Call for SOS: Save our seas

In Photo: Participants in the Human Nature Save our Seas Coastival in La Union gather inside one of the letters of the sand art that spells “SOS.”

Story & photos by Nonie Reyes | Special to the BusinessMirror

BEING one with nature is definitely perfect for one’s rejuvenation, especially if the chosen site is one of the country’s famous coastal area.

Children from Barangay Urbiztondo in La Union look at the calm sea.
Children from Barangay Urbiztondo in La Union look at the calm sea.

With five-hour drive from Manila, La Union, the “surfing capital of the north,” is a perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city—and to promote the protection of the seas. It is the venue where Save Our Seas (SOS) Coastival was held.

The first Human Nature SOS Coastival, surfers, swimmers, environmentalists, fishers and artists gathered in highlighting and asking for help from every Filipino to do our best in preserving and conserving nature. 

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Wawie Meloto Gonzalez, corporate communication head of Human Nature said, “The Philippines is popular around the world as a [tourist] destination, that is giving us pride. But it’s not only pride that we should have. Every Filipino should do their share in taking care of our country by not polluting it.”

A volunteer teaches the children the importance of the sea creature in the ocean.
A volunteer teaches the children the importance of the sea creature in the ocean.

Gonzales added: “A simple thing, like picking up garbage you see on the [beach] and putting it in a trash, can help a lot. Imagine if every one will do it, it will make a big difference in keeping our beaches free from trash.” 

The Philippines is home to 22,484 square kilometers, or 32 percent of total area of the corals, or 9 percent of the world’s coral.

More than 60 percent of the country’s coral reefs are at risk of being impacted by various sources of pollutants, including those present in synthetic sunscreens. Human Nature, a proenvironment cosmetic-care company, has made a coral reef-friendly sunscreen as part of helping the environment. 

A child reads a book in a makeshift library on the beachfront. The books are donated by tourists who come to visit the place.
A child reads a book in a makeshift library on the beachfront. The books are donated by tourists who come to visit the place.

The country is among those in the center of marine biodiversity with its mountains, pristine beaches and most number of marine life. 

In celebration of the Oceans Month this May, a giant sand art bearing SOS “Save Our Seas” was made. The sand art signifies a united call for help and a pledge to save the seas and rescue the reefs. 

In the end, every one in Urbiztondo, La Union, was made aware that each one should take care of the nature since the place is also helping them make a living. 

WWF joins ‘sea-tizens’ in SOS

The country’s oceans are closely connected and the health of Philippine seas affect ‘sea-tizens’ all over the world. To promote the protection of our seas, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) joined the recent Human Nature’s SOS Coastival in La Union.

Participants in the Human Nature Save Our Seas Coastival in La Union perform yoga as part of being one with nature.
Participants in the Human Nature Save Our Seas Coastival in La Union perform yoga as part of being one with nature.

The daylong event highlighted the need to be mindful of the products we buy, the advocacies we champion, plus the lessons we teach our children. WWF’s Environment Education (EE) unit taught kids about conserving dolphins, whale sharks and turtles, while reminding them of the need to rid our seas of trash.

“One of the joys of teaching is when kids realize that protecting the environment can be enjoyable. We hope their love for nature will translate to protecting our oceans, coasts and beaches,” WWF-Philippines Environmental Education Officer Maye Padilla said.

WWF also helped renowned artist and WWF Hero of the Environment AG Saño in etching a 180-meter-long sand sculpture featuring a pawikan and the letters SOS—signifying a call for help and a pledge to save our oceans by leaving no trace when at sea.

“We encourage everyone to spend more time with nature—but to throw no trash and minimize their impacts at sea,” Padilla said.

Human Nature President Anna Meloto-Wilk reminded people that the smallest actions could make the biggest difference. “It’s as simple as choosing products, which do no harm to the environment.”

“The sea is alive. It’s a source of life. We’re here to witness people coexisting with nature. We want to invite everyone to conserve nature by sharing solutions to Save Our Seas on social media,” La Union Soul Movement’s Tina Antonio added.

WWF works with many allies to protect the world’s oceans.

Image Credits: Nonie Reyes

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