Pacete: Earth Hour: Protect our planet

THE next Earth Hour will be tonight (8:30-9:30 pm), March 19, 2016. Earth Hour is a worldwide grassroots movement uniting people to protect the planet. To honor the Earth Hour, our Silay City Tourism Office together with the Association of Tourism Officers in Negros Occidental (Atono), is engaging a massive mainstream community on a broad range of environmental issues.

We just don’t turn off the light (non-essential) for one hour. It is just a symbol of commitment for the planet. Let us all be conscious of how important it is to preserve the environment. Turn the light off when we are not using the room. Open the windows to the natural breeze instead of turning on the air-conditioning unit. Recycle our household items.

Young and old should make every day Earth Day in our homes, schools, churches, offices, and community. You should spend less time on the computer, mobile phone, and TV sets. Go out and work in your garden or pursue your cycling hobby to keep you fit. Use energy saving light bulbs and save up to 75 percent of energy consumed.

Water is as important as life. Water can be recycled. The water you use for washing your rice or vegetables can be used to water your vegetable and flower gardens. Water used for washing clothes can be used to flush your toilet bowls. Reduce the use of washing liquids. Use other methods to keep the house clean. Use baking soda to get rid of dirt and grease.

Turn leftovers into something valuable. Unwanted rice, vegetables, fruit peel, roots of plants, egg shells, crab shells, sea shells (after getting the meat) and small twigs can be converted into organic fertilizer. Give away old clothes, toys, furniture, and books to the welfare organizations so that they may share them to the needy.

Use basket when buying food at the market. Prepare stainless container when buying to-go food. Styrofoam takeaway containers are as bad as plastic bags. If you use them for hot food, they release toxic chemicals which can poison you. Our organic food program comes in. In Silay, we encourage visitors and Silaynons to eat at Midore (in front of public plaza). Midore sells and cooks organic food from our organic farms.

Car owners should drive less. Take the public transport when traveling. You save money and help minimize pollution. Those who are going to the beach this summer do not throw garbage into the waters. Clean up all rubbish before leaving the beach or the mountain resort. My son joins his classmates in mangrove seedling planting and coastal clean-up.

We also encourage our sugarcane planters not to overuse chemical fertilizers in their sugarcane fields. The land is like a mother who takes care of what lives on earth. If the mother dies, what happens to the children? This may sound funny but this is happening in the world now. Human beings poison Mother Earth. Many nations have become victims of heat waves and serious droughts.

My niece in elementary school is even telling me that the gas emitted by the cattle also worsens the greenhouse effect. Methane is produced when the cows belch or break wind. If you go shopping, avoid purchasing products that contain CFCs (chlorofluorocarbon). When CFCs interact with the ozone layer, they stay there for a while and cause damage to the ozone layer. These are the chemicals used in air conditioners, refrigerators, fire extinguishers, hair sprays, and household cleaning products.

Factories in Negros Island Region are challenged to reduce the exhaust gases emitted by installing special facilities to reduce the pollutants. This is a challenge to sugar mill operators (also to car and cargo truck owners). Green energy is our latest contribution to the Earth Hour Movement in Negros Island.

Our tourism approach to help the Earth Hour Movement is to create more awareness among Negrosanons on the importance of rainforests. We persuade buyers of pieces of furniture not to buy if the materials come from rainforests. We encourage everyone to participate in activities that support the growing and the protection of plants.

Earth Hour is not just for one hour. It is for life and for the survival of mankind. Let us not make fun for the noble intention. Earth Hour begins with you!

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