The International Coastal Cleanup Day and Mangrove Planting made more relevant with a meatless feast

On September 21, 2019, TessDrive participated in the International Coastal Cleanup Day and Mangrove Planting upon the invitation of Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP). This was held at the Barangay Lumaniag, Lian Batangas.

Aligned with Toyota’s global Start Your Impossible campaign, Toyota Motor Philippines’ initiative for the National Coastal Clean Up and Mangrove Planting Day is in support of its Start Your Impossible campaign Hero Ernie Gawilan’s advocacy for cleaner waters. Gawilan is a Filipino swimmer who competed at the 2016 Summer Paralympics and was the first gold medalist for the Philippines in the Asian Para Games.

TMP president Satoru Suzuki led this activity with Gawilan together with fellow para-athlete Edwin Villanueva, staff of the Philippine Paralympic Committee and Toyota employees and the media. This initiative was supported by 57 Toyota dealerships, and conducted across 37 locations nationwide, with the main site at Lian Mangrove Park, Sitio Kay Reyna, Brgy. Lumaniag in Lian, Batangas.

The carmaker’s advocacy—the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050—has set six environmental challenges that it plans to have in effect by 2050. The aim is to achieve zero environmental impact in all vehicle-related activities; but more than that, Toyota wants these initiatives to have a positive and sustainable impact on society as a whole. These are: 1) Zero CO2 emissions in new vehicles; 2) Zero CO2 emissions throughout a vehicle’s life cycle; 3) Zero CO2 emissions from all production facilities; 4) Minimizing and optimizing water usage; 5) Establishing a recycling-based society and systems; and 6) Establishing a future society in harmony with nature.

Mark Marcelo, TMP environment engineer, said that the group was able to plant 3,700 propagules on that day.

“This is part of the Toyota Environment Challenge 2050 wherein we want to promote reforestation and biodiversity conservation. We think mangroves are very important to this advocacy because, for one, they may be a source of livelihood for the local community. Second, these mangroves protect the community from storm surges. Third, since we are producing vehicles which emit CO2, mangroves have more carbon sequestration capacity than normal trees,” said Marcelo.

Dr. Augustus Rex Montebon, Marine Program Director for Conservation International Philippines, said: “Conservation International is here to help in the biodiversity conservation of the VIP (Verde Island Passage). In fact, we have this project with the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) called the SMARTSeas project. The aim is to increase the management effectiveness of protected areas and the marine protected area network in the executive order that specifies biodiversity conservation should be implemented in the entire country, not just in the VIP.”

Meat-free dishes for coastal cleanup volunteers

The TessDrive advocacy website—which has its own “Start Your Impossible” meatless campaign with food partners Quorn, an environmentally sustainable source of high-quality meat-free protein food, and Makati-based vegan restaurant Greenery Kitchen—brought 100% plant-based dishes to the volunteers.

The Tessdrive team believes that the efforts to preserve and protect the bodies of water all over the world would only be effective if all creatures who live above, on, and under water are likewise protected. Humans have maxed out the oceans as tons of sea creatures are killed every day.

The world’s biggest meat replacement manufacturer Quorn, which is now proudly Filipino due to its owner, food conglomerate Monde Nissin, knew from the start that it had to solve a nagging global food supply problem to meet the growing demand for the planet’s runaway population.

Animal-based foods, particularly on the current global scale of livestock production, represents the inefficient use of scarce land and water, and is a principal driver of deforestation, habitat destruction and species loss, and also embodies the heartless ways animals are treated and slaughtered.

A study from the University of Exeter found out that mycoprotein, the protein-rich food source that is unique to Quorn products, stimulates post-exercise muscle building to a greater extent than milk protein. The British Nutrition Foundation’s recommendation that mycoprotein is a good source of dietary protein, both for every life and for sport and exercise. An article from the Science Daily states that increasing meat intake may have serious consequences for public health and for the environment.

At the meatless feast after the mangrove planting and coastal cleanup, TMP participants were pleasantly surprised that the food could taste as close to real meat-based dishes. “Had we not been oriented about what it was made from, we would have assumed that the barbeque was real meat, but in reality it was just made from plants,” said Marlon de Rosas, a staffmember of the Production Control Department.

“We really thought it was meat at first,” said Karen Quintos of the Production Department.

“It looks like a meat pattie, but they said it’s not from meat. Everything’s delicious,” echoed Luz Naval of Plant Administration.

“When you bite into it, it really tastes like meat,” added Nida Consignado of the Production Control Department.

The TessDrive-initiated snack program led volunteers to chant: “Keep the oceans clean and alive! Go meatless for the animals, sea creatures and the environment!”

“Since the early 1990s the total number of fish caught globally has leveled out. The ramification is that we’ve maxed out the ocean. About 85–90 million metric tons of fish are pulled from the ocean every year, and that hasn’t increased since the late 1990s. It has leveled off not because we’ve decided to be really proactive and be kind to the ocean and not fish anymore. It’s leveled off because we can’t get any more fish out of the ocean,” said Bruce Monger, who teaches oceanography at Cornell, on the implication of our food choices in the environment.

For us at TessDrive, starting our impossible involves not only cleaning the oceans of our trash, but also sparing the lives of all sea creatures as well.