by Cailah Leask
With the degrading state of the world's oceans receiving more and more focus by marine scientists and a growing media consciousness, many organisational arms of the sailing world are beginning to take a leadership role, putting them at the forefront of campaigning against global marine degradation.
My oceans are so important to me
This week there is more evidence of this growing leadership role, with Britain's Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA) hosting a conference which has heralded a combined commitment to making a difference across some of the most significant international marine environmental organisations.
The Academy, already committed to proactive environmental stewardship, being the first Olympic and Paralympic venue to be awarded the British Standard for Sustainable Event Management (BS 8901), decided to bring together a number of different environmentally focused bodies to really stimulate a greater understanding of protecting our seas and oceans.
With a speaker panel featuring the Green Blue, Race for Change, Gocycle, the Plastiki Expedition and the Blue Marine Foundation, the debates throughout the conference were lively as well as enlightening.
Guests including, Jerome Pels (International Sailing Federation Secretary General), were keen to experirence the newest design in electric bikes from Gocycle. This electric two wheeler designed by Karbon Kinetic is being trialled at the WPNSA in a bid to assist green transport around the extensive venue grounds during events.
‘The environmentally orientated conference has really opened up our eyes to the worldwide plight of our seas and oceans,' said John Tweed, Chief Executive of the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy. 'Not only has it boosted awareness on the importance of protecting our marine ecosystems at an international level, it has also bolstered us to start thinking about what each of us can do today to make a difference at a local level.
John Tweed centre Chief Executive WPNSA with Richard Thorpe right and Dan Parsons left of Gocycle © WPNSA 11
'It is not just our Dorset waters that need monitoring. It is also critical that coastal venues take immediate responsibility for their impact upon neighbouring harbours and bays, which are elementary in the sustained success of these waterside facilities.’
The momentum of marine environmental stewardship is set to continue with each of the speakers sharing their number one aim for success. This included the creation of further marine reserves, giving as many young people as possible the opportunity to experience the water and develop their own feelings towards protection, spread the messages through word of mouth and implement something worthwhile into everyday life as well as really thinking about where our litter goes.
This passion for protection of our seas and oceans already has strong support among the world's sailors. The conference has encouraged a combined approached between venues, national bodies, explorers, manufacturers and international foundations to dedicate efforts combating further degradation of our sensitive marine world. The aim is to use our resources sustainably in order that generations to come can share in the delights of water based activities in a healthy environment.
The WPNSA now has a ‘sail recycling’ drop off point at the venue where you can have your sails recycled with the additional option of turning them into a customised bag or seat with Reefer Sails, (if you are anywhere near please ask for further details at reception or email firstname.lastname@example.org), and this is a move that could be copied around the world.