How fitness is being used to protect the environment

August 30, 2019

Photo credit: Clean the Beach Boot Camp 


As politicians bicker over the Amazon forest fires, something else is brewing in beaches across the world. 


On Saturday mornings, groups of unpaid volunteers turn up with gloves, bags and other equipment ready to work in the sweltering heat.  


They are united by one purpose - ridding the beach of non-biodegradable materials such as glass and plastic bottles, wrappers and other rubbish left behind by other beach-goers. 


Since 2012, the Clean the Beach Boot Camp (CBBC) has mobilised over tens of thousands of people to carry out such an undertaking, organising over 2000 beach clean-ups so far and removing approximately 500,000 kilograms (around 1 million tonnes) of rubbish. 



Founded by Phuket resident Krix Luther, the campaign has spread across Asia in places such as Indonesia, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam, even finding a following in Angola and Kuwait. 


Aside from helping the environment, participants enjoy free, optional workout sessions which involve a dynamic warm-up, followed by bodyweight exercises, high-intensity interval training, team-building activities, yoga or Zumba. 


Coming from a city with a voracious appetite for plastic, Hong Kong local Jacky Chung was immediately drawn to the idea. 


Photo credit: Clean the Beach Boot Camp 


"I attended one of the CBBC's on Shek-O Beach and loved the concept of giving away a free workout to people if they help clean the beach they worked out on. I am an avid fitness enthusiast, but I hate Hong Kong’s Single-Use Plastic Culture," said Chung, who now heads up the Hong Kong branch of the campaign. 


"So this organisation hit close to my heart and gave me the tools I needed to express it. It was a no brainer for me to continue the CBBC here in Hong Kong."


While the environment is a core concern; another issue the campaign seeks to address is the obesity epidemic.  



Specific to Hong Kong, a government survey revealed that half of the population aged 15 or over are overweight or obese, with excessive sodium (think dim sum) and alcohol consumption among the culprits.  


To help make fitness more accessible, there are plans to curate the CBBC's workout routines on their fitness blog, which already features general tips and motivational articles. 


According to Chung, the organisation is now looking to take a more proactive stance by taking on the root causes of plastic pollution. 


Photo credit: Clean the Beach Boot Camp


"We find the CBBC started off as a very reactive campaign, 'there is trash let's go clean it' type of thing."


"But now we are very much into prevention, via education, even promoting eco-friend products or simply bring awareness to the situation through our eco news page and videos we post on our social media like Facebook or Instagram." Chung added. 


Indeed, not all of us can commit millions of dollars towards saving the Amazon, remove climate change deniers with right-wing sympathies from positions of power, or to go straight to the source and either curb or reform the rampant capitalist mode of thinking that has wrought destruction on ecosystems, poisoning seas and causing detriment to our health.   


Photo credit: Eco Images  


What we can do is instead educate ourselves, ensure that animals are spared the ill-effects of our folly and orientate our lifestyles toward a more sustainable future. 


Nonetheless, there is no question that the battle for the environment is one not only of attrition, but will also be fought on many fronts for generations to come who will be born into a world shaped by the consequences of our actions. 




Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Please reload

Featured Posts