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Relay4Nature engages with leading ocean advocates in Swedish capital

by The Ocean Race 15 May 13:30 PDT
Polish Olympic sailor Anna Weinzieher © The Ocean Race

Isabella Lövin, Sweden's former Deputy Prime Minister, received the Relay4Nature baton from the Polish Olympic sailor Anna Weinzieher at Junibacken, in the heart of Stockholm earlier this afternoon.

Lovin, who is co-Chair of Friends of Ocean Action and the Minister for Environment and Climate, was hugely supportive of the Relay4Nature initiative.

"We need to go from words to action, and put money, resources, management, dedication, political leadership and will, to actually protect our ocean.

"We only have one ocean, it has no borders, so we need to cooperate to save it. The ocean needs to be included in COP26 in a visible and tangible manner," she commented shortly after receiving the Baton from Weinzieher.

Anna Weinzieher brought the Baton to Stockholm from Gydnia, Poland on board Sailing Poland. The Polish team is one of four VO65 teams that is competing in the Prologue, a feeder race for The Ocean Race Europe that has been organised by four of the northern Europe based teams participating in the event.

Shortly after receiving the Baton, Lövin met with Professor Christoph Humborg, Professor of Coastal Biogeochemistry at the Baltic Sea Science Centre in the city centre. Humborg, who is the Scientific Director at the educational establishment, spoke about the scientific research that was being carried out in the Baltic Sea and some of the specific issues in the region.

"It's a huge challenge. The coastal zone, if it was treated correctly, could account for 20% of the measures we need to take to achieve the goals set in the Paris agreement. We can do this either by reducing emissions, or by restoring valuable ecosystems such as seaweeds, salt marshes and algae belts that absorb carbon in an efficient way. They are threatened by pollution and eutrophication, which can turn them from carbon sinks into a carbon source," he commented.

Both Humborg and Lövin used the opportunity to write specific messages that will be carried inside the Baton. These, along with the other messages collected during the Relay, will be presented at COP26 in Glasgow in November 2021.

Relay4Nature, an initiative co-founded by Peter Thomson, the UN Secretary General's Special Envoy to the Ocean and Richard Brisius, Race Chairman of The Ocean Race, aims to call on governments and businesses to radically increase their ambition for nature, human and ocean rights across all policy and action.

Highlighting the importance of connectivity as a crucial factor in the ocean's wellbeing, the Relay4Nature aims to engage with leaders from the biodiversity and climate communities to work together to strike a fair deal for people and planet.

On returning to Junibacken Lövin passed the Relay4Nature baton to a group of young sailors from the Royal Swedish Yacht Club. They, accompanied by Swedish Olympic and World Champion sailor Fredrik Bergström, accepted the Baton from the Swedish Minister and will pass it to Team Childhood, the Dutch/Swedish-flagged team, who will carry the baton on to the start of The Ocean Race Europe in Lorient, France on 29th May 2021.

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