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Turn off gadgets during Earth Hour

By: Philip C. Tubeza, March 9th, 2013 07:36 AM

MANILA, Philippines—Don’t just turn off the lights.

An official of the Catholic Church on Friday urged the public to also turn off their laptop computers, cell phones, and other electronic gadgets when the world marks Earth Hour on March 23.

Fr. Conegundo Garganta, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) youth commission, said everyone could also try to “stay quiet at least for an hour” to mark the occasion.

“It is not only the electricity that we need to shut down, but also gadgets like mobile phones, play station, portable iPad, etc. The event is challenging us to change our lifestyle,” Garganta said on the CBCP website.

“(We need to) consider and evaluate how we are responding or behaving as stewards and inhabitants of this planet Earth,” he added.

He urged the youth to turn off their electronic gadgets during Earth Hour to show that they have not become “slaves of gadgets and modern day equipment.”

“Many of our young people are users of modern day gadgets and equipment but they have to learn that they are above these material things. They should not be dictated on by these gadgets and claim that they are masters of these things,” Garganta said.

“Those are not meant to make humans slave but to facilitate work, entertainment and many other positive human activities. So young people should also learn the values of turning these off just for an hour in order to improve themselves as human beings,” he added.

Garganta said the occasion would also be a good time to reflect and offer insights on how people could be “responsible citizens or occupants of Earth.”

The observance of Earth Hour, which began in 2007 in Sydney, Australia, involves shutting down the lights for one hour as a “positive response to the global challenge of climate change.”

“One hour is just a small sacrifice compared to the many gifts and blessings that the planet is providing us. We should also think of ways to contribute more on how we can further save the positive resources that we have as inhabitants of Earth,” Garganta said.

The National Youth Commission (NYC) also urged young Filipinos to join Earth Hour by turning off electricity for an hour on March 23.

NYC commissioner Erwin Andaya said Earth Hour was among the most significant efforts of humans to give back to nature.

“We may truly replace what is lost, but we can do something about those that are at risk environmentally,” said Andaya, chair of the NYC committee on environment and sustainable development.

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