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When the clock struck 8:30PM last night, the Philippines was again engulfed in 60 minutes of darkness. A record-breaking 1661 Filipino towns, cities and municipalities joined the rest of the world in taking a stand against climate change. Reinvigorated by its new ‘60+’ logo, Earth Hour 2011 aimed to make its effects felt not for a mere 60 minutes – but for an entire year. Organizers are elated by the immense outpouring of support from the government, private corporations and individuals.

Since 2008, Earth Hour Philippines has celebrated climate change solutions, ranking number one globally in terms of town and city participation for both 2009 and 2010. 1076 cities and municipalities switched off in 2010, while 647 population hubs did so in 2009. About 50 cities and towns switched off during the country’s inaugural Earth Hour observance in 2008.

Ten million Filipinos saved at least 611MWh of electricity during the 2009 switch-off alone – equivalent to a temporary shutdown of a dozen coal-fired power-plants. This year’s switch-off exceeded 2010 figures by 478 towns and cities. “We are elated to clinch the top spot for the third year in a row,” beams Earth Hour National Director Atty. Gia Ibay. “More than the numbers though, Earth Hour espouses the importance of our actions beyond the hour.”

“This year’s switch-off merely signifies the start of a yearlong pledge to minimize our ecological impacts and to do our bit for a more sustainable planet. These sustainable-living pledges can take many forms, from upgrading to energy-efficient appliances to choosing to bike to work every day. Pledges really depend on the individuals – who can personally assess what changes they can adopt to reduce their consumption of electricity and water.”

A record 134 countries and territories took part in Earth Hour 2011. Numerous global organisations joined nearly a billion people across all continents to heed the hour. “It is only through the collective action of business, organisations, individuals, communities and governments that we will be able to affect change on the scale required to address the environmental challenges we face,” says Earth Hour Global Co-Founder and Executive Director Andy Ridley.