The oceans supply us with the majority of our oxygen. Tiny ocean plants called phytoplankton use photosynthesis to grow and contribute 50-80% of the oxygen in our atmosphere! [ http://earthsky.org/…/how-much-do-oceans-add-to-worlds-oxyg…] Fish are the most consumed protein worldwide and much of the people in low-lying island nations, like our home in the Philippines, rely on this for subsistence. [ http://marinebio.org/marinebio/facts/] We have a day for our mothers, fathers, for teachers, firefighters, servicemen and even our secretaries. On June 8, we have a day for the lifeblood of this world. Celebrate World Ocean’s Day and Ocean’s Month this June.
Humanity has been to the surface of the moon, sent a space exploration to Mars and still has yet to explore the aquatic fathoms of our seas. In fact, less than 10% of this ecosystem has been explored, [http://marinebio.org/marinebio/facts/] yet scientists predict that the global death of the ocean ecosystem will happen in 2048. [http://www.theinertia.com/…/the-oceans-could-be-dead-by-th…/]
This is a factor of many things. We are consuming too much fish, relying on industrial sized trawlers to subsidize a market that demands high-end fish catch across the world and yet results in casualties of other marine life, like dolphins, otters, seals, turtles, coral and sea grass.
We are polluting our ocean at unprecedented rates. Each year, three times as much rubbish is dumped into the world’s oceans as the weight of fish caught. [http://marinebio.org/marinebio/facts/]
This past month alone, there have been two more offshore oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico, flooding already suffocated ecosystems with further degradation. We wash away nuclear waste from disaster sites like Fukushima with sea water and wonder why months later, hundreds of partially dissolved sea stars wash up on the shores of Canada.
The animal life that manages to survive pollution are still consuming these by-products. Micro-particles of plastic leech into the ocean, and now make up significant parts of fish anatomy – fish that we then eat. Our increased atmospheric carbon is absorbed by the ocean, this marine ecosystem is trying to serve its function in the world, recycling and refreshing our atmospheric conditions. However, now that there is increased carbon in the seas, the resulting acidic water is dissolving the shells of marine life and eating away at the structure of the coral reef.
And in places where fish make up the majority of an economy and the bulk of a family’s diet, the death of our oceans directly creates turmoil, desperation, starvation, and crime.
The good news is that the ocean is older and more resilient than us. Properly managed marine areas can replenish fish stock and marine life exponentially if left alone for only five years. Fish are prolific breeders and given the time to reach mature size can lay millions of eggs at one time. Mangrove forests and reef systems are carbon absorbing and can remove more from the atmosphere than the rainforests on land. They are also natural weather mitigators, helping protect the land from extreme weather events by buffering wave action and grounding our coastlines. Sea grass and oysters filter out the pollutants in our water. From small-scale fisher folk to large-scale changes, around the globe people are turning into ocean farmers with sea grass and seaweed farms, mangrove rehabilitation, ecotourism, and coral reef propagation.
It takes a few difficult decisions to become aware of where our fish comes from, the techniques used to source them, and our other consumer choices that might be impacting this aquatic underworld. We can help you with some of those. Follow our Ocean Tips that we will be sharing over the course of June, Oceans Month, to learn how you affect our planet. Take care of the ocean and it will take care of us. During Oceans Month, remember, take nothing but joy from the sea and leave nothing but footprints.
Check out some of the projects that YPDR and Kataw Foundation support to help replenish the fisheries in the Coral Triangle, the center of marine biodiversity. Keep checking the YPDR website and please follow us on;
For two and a half years now, progress for YPDR, under the auspices of Kataw Foundation, has always been positive and steady to say the very least, but every now and again we make major advances. Among our biggest steps forward was the day we first met and were given a thumbs up by the world renowned Philippine environmental attorney Antonio Oposa on Bantayan.
A gentleman with Tony Oposa’s influence can make things happen on an epic scale, and for us to have his support is immeasurable. For two days, April 21st and 22nd, (Earth Day), Mr. Oposa hosted an event at his marine sanctuary in Barangay Okoy on Bantayan Island with emphasis on rehabilitating the environment and changing peoples’ attitudes regarding our planet earth. It wouldn’t be a Filipino gathering without lots of great food and a childrens’ music group.
His invited guests included none other than the Deputies of the Ombudsman from each of the three geographical sections of the Philippines along with over twenty attorneys from their offices. Also present were representatives of the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources and the ASEAN Center for Biodiversity as well as film maker and environmental attorney Justin Rose to document this important event.
YPDR, in conjunction with Kataw Foundation, was invited by Tony Oposa to present our marine restoration and conservation programme. His beliefs mirror ours in the concept of ‘Restorative Eco-tourism’. Using one of our rafts and Tony’s glass bottomed boat, we were able to bring about 25 of the attendees out onto the water to take part in a hands-on demonstration in site selection, dome deployment and positioning on the sea bed.
We were excited to give a crash course in scuba diving to some of the top environmental attorneys in the Philippines including Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon, Honourable Gerard Mosquera, who is now heading up the Philippine Environmental Ombudsman Team. As the domes are dropped in the water, they always land the wrong way up so a diver must ‘flip’ each one so it sits the correct way, so some were done by free diving and some by scuba diving with help from the guests.
Our marine protection programme which was inspired by Attorney Oposa himself, was given the stamp of approval by everyone including Honourable Paul Clemente, the Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas and his counterpart in Mindanao, Honourable Rodolfo Elman. We are privileged beyond imagination, and we look forward to a long term working relationship with the Office of the Ombudsman. Great things to come from Kataw and YPDR as we focus on climate change adoption, disaster risk reduction and marine restoration and conservation.
Our dreams for this island and beyond, and those of the environmental attorneys who we met recently go hand in hand. With these new V.I.P. contacts all over the Philippines we plan on extending our good work to other needy areas around the country.
Wow, two years sure has flown by! It was in 2013 when Typhoon Yolanda brought such horror and destruction to the Philippines. I happened to be backpacking throughout Southeast Asia at the time and since I didn’t have a specific timeline, I did some research on how I could help. I came across YPDR… Read more on Sahara’s blog
Beautiful Bantayan is what people call the island, those of us who have been blessed enough to have seen it or even lived here. Without using cliches, the beaches, sunsets and coconut trees are simply outstanding, however without the people who are born and raised on the island, the best photographs make but simple souvenirs. Being a small island of just over 80 sq. km., there are some issues regarding infrastructure and facilities. Not least of those are waste disposal and the absence of learning opportunities to make better choices in the modern day in light of the increasing overuse of plastics.
Sadly, it has long been a practice on Bantayan to bury bags of rubbish under the sand on the beaches. But “Out of sight, out of mind” only works until the next big storm displaces the sand and unmercifully scatters garbage all over the beaches. Foreign visitors who pay substantial amounts of money to visit amazing destinations like Bantayan Island in the Western Visayas region of the archipelago may ultimately be confronted with a beach littered with plastic bags, bottles and discarded fishing equipment and end up being, unsurprisingly, a bit disappointed. However for most of the local population life just carries on regardless. It’s usually down to a few outsiders to take some initiative and try to tidy up the otherwise stunning beaches. The locals will most likely only participate when they are encouraged to do so. A nice clean beach is a satisfying reward for just a few hours of hard work, however the unforgiving tide may perhaps return it to its old state before the next day-break.
Let us introduce you at this point to the phenomenally successful GrowlerUSA.com, America’s Microbrew Pub! This company is taking the beer consumer culture by storm in the United States of America and has been pouring a kegful of funding into organized beach clean-ups around Bantayan Island on a weekly basis. Chris White, the CEO of YPDR is a son of Dan White, the CEO of GrowlerUSA. By harnessing the force, motivation and dogged determination of YPDR.org, GrowlerUSA has this year so far facilitated the removal of 900+ bags of garbage, amounting to an estimated 6 tons of non-biodegradables, mostly plastic, from our beaches. The full sacks are then collected and transported to the Municipal landfill for permanent disposal.
At YPDR we are not inclined to do just enough, rather we intend to push further and collect much of the natural material that gets washed up on our beaches and turn it into compost. Each high tide unfailingly brings in seaweed, old coconuts, dead marine creatures and occasional pieces of wood to list just some of what the ocean rids itself of in its never ending routine. Now and again the sea itself will clean one particular beach but will then dispose of the waste on another beach. We can help by recycling nature’s own refuse.
Up until now the good folks at GrowlerUSA, especially Dan White, have been extremely appreciative of our work and impressed by the desire of our staff to bring beautiful back and keep it on Bantayan. They believe in the results we have presented so far and are encouraged to continue, if not increase, their sponsorship of our project. The dream will only get better for everyone.
We welcome other potential donors to contact us through this website or on;
Facebook.com/YPDRYPDR Thank you in advance.
SUSTAINABLE USE OF BAMBOO
As much of the world is talking of overpopulation and us running out of resources, along with global warming and climate change, some are beginning to focus greatly on sustainability and protecting what planet earth provides for us, while others are reversing the damage already caused by the greedy and the thoughtless. This includes but is not confined to overfishing and destruction of the marine environment; pollution of land and waterways due to wreckless mining, oil exploration and deforestation as well as the ever increasing monster that is plastic waste.
Among the activities and actions that are aggressively pursued by us here at YPDR.org on Bantayan Island in the Philippines are beach clean ups and recycling where possible. Thanks to our generous sponsors at GrowlerUSA.com (America’s Microbrew Pub) and SkydiveCebu.com we conduct weekly beach clean ups around our island. Another initiative is the sustainable harvesting and use of bamboo in our everyday projects. Recently we were so fortunate to be gifted a bamboo supply by two families on Bantayan, the Villacastin family and the Cobarrubias family to whom we are very grateful. By harvesting the bamboo plant in a specialised way, we actually contribute to the health and growth of the cluster in general. We use bamboo in various ways, from furniture to construction to maintenance to smaller decorative objects.
Bamboo, which is a member of the grass family, has many species. Some species can grow up to a meter (almost 3 feet) a day in length, making it the fastest growing plant in the world. When harvested properly it provides a rapid supply of sustainable material to be used in construction or ornate furniture and other objects. Here at YPDR we use bamboo in our marine restoration programme and in our emergency housing. Having been so kindly given a generous quantity of bamboo we intend to use it as we help and employ more people on Bantayan. The photos on this page were all taken of work done by our YPDR staff.
One of the great things we do at our organisation is allowing groups of students to visit our base camp and experience life at our NGO and on Bantayan in general. We have already hosted visitors from Cebu island, Japan and China and we plan to further expand this idea in 2016. Of course more students require more places to sleep, therefore our carpenters are current manufacturing a number of bunk beds at our location. These are skilled men who have been with us for some time and know the techniques for making durable furniture;
For more information and to find out how to donate to our exciting projects;
Thank you to our long term friends and supporters the Enrique Zobel Foundation, YPDR.org is now the only facility on Bantayan Island with a dive compressor. This equipment will allow us to take our marine restoration programme to the next level! In partnership with University of San Carlos’ marine biology division and world famous environmental attorney Tony Oposa, we will be hosting scientific research groups and educational seminars, and with support from groups like the Philippine Business for Social Progress we will be deploying and monitoring many more marine domes. To date on Bantayan YPDR.org has deployed 590 of our limestone-rich marine domes with a further 80 ready to go. Also known as fish condos, these domes are artificial reefs and encourage the growth of coral and also protect smaller marine creatures.