At the Ocean Race we have seen first hand the devastating impact of pollution, plastic, climate change and industrial overfishing on the ocean. At the same time, we have a greater understanding of how important our seas are, not just to the sport we love, but in regulating the climate and providing us with food, jobs and the air we breathe.
In 2021 there needs to be urgent action to help the ocean, including ambitious work to fight climate change. Here are four ways that The Ocean Race is taking action this year:
1. Gathering data about the state of the ocean
Some of the teams taking part in The Ocean Race Europe this summer will collect valuable information along the route about the levels of microplastic pollution in the water and data, including carbon dioxide, salinity and water temperature, which is valuable for scientists examining the effect of climate change on the ocean. The data gathered will be available to scientific bodies around the world, including the Surface Ocean Carbon Dioxide Atlas, which informs the Global Carbon Budget. It is vital that governments and organisations understand what is happening in our seas so that they can help to protect and restore them.
2. Working with sailing teams to help the seas
We are working with the teams taking part in The Ocean Race Europe to minimise every aspect of their environmental impact. Teams will be encouraged to reduce their plastic and greenhouse gas footprints by minimising single-use plastic and using renewable energy. Sailors also have an opportunity to inspire fans and followers to make positive choices for the environment by showing how they are helping the ocean.
3. Holding global summits to drive action for the ocean
The Ocean Race will host two high-level Summits during 2021 that will bring together global players from government, science, industry, NGOs, media and sport, along with passionate ocean advocates, to drive solutions and commitments to tackling the issues facing the ocean.
The Ocean Race Summits will introduce innovative solutions to climate change, improving the way the ocean is governed and the need for greater protection of the marine world.
4. Helping children understand the threats to the ocean
The Ocean Race’s Champions for the Sea programme has helped over 160,000 children in more than 54 countries understand one of the main threats to the ocean, plastic pollution, and what can be done to combat it. Currently available in English, Spanish and French, by the end of March 2021 the programme will be available in six more languages (Portuguese, Mandarin, Italian, Dutch, Danish and German) to help inspire a new generation of ocean advocates. Champions for the Sea can be used by schools and in the community. It is also a fun and engaging resource for parents – particularly those who have children at home because of COVID restrictions.
Anne-Cécile Turner, Sustainability Director for The Ocean Race had this to say:
“The ocean is a climate hero, absorbing heat and locking away carbon, but it is reaching a tipping point. 2020 saw record temperatures in the ocean and this is having devastating consequences for marine life and for us.
“We want to leave a positive legacy for future generations, by doing all we can to help the ocean and using our global platform to inspire all those that we can reach to take action. The race to save the ocean is our greatest race to date.”
The Ocean Race collaborates with its Premier Partner 11th Hour Racing on all aspects of the Racing with Purpose sustainability programme. Find out more here.
Main image © Ainhoa Sanchez/The Ocean Race