“BEFORE THE PANDEMIC,one of our biggest beach clean-ups was at Shek Pai Wan beach on Lamma Island; we had over 100 volunteers show up, and most of them were migrant domestic workers (MDWs)”, says James Marlow, the 29-year-old founder/director of Green Hour.
“MDWs are amazing, I admire their determination whenever we do our clean-ups. Sometimes I need to stop and take a rest, while they just continue on. So much energy!”, he beams.
What started as James’ New Year’s resolution back in 2018, Green Hour now has an army of over 2000 volunteers, of which around 300 are MDWs. Through more than 160 hours of beach clean-ups, recycle stations and plogs(a Swedish trend of picking up litter while jogging), James estimates they have picked up around 21 tonnes of garbage between them.
FORMING GOOD HABITS
The organisation’s main goals are to promote sustainable practices, fight climate change, and support grass roots society. Aside from the regular beach clean-ups, they also organise weekly Bun Runs– aimed at distributing surplus food items from bakeries around the city to those in need, at the same time reducing food waste.
Green Hour has built a family of volunteers from all walks of life, and has been a great way for like-minded individuals to meet up and do something together for the good of Hong Kong’s natural habitat.
"You can start with the small things, small changes in your lifestyle"
- Sanday Chongo Kabange, Green Hour volunteer
“It is good for the Earth,” says Joan Gazella from the Philippines, of her reasons for volunteering with the organisation. “It is the moral obligation of every human being to care and protect the environment.” This sentiment is echoed by Rusmidah, a domestic worker and volunteer from Indonesia, who learned about Green Hour from Facebook, “What inspired me to join is the dedication this community has for helping the environment”, she says.
Sanday Chongo Kabange, a HK-Zambian who spends most of his free time volunteering for various NGOs and charities, says he joined Green Hour because he tries to live an eco-conscious life, and wants to help nature in every way he can.
His advice: “You can start with the small things, small changes in your lifestyle. Then your home, your community, then society. Change for the betterment of the environment requires everyone’s effort.”
"It is the moral obligation of every human being to care and protect the environment" - Joan, Green Hour volunteer