Contributed by Jenn Rose
On May 5, I rubbed the sleep from my eyes well before the sun came up to participate in a volunteer event with Harold. It seems Harold is always partnering up with non-profit organizations to help the local community, the Philippines, or in this case, Mother Earth. In celebration of Climate Impact Day, he joined with 350.org in a collection of events including diving in Silliman Beach to collect trash from the ocean, a run for planting 350 mangrove trees, and an education of the impact of global warming on the earth at Robinson Mall. The mission of the collection of events aimed “to dedicate to the earth and to advocate with people in countries around the world that a healthy tomorrow depends on our action today”.
Harold provided all the equipment for the dives and we arrived at Silliman Beach shortly after 5am and unloaded all the dive equipment. We were ready to get in the water by 6am and had a group of 5 local police officers to help clean up the ocean on the first dive. Mika and I went out with them and our fishing bags prepared to collect as much garbage as possible. We took with us a banner from 350.org for an underwater group photo and had a great time trying to get it aligned for the photo.
At the beginning of the dive, we didn’t find much garbage but as we continued closer to the rocks there was much more and our bags all began to fill up. There was the expected candy and chip wrappers and plastic bags I would have expected but I was shocked by the amount of clothing I found wrapped around the coral and half buried in the sand. We exited the dive with our bags totally full, just in time for the ceremonies and said a few words to the crowd. Mika and I enjoyed a rest and some delicious pancit while Harold took out the next group of local police officers who wanted to participate. It was a successful day in helping to make a difference in improving our earth awareness and cleaning up the local waters of Dumaguete. Despite the early wake up call, I was happy to be involved in the cause.