Earth Hour 2014 rallies Bancas for Yolanda survivors


    Earth Hour Philippines propellers with corporate partners and ambassadors.

    November 8, 2013 saw the remarkably powerful tropical cyclone, Yolanda (Typhoon Haiyan), wreak havoc upon the lands of the Philippines. Tacloban was among the cities badly hit, almost obliterating the province. Survivors solely relied on relief efforts as Yolanda demolished an estimated count of 30,000 bancas (boats) of which was the main livelihood of the province, in turn depriving around 145,000 fisherfolks and their families.

    “Since its inception in 2007, Earth Hour has been recognized as the world’s largest voluntary action for the environment, reaching 7000 towns and cities across 154 countries,” says Earth Hour Philippines Director Atty. Gia Ibay.

    Fueled by the massive support, this year, Earth Hour has reinvented itself into a crowd-funding platform for environmental initiatives, but will still celebrate climate change solutions via its trademark global 60-minute switch-off.


    “The Philippines has been one of the movement’s best supporters, having topped town and city participation levels from 2009 to 2013. In light of Typhoon Yolanda, it is now time for Earth Hour to work for us Filipinos.” Earth Hour Philippines Director Atty. Gia Ibay

    Among the featured crowd-funding projects is “Bancas for the Philippines,” a project of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-Philippines). “Climate change is here, now. There will be many more Yolandas. It is time to think and act beyond relief,” stated WWF-Philippines Vice-chair and CEO Jose Ma. Lorenzo Tan. “By enhancing the traditional banca design and providing fisherfolk with the resources to build new boats, we will minimize our growing dependence on local and foreign aid.”


     “Give a man some fish and you’ll feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you can feed him forever,” concludes Tan. “We invite corporations and individuals to support Bancas for the Philippines via the Earth Hour crowd-funding platform. Through your help, we can help Yolanda-hit prepare for the rougher seas brought about by climate change. Together, let us keep hope afloat.” 

    This project was primarily envisioned to aid the Yolanda-strickened coastal communities in Northern Palawan and the Eastern Visayas. Introducing robust fiberglass boat-making technology, the project aims to increase resilience with the reduced boat building time.

    Through the support of donors, the project will provide materials, training and boat molds to selected communities as a jump off point to achieving self-sufficiency.

    To contribute to the goals of the year-long project, the Earth Hour crowd-funding platform aims to raise USD 24,000 for 60 bancas by mid-April.

    Earth Hour 2014 is slated from 8:30pm to 9:30pm on Saturday night, 29 March.

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