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Human Nature and the plight of the Philippine Seas

You matter. 

What you eat, what you wear, what shampoo or soap you use – because these are all contributing factors to climate change. The heat we are all suffering now? We all played a part in bringing it upon us, and notably on things we never really cared to pay attention to – the small stuff.

But they all added up and became this huge problem that now threatens the very survival of our specie. Sounds too serious for your attention? That’s part of the problem.

Human Nature kicked off Oceans Month with Human Nature Save Our Seas Coastival in San Juan, La Union and finished with the creation a 180-meter long Save Our Seas sand art by celebrated muralist and climate justice advocate AG Saño
If you’re bothered about the heat wave outside the comforts of air conditioning, then good: We have your attention and we’re saying, “Hey, we can do something about it; it is not out of our hands, it is up to us.”

Recently, Human Nature, a company built to empower local communities and protect the environment, launched Save Our Seas campaign. The project was designed to create awareness that our choice of shampoos, soaps, and especially sunscreen, directly impacts the environment. 

Raw vegan and yoga teacher Corey Wills led the yoga workshop during the Coastival
Yes, how we shower matters.

Did you know that most personal care products carry in them harmful chemicals that wash down all the way to our streams, rivers and oceans that end up poisoning marine life?

Not sure everyone is aware, but the bodies of water are all directly connected. That is why there is no such thing as organic seafood. Unlike land, we cannot control or confine or limit what goes in and around our oceans. Notably, water makes up for 70 percent of Earth so that basically says, we cannot control or limit what goes around our environment unless we address what we put in it.

“Saving Our Seas can be as simple as making sure that what goes down our shower drains won’t pollute our water ways and affect marine life. What we use on the beach does end up in open water. Over 5,000 metric tons of sunscreen containing coral-bleaching ingredients wash off from swimmers annually,” shares Anna Meloto-Wilk, co-founder and president of Human Nature. 

Muralist AG Saño creating the Save Our Seas sand art
That said, the only way around this problem is to not use anything that is harmful to our seas. Human Nature, in a heartful response to this problem, launched a sunblock that will not damage the ocean. Free from most synthetic sunscreen components that contain ingredients like parabens, oxybenzone and benzophenone which can bleach corals within just 96 hours of exposure, Human Nature is showing that it is several steps ahead of others when it comes to conscious sun protection by launching the new product. 

The Philippines is home to an estimated 22,484-sq. km. of coral reef area, comprising about 32 percent of the total reef area of the Great Coral Triangle or nine percent of the world’s total reef area. More than 60 percent of coral reefs are at risk of being impacted by a variety of sources including marine pollutants present in synthetic sunscreens. Human Nature is the maker of SafeProtect, the country’s first and only reef-friendly sunscreen.

Plastic sachets commonly used by vacationers and plastic microbead-filled lotions, face scrubs and toothpaste also contribute to the pollution problem. Microbeads are only 0.0004 to 1.24 millimeters in size, making them too small to be filtered out by water treatment facilities. 

Top surfer and entrepreneur Paolo Soler teaches poi during the event
Plastic microbeads can also enter our food chain – fish and other marine animals often mistake these plastic beads for food. Microbead pollution has become so widespread that the US has already imposed a ban under the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015. 

Human Nature also believes that the poor should be on top of the green agenda.  “World Wide Fund for Nature is in full agreement as fishers, farmers and tribes folk are often the most attuned to nature. WWF will always empower the underprivileged and marginalized to promote equality and equanimity among all groups. We aim to build a future where Filipinos live in harmony with nature,” shares Gregg Yan, communications and media manager of World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-Philippines). 

“WWF and Human Nature both share a vision of the country where Filipinos love and conserve natural resources like coral reefs, forests, lakes and rivers,” explains Meloto-Wilk

World Wide Fund for Nature’s Maye Padilla with the 'little sea-tizens' during the Coastival
Echoing these sentiments is Project CURMA, Coastal Underwater Resource Management Actions, a pawikan conservation and protection program which believes that marine conservation starts at the grassroots level. Project CURMA works with La Union fishing communities and local governments in its conservation efforts. 

“Only one percent of our [turtle] hatchlings will come back in 20 years. They will come back to hatch in the place where they were born and it’s our task to make sure that they have a home,” shares Toby Tamayo, founder of Project CURMA. Tamayo narrates that they are happy to be working with former pawikan poachers who are now Project CURMA volunteers. He emphasized that many turn to poaching because of abject poverty. 

Save Philippine Seas campaign is passionate about empowering people to make daily choices and to form habits that help conserve and restore our marine life. Let’s be one with them. 

Topics: Human Nature , plight of the Philippine seas
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