Logging in Twitter, now X, makes you see different arguments every day. Logging in, I read a debate about rain; it made me reminisce about how rain is deemed bountiful when I was a child. Undeniably, the user has a point about how people suffer because of excessive rain. He viewed rain as something problematic. But for me, liking the rain is not the problem; it is our irresponsible actions as humans that causes such suffering in the form of floods.
In my three-year stay in Baguio City, I saw rain as calamitous. Crops drown in floods; continuous rain causes landslides; electricity goes out. But rain is not to be blamed for the situation, for it is our irresponsibility as humans who clog drains with our trash. Fortunately, we can still be instruments to alleviate the problem at hand and prevent further disaster.
Plogga, jogga, plocka upp!
My junior high school teacher’s iconic line was “Pick up all the pieces of paper and dirt on the floor.” It became remarkable to us because she would deliver that line as if she is saying a tongue twister. Now that I am in college, I found something similar to her line: “Plogga, jogga, plocka upp! (Plogga, jog, pick up!)” At first, I thought it was gibberish but it turned out to be something that can prevent floodings in an area.
According to plogging.org, plogging, a movement that originated in Sweden, is a combination of the Swedish phrase “plocka upp (to pick up)” and the English word “jogging”. They also stated that the first plogging ever, Plogga, happened in Sweden in 2016. From then, plogging brought hope in reducing wastes that clog drain lines.
The Rotaract Club of the University of the Philippines Baguio (RAC UPB) launched RAC N Roll: 3 in 1 Event, an enjoyable event to start the Hope Creating Year last July 1. The three-in-one event included the Rotarun Plogging, the dynamic year-end celebration, and the volunteers’ fellowship and team building. Rotaractors and volunteers were in high spirits throughout the event as they gained new acquaintances and at the same time, helped Mother Earth breathe clean air once in a while.
RAC N Roll
The cold morning breeze welcomed rotaractors and volunteers who gathered at Panagbenga Park as early as 6:00 a.m. to prepare for the plogging activity. They started from the park to Camp John Hay wherein they segregated the garbage collected. Despite the long and exhausting route, volunteers were delighted that their efforts largely contributed to reducing threats of flooding by collecting 16 bags of garbage. Volunteers segregated garbage based on the following categories: plastic bottles, glass bottles, biodegradables, and recyclables (metal, clothes, and wires).
“The activity helped me reflect on the magic of everyone’s willingness and initiative for service, and seeing those people enthusiastically walk together while picking up litter and waste, while bonding was such a fulfilling experience.” Rotaractor Angel Dagoy shared delightfully on her first time joining the Rotarun Plogging. Dagoy also received the award “Mx. Pure Energy” in the team-building activity.
RAC UPB Hope Creating President Michaela “Mikay” Saballegue said that an environmental project in the form of Plogging to kick off her term in the Hope Creating Year improves and protects our environment. She added that plogging contributes to the health and well-being of rotaractors and volunteers.
“We are very grateful that they (Baguio Ploggers) have shared their advocacy and movement with us, and I am proud to say that we are now continuing and promoting what they have started through our efforts as a club. I would also like to extend my gratitude to the Environmental Team and officers of John Hay Management Corporation (JHMC) because they were very accommodating during our first meet[ing] for the agreement as well as during the event where they provided us [with] marshalls, ambulance on standby, and the location where we would gather to segregate.” Saballegue said as she expressed her appreciation to their partners during the RAC N Roll.
The Baguio City Public Information Office also promoted RAC N Roll through FaceBook which boosted the number of volunteers that registered for the event. Baguio residents, rotaractors, and interested parties gathered and worked together in making Baguio City cleaner and greener.
The club’s first Rotarun Plogging happened last May 20, under Project EmbRACe in the Dynamic Rotary Year. As we enter the Hope Creating Year, Saballegue aims to establish plogging as a stand-alone service project held every two months during her term.
“There’s too much history here. I felt the need to have more environmental projects for this Hope Creating Term, so I said to myself, why not start off the rotary year, my term, with some environmental project? Luckily, we have the resources and contacts for the project because I was also one of the handlers last Rotarun Plogging on May 20 under the dynamic term.” Saballegue said.
RAC UPB’s next plogging activity will happen in September. This coincides with the celebration of National Clean-Up Month based on Presidential Proclamation No. 244 of 1993.
Logging-in to plogging
Two things came to my mind when I read “RAC N Roll” in the Google forms to register: one was the wordplay on “rock n roll, ” and the other was rickroll.
Volunteers during the RAC N Roll rocked in being the best support in combating land pollution and climate change. As the rickroll internet meme played, “Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down, never gonna run around and desert you.” RAC UPB’s kickoff event showed that there were individuals who would not give up and let you down; they would run around, maybe jog and pick up trash along the way, but they would never run from their responsibilities and desert our environment.
Logging out of the virtual world for a while and entering the world of service, individuals will see the importance of matching our words with actions. Opinions inevitably conflict, both online and offline, but our heart for service can unite us for a better environment and future. May we fall on service like rain on the land, bringing life to sprouts of hope on earth.