take steps in the “worrying issue” of climate change.
These steps would include segregating paper from plastic waste, properly disposing of things that are harmful to human beings and taking shorter showers to save water, he said.
Labella added that children should already be taught composting and proper waste segregation.
“We should learn to understand that the Earth Hour is beyond symbolism. Earth Hour is about understanding the truth that this world will be left to the next generation. We should keep in mind that this planet is not ours, as we are only its stewards,” he added.
Labella, Cabrera and Dizon were among those who attended the Earth Hour activity held in SM City Cebu last Saturday night together with Mayor Michael Rama, SM officials and Councilors Margarita Osmeña and Nestor Archival.
According to the Visayan Electric Company (Veco), which distributes power in Metro Cebu, some 4,630 kilowatts were saved during Earth Hour this year.
That was more than last year’s 3,063 kw, but a far cry from the 13,250 kw saved during Earth Hour in 2010. (See infographic)
The NGCP’s records show that out of the 34.67 mw (or 3,467 kw) saved during Earth Hour last Saturday, about 6.68 mw were from Cebu.
The two Negros provinces saved 11.61 mw, while Bohol saved 1.3 mw during the hour-long activity, said Ma. Rosette Belcina Martinez,
NGCP corporate communication and public affairs officer for Eastern Visayas. (They have no way of getting the number of households who participated, she said.)
More power was saved in the Visayas in the latest Earth Hour compared to last year, when power usage dropped by 19 mw, Martinez said.
However, at that time, the power lines in Leyte and Panay were still being restored after being hit by typhoon Yolanda last Nov. 8, 2013.
“In demand terms, Earth Hour 2015 was better than Earth Hour 2014,” said Veco Chief Operations Officer Sebastian Lacson, in a separate interview.
During Earth Hour, demand for power from Veco dropped by 4.63 mw or 4,630 kilowatts. Its franchise area includes the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Talisay and Naga, and the towns of Consolacion and Liloan.
Risa Coloyan of the Veco corporate communications department said that at 8:30 p.m. (when Earth Hour started), the total demand in the Veco franchise area was 304.43 mw. That was lower by 2.06 mw compared to the other Saturday, March 21.
At 8:45 p.m., the total demand was down to 298.07 mw, lower by 1.19 mw compared to March 21.
At 9:30 p.m., when Earth Hour ended, the total demand was 286.11 mw, lower by 1.86 mw compared to last March 21.
Beyond Earth Hour, people can make a difference every day by switching off unnecessary appliances and converting all incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescent lamps, said Dr. Eddie Llamedo, public information officer of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 7.
“Conserving water is also one, because we need power or electricity to produce and bring water to our individual households,” Llamedo said .
He suggested that Earth Hour organizers reach out to more business establishments next time.
“We can make an Earth Hour each day, going beyond the one hour every last Saturday of March. This is our challenge as we face the negative impacts of climate change,” Llamedo said.