We took our newest creation (an inflatable Stand Up Paddleboard, or SUP) out to play last June for the 2015 Paddle For The Planet.
This is a worldwide event that gathered paddlers, water sports enthusiasts and water lovers of all ages (plus a couple of dogs!) to join a global initiative to “raise awareness and financial support for marine conservation specifically in the area of reserves and “no take zones.”
Paddle For the Planet happened at the Cebu Yacht Club (Cebu, Philippines) where over 200 people turned up at 7am (and more continued to arrive during the rest of the day) to paddle 60+ kayaks, stand up paddle boards and the occasional baruto (a local wooden paddle boat with outrigger).
After registration and the 8am safety briefing, we hit the main agenda: paddle to the Marcelo Fernan Bridge while collecting trash from the water along the way. Seeing that there were more people than kayaks and SUPs, we had two batches of paddlers who went out in the morning.
Sadly, it was not a pretty sight, with various types of household and commercial waste being fished out of the waters using our paddles. We left the larger pieces of debris and the floating dead rats behind, but filled up quite a few bin bags with detritus.
While we managed to cheer ourselves up with free ice creams, paddle races, relay games, good music and even a sunset cruise (thank you generous organizers and sponsors!), participating in Paddle For The Planet brought home a point that we already knew: The oceans and waterways need our help, and we need to do something, every day, in our own little way.
Below are a few every day tips to keep your conservationist high going. Every little bit helps, and every bit of help goes a long way in keeping our playgrounds clean.
- Consider the packaging when you make your purchases. Is it recyclable or biodegradable? A lot of the bits we picked up were food wrappers, plastic bags, and shampoo sachets.
- Volunteer with your local NGO. Marine conservation, education, clean-up drives…there are many NGOs trying to address the issue year round. Find one you are comfortable with and get involved.
- Get out there and play! The more time you spend outdoors, the more you will want to be involved in its conservation. Try it!