By Jason B. Neola
NAGA CITY --- Everyone will be seeing in the dark at nightfall of March 25, this year, when this city joins the world in celebrating Earth Hour, the largest global environmental campaign which is being undertaken every year to mitigate climate change.
Earth Hour highlights a worldwide movement wherein individuals, communities, governments and other advocacy groups will voluntarily turn off non-essential lights from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. as a gesture of humanity’s love for planet Earth.
Hundreds of millions of people in more than 162 countries and 7,000 cities and towns in the world will unite in a single moment of showing their love for Mother Earth by switching off the lights for an hour. The practice was originally performed in 2007 in Sydney, Australia in an effort to fight global warming, the greatest threat facing our planet today.
The worldwide shutting off of lights, which will be done at exactly 8:29:50 PM, will simultaneously be witnessed in different cities and towns across many countries.
Mayor John G. Bongat said that in this city the event will kick off at Plaza Rizal at 6:30 p.m., where the registration by the participants in the advocacy walk will be conducted earlier together with the distribution of glow-in-the-dark sticks. A send-off prayer will also be recited which will be followed by a brief message from the winners of Ms. Earth Beauty Pageant. The activities will fall on the event’s part III.
The celebration’s part 1 will be held at SM City Naga Activity Center where the different environmental programs and activities of the city government and its partners are to be showcased while the part 2 is the Earth Hour Zumba Party which will be on its 4th year now. To be held at the Plaza Quezon, the party will start at 5:00 o’clock in the afternoon.
The advocacy walk will pass the major streets in Central Business District I and II and shall end at SM City Naga, the venue for the formal celebration of Earth Hour.
Highlighting the pre-Earth Hour activity at SM, which is the event’s part 4, will be the inter-school competition of best short film entries.
The public will also view a video presentation on efforts undertaken by LGU-Naga during the celebration of Earth Hour in previous years. Videos on SM Cares Campaign and its Earth Hour advocacies, and the events occurred worldwide during the celebration of Earth Hours will also be shown.
At 8:29.50 PM, the public will witness the ceremonial switching off of lights by guests and SM representatives after the 10 seconds countdown and the subsequent lighting of candles forming the “60+” sign, which indicates the one hour and 1 minute lights-off.
Various performances shall take the center stage during the Earth Hour activity. Playing of environmental songs and the delivery of addresses from the city’s first lady, Farah Bongat, City ENRO Oscar Orozco, City Mayor John Bongat and EMB-5 Regional Director Eva Ocfemia will end the activity’s part 5.
Highlighting the part 6 of the event is the advocacy night bike ride that will pass along the roads where business establishments that partnered with the organizers of various Earth Hour events are located. The ride will start from Panganiban Drive passing Rotunda to Magsaysay Avenue then to Peñafrancia Ave. to Liboton then to Queborac Drive to the urban poor site then to Abella St., to Felix Plazo St. to Mabolo Bridge then to Diversion Rd. will turn left to Puregold in Roxas Avenue (formerly Diversion Rd.) to Bicol Health Access then to SM City Naga.