“GrEEn Christmas” launched in Makati City

Feature story - November 22, 2009
Greenpeace and the Makati City administration yesterday launched the “grEEn Christmas” initiative as part of the Energy Efficient Makati project1 to get people of Makati to reduce their carbon footprint by following simple guidelines during the busy Christmas season.

Greenpeace installed a zero-carbon emission solar-powered parol that also consumes less energy by using light emitting diodes (LEDs). Also introduced during the launch was “grEEn Santa” who teaches children to be “good” to the environment by being energy efficient. “GrEEn Santa” comes with a photo exhibit showing that he is in danger of losing his home because of melting ice caps in the North Pole due to climate change.

GrEEn Christmas was launched at the Glorietta 3 Park, highlighted by the ceremonial lighting of a solar-powered Parol (Christmas lantern) which will be on display until December 26. A "grEEn Santa Claus" was also introduced to the public, who gives children advice on how to be "good" by adopting energy efficient practices. GrEEn Santa also inspires people to join him in the fight against climate change, bringing with him a small exhibit showing that he may be losing his home due to the melting of the polar ice caps. GrEEn Santa will be visiting Glorietta every weekend until Christmas.

 "Energy efficiency is a cost-effective way to achieve a sustainable energy future and reduce the need for investment in energy infrastructure, we aimed for Christmas because it is the best way to engage the public, especially after the recent calamities when most, if not all, of us were directly affected by the impacts of our own actions,".  said Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay "Informing the public that they can still enjoy while helping the planet will encourage them to do simple acts initially and then gear them up to reduce their carbon emissions more and more in the long run, even after the season."

"Reducing wasteful consumption and being more aware about our individual impact on the environment and climate, this season may be our greatest gift to ourselves this year" said Beng Reyes Ong, energy efficiency campaigner of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

Beng Ong lists the following simple acts that individuals can do to make their Christmas greener:

  • Save Energy by unplugging, switching off lights, appliances, cutting down on excessive Christmas lights and using energy saving lights
  • Reduce waste by using reusable materials as gift wrappers, saying no to plastics such as straws, bags, sachets. Buy gifts that are useful, consume what you need, aim for a zero-waste Christmas and lessen the garbage brought to dumpsites and landfills. One of the biggest sources of waste during the Christmas season is gift wrapping paper, with more than 8,000 tonnes being used each year - the equivalent of approximately 50,000 trees2
  • Walk more - by walking or biking to work, one is able to enjoy the city, enjoy the Christmas air and lessen air pollution. Transportation is responsible for 14.3% of global greenhouse gas emissions3

"Emissions from incinerated and landfill waste - carbon dioxide and methane - contribute to climate change," Ong points out. "Reducing our energy consumption and our generated waste this season may be our greatest gift to ourselves this year."

Notes: 1The EE Makati Project is in cooperation with the City Government of Makati, Greenpeace, Philippine Green Building Council, Makati Commercial Estate Association, Inc., Ayala Foundation, Inc. and Ayala Land, Inc. 2Source: World Resources Institute http://www.earthtrendsdelivered.org/node/233 3Source: The Guardian UK. / http://ezinearticles.com/?Green-Christmas-Gift-Wrapping&id=3109400

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