How Mangrove Forests Create Chances in the Philippines
Meet Wilson Gastanes
Mangroves are multi-talents. They are one of the best fighters we have against climate change. But they are so much more than that. Mangrove forests offer protection from storm surges and erosion, their roots create a safe space for juvenile underwater life and they create opportunities for people. Just like they do for Wilson Gastanes from the Philippines.
Want to know more about the superpowers of mangrove trees and how you can help change people’s lives? Then keep on reading.
Wilson and the Mangroves
The Philippines are Click A Tree’s latest tree planting location. The planting takes place on Mindanao Island, which is the second biggest island in the country. This is also where 61-year old Wilson lives and plants your trees for the seas.
If you want to know more about our planting project and why we plant mangroves in the Philippines, check out this article.
It’s actually quite recent that Wilson became part of our tree planting team. But even in this short time he was able to accomplish a lot! We’re still astonished by the amount of trees he has planted.
In 1 ½ years Wilson has planted between 8.000 trees! If the conditions are right – low tide, no sea grass, less rocks, etc. – he is able to plant around 500 mangroves a day. Amazing, right?!
Childhood Memories of a Mangrove Pool
There are many reasons why Wilson plants mangroves. More on the various reasons later but first we’ll share Wilson’s personal mangrove story of creating change after feeling powerless.
Many years ago Wilson used to take his friends to his mangrove pool. Just imagine the fun he and his friends had there. Doing swimming competitions, diving for fish or just enjoying the cool water on a hot day.
But then one day, Wilson and his neighbours witnessed businessmen destroying their mangrove pool. Cutting mangroves to create fish and shrimp farms.
To this day he remembers and misses his mangrove pool. That’s why he promised himself to plant a new one for his kids, so they can have as much fun as he had.
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How Planting Mangroves Helps the Future of the Philippines
Being a tropical island in Southeast Asia doesn’t only come with benefits. The Philippines are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Sea-levels are rising and natural disasters are increasing.
In addition to that, there are mounting issues with soil erosion, crop quality, landslides, and watershed management as a result of deforestation.
Time is running out. Therefore, we need to act TODAY. We need to start opening our eyes to the things that are happening. Wilson doesn’t have the option to not worry about climate change and how it will affect his home and family.
Wilson: “If we cannot help nature recover, then there is no help for us humans.”
The life for fisher families in the Philippines is hard enough as is, but if the weather conditions worsen, they won’t be able to feed their families.
Planting mangroves helps Wilson and others because it gives them a stable income while the mangrove forests invite more wild- and marine life to gather near them.
The Superpower of Wilson’s Mangroves
Mangroves as a Source of Food
Once the mangroves are planted, it doesn’t take long until the first clams are seen on the young mangrove stems. Wilson and his colleagues collect them and sell some of their catch on the market and use the rest to make clam soup.
When the mangroves grow older more marine life makes the roots of the mangroves their home. The tangled area creates a safe space for life underwater including many types of fish, crab and shrimp.
So, not only do the mangroves protect the people from floods and erosions but they are also an important source of food for humans as well as underwater life.
But did you know that mangroves also collect plastic from the sea?
Mangroves in the Fight Against Plastic Pollution
Yup, you read that right!
Plastic pollution is a big global problem. And unfortunately, there is no magic spell to make the plastic waste just disappear once we are done with it.
Wilson is experiencing this problem first hand when he goes to the beach. Most things are wrapped in plastic, like their morning coffees and bread. And most of the plastic will later be seen in the sea due to the lack of recycling areas in Wilson’s village.
We want to put a stop to the plastic pollution in the ocean and that’s why we collect 1 kg of plastic from the ocean for every tree planted.
Do you want to hear something else amazing? Wilson said, that they are planing on creating flowerpots from the plastic they collect, which they then can use for the tree-planting.
How great is that?
What difference has planting mangroves made in the Philippines?
Planting mangroves means protecting families and their homes. They are an important source of food.And planting mangroves means creating chances.
Wilson and his tree planting colleagues plant trees to give their children a better life. Through planting mangroves, they can make sure that their kids’ future is stable enough without needing to move somewhere else to find work.
It’s important for Wilson to make his kids feel safe and assured that they can live a life with no hardships.
“I hope more people understand the important role that mangroves have for the sea, the land, the environment, but also for our livelihood. Mangroves are our future.”
Help Us Change People’s Lives
Changing lives doesn’t have to be hard. You don’t have to add to your to-do list or even leave your house. You can help change people’s lives by planting mangroves with just a few keystrokes.
Help us make Wilson’s dream come true and plant mangrove trees right now.
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