This Image Gives Me Hope


My dad sent me this photo this past weekend. He volunteered alongside thousands of other people to collect rubbish in more than 50 different places alongside the Panamanian coastline coinciding with the International Coastal Clean-up Day. The Coastal Clean-up has been carried out yearly over the past three decades and, according to La Prensa, one of Panama’s leading newspapers, during last year’s collection over 1 million plastic bottles were collected by more than 5000 volunteers. Among the rubbish collected this year, there were also tyres, mattresses and large appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines.

The group of volunteers to which my dad was assigned worked in one of the many mangrove forests that can be found in Panama City. Mangroves are essential in the fight against climate change because they trap and bury carbon dioxide in the soil below. They are also important as a breeding area for marine species and for the conservation of bird populations. Panama has 11 of the 65 species of mangroves identified in the world, which makes preserving them essential for the preservation of the planet.

I am so proud of my dad and of all my fellow-Panamanians who took time from the weekends to contribute to saving the planet. Not all hope is lost.

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