Notes on the Earth Hour

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    IT WAS a moving tableau of people – young and old, men and women, well-heeled and slippered – and candles, with tiny flickering flames inside brown paper bags, against the backdrop of the darkened over 900-meter façade of SM City Pampanga 8:30 on the dot Saturday night.

    The Earth Hour further enlivened by the young performers of artist Peter de Vera in ethnic garb, in paeans of dance to Mother Earth.

    Even as calls for conservation were being raised by Environment and Natural Resources Director Antonio Principe, the irony of the moment was not lost, nay, it blazed, at Robinsons Starmills with all its lights ablaze.

    The Gokongwei chain did not know of any Earth Hour, most blindingly clear there.

    On the way home, the wife took note of the establishments that observed the Earth Hour.

    Paskuhan Village’s vast parking lot was all aglow with yellow lights, showing all its deserted state. Not a single parked car for all that energy expended. What sheer waste! And to think no less than the President decreed energy conservation in all government establishments. Somebody ought to be fired there. 

    Ah, the building housing CLTV-36, radio station DWRW and the burgis car dealership BMW is enveloped in darkness. Only the red light atop the massive antenna flickered. Of course, that could not be turned off, else some aerial mishap could happen.

    Not one bulb glowed at Mitsubishi Car-World, Ford, Chevrolet, Car-Mix, down to Suzuki and Kia. The Laus Group of Companies did its share for Mother Earth, and did itself proud for this feat.

    McDonald’s at the Dolores junction of MacArthur Highway in the City of San Fernando dimmed its lights alright. Jollibee did not.

    Yeah, all those nightspots along Lazatin Boulevard were aglow in neon and other lights. Their insides, characteristically dark. Not so much for the Earth Hour as for the Happy Hour.

    Environment-consciousness is high in St. Jude Village. Residents were out on the streets chatting with neighbors, their homes in total darkness for the prescribed one-hour off-light. Nice feeling I got there.

    It was the DENR, I think, that calculated some 560 megawatts of electricity that stood to be saved during the Earth Hour, equivalent to cutting down some 330 tons of carbon dioxide emission. Some impact  there in the universal efforts against global warming.

    So let us make the Earth Hour not just annually, but monthly?

    Tell that to the people of Mabalacat, Pampanga  and get a sneer. Why?

    The town that is raring to be a city experiences its own Earth Hour daily. No   make that, on the average, thrice daily. And not for one but for hours at that. With intermittent power outages that oftentimes last for two to three hours.

    Ah, the incompetence of the Pampanga Electric and Light Cooperative II to provide ample, steady power to Mabalacat and to some other towns principally in western Pampanga is going a long way in saving Mother Earth.

    The people of Mabalacat should not carp but even be proud of their power service provider.       

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