Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Run with a Purpose with National Geographic Channel's Earth Day Run Year 5!

Earth Day is celebrated every April 22nd to remind residents of this planet that we have to protect our home in this vast universe. This year, National Geographic Channel (NCG) renews its commitment to the environment with another round of its wildly popular Earth Day Run on April 27, 2014.

Last year, the event's expected number of 10,000 participants was overtaken by the list of actual registered runners that numbered to 12,000. NGC is looking forward to replicating this success for Earth Day Run 2014 with another set of 12,000 running enthusiasts from all age and fitness levels for the good of the environment.   

Distance categories are 3K, 5K, 10K, 21K and, the newest 42K, which is designed to draw the most physically fit and expert runners in the Philippines. Unfortunately, as of this writing, we were told by NGC executives that the only slots left are in the 3K and 5K distances because the slots for the other categories sold out really, really fast. Nonetheless, signing up for whatever distance will still be a big help for the beneficiaries.

NGC is once again partnering with World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) to make a solid difference in the Philippines' environmental footprint and provide sustainable livelihood opportunities for local communities. Last year's run proceeds were used to plant P1Million worth of fruit-bearing trees in the Abuan watershed in Isabela located in the Sierra Madre region. Beside the partial reforestation of this significant resource, local farmers were also given the privilege to own and care for the trees so they can later harvest the fruits for their income.  

This 2014, NGC promises to raise money for WWF's Bancas For The Philippines project that aims to train fishermen, affected by Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda last November 2013, in the making and use of fiberglass boats for artisanal fishing. Boats such as these are designed to withstand the onslaught of typhoons so that those using them can continue earning in case another disaster strikes.

Experts from WWF will train the fishermen on site and help them build the fiberglass boats, which reduces the use of sawn timber and plywood (and saves more trees!) such that communities can produce one boat a day. 

As many fishermen found themselves out of resources when their boats were destroyed by Haiyan, this boat project will be their hope as they take a significant step towards rehabilitation of their communities in Palawan. FYI, this is one area that was slow to receive relief due to the sheer number of islands in central Philippines that needed to recover from the tragedy. 

Thus, the goal of Earth Day Run 2014 is to directly help these fishermen by sharing a climate-smart technology that will help them recover their livelihood. In addition, promoting artisanal fishing for these small-scale fishermen will decrease the fishing pressure on our seas that have been heavily exploited by commercial fishing.

Personally, I am very happy to find out that Earth Day Run uses recyclable materials for its race bibs and a "Zero Paper" registration process thru the Centralized Registration System, which NatGeo pioneered in the country. Support NGC and WWF's Haiyan rehabilitation efforts by signing up via www.natgeorun.com or visiting the sign-up booth at the lower ground floor of SM Aura until April 20. 

Aside from the pride of victory and a willingness to help Haiyan survivors and the environment, finishers of the longer races of 21K and 42K will also be receiving a medal and finisher's shirt to commemorate their triumph.

It has been four months since Typhoon Haiyan hit and those affected still need so much help. Let us help sustain the public's interest in their rehabilitation. By registering in Earth Day Run, you can do your part while getting good exercise and uniting with others in supporting survivors of one of the most devastating natural disasters in the Philippine history. 

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