There really is a science to encouraging pro-environmental behaviour. Having been on the front line of the marine industry working on environmental projects for the last 15 years, I have experienced a sizable shift in attitude, innovation and research to improve the sector’s impact on the environment. We certainly have much more work to do, but each time I visit METSTRADE the shift to a more sustainable sector feels exponential, perhaps in part due to consumer demand.
For both industry and recreational boaters, I always work by the mantra that it is far more effective to create change by educating people about the issues, providing the rationale for making different choices. In many ways I think the sailing industry has been a leader in this respect; regarding plastic pollution for example, The Ocean Race has created a compelling narrative around the amount of plastic in the sea by finding micro-plastic at point Nemo – the furthest point from land on the planet (1400 nautical miles away!): that grabs most people’s attention and is a fact used in their race villages which aimed to be single-use plastic free.
I’ve particularly enjoyed delivering environmental training in the past on the Global Marina Institute’s marina manager courses which has certainly led marinas to reflect on current practices as well as investing in innovative products such as the fantastic Seabins. As well as ensuring the infrastructure around the sport is learning, it’s important the mass (we estimate 70 million globally) of participants are also aware of their impacts both direct and indirect.
As the International Federation for the sport of sailing in all its forms, we have a duty to work to protect the waters of the world. World Sailing has an ambitious sustainability strategy which received unanimous support from its representatives in 145 countries in 2018. Working with UN Agencies, ICOMIA and supported by our corporate partners such as Hempel, we are delivering a comprehensive programme of 56 targets over the next decade.
To enable us to source funding for some of this work, the World Sailing Trust, a global charity, was launched at the finale of the Volvo Ocean Race (now known as The Ocean Race) in 2018. The Trust was established to support the global sailing community with the aim to promote and enhance sailing in all its forms and protect the waters on which our sport depends. The work focus areas are in two main streams: people and environment.
As part of the environmental work, 11th Hour Racing supported World Sailing’s formidable new sustainability education programme with the aim to educate a generation of sailors. 11th Hour Racing is a US based organisation that establishes strategic partnerships within the sailing and maritime communities to promote collaborative, systemic change benefitting the health of our ocean. Having previously supported the Volvo Ocean Race’s award winning education programme that focused on plastic, we decided to further this tried and tested format. As such, educational materials have now been created to cover comprehensive environmental-awareness training for young sailors between the ages of 6 and 12. The materials provide a mixture of learning about the sport as well as understanding key environmental principles and issues that both affect the sport and those the sport can affect.
Critically, the educational materials are free to use and World Sailing has translated and branded the resources for its national sailing federations and international class associations to use to help them deliver it more effectively. Any marine business that interacts with children are able to use these resources and help give some educational materials to your customers who might be home schooling due to COVID-19.
The resources are currently available in English, French, German, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese and Spanish and can be accessed here: Resources at Sailing.org
To learn more about the World Sailing Trust, please visit WorldSailingTrust.org