Please select your home edition

Japan's Ocean Day highlights importance of ocean conservation

by Daniel Smith, World Sailing 22 Jul 07:10 PDT 22 July 2021
Hannah Mills on Japan's Ocean Day © World Sailing

Ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, Japan's Ocean Day is being celebrated across the nation on Thursday 22 July.

The day marks the return of Emperor Meiji from a steamship trip to the Tohoku Region of Japan (located in the northeast of the country) in 1876. It has been declared a national bank holiday to "express gratitude for the blessings of the sea and wish prosperity for the oceanic country of Japan."

In 2017 World Sailing launched Sustainability Agenda 2030, setting out the world governing body's ambitious commitment to help create a better world through sport. Aligned with the United Nation's Sustainability Development Goals, Sustainability Agenda 2030 has enabled significant changes within the sport across grassroots sailing clubs to the top tier of the sport.

See more information on Sustainability Agenda 2030.

At the Olympic Sailing Competition, the 350 sailors from 65 nations know the importance of ensuring a sustainable future for the sport and are ambassadors for protection of the world's waterways.

Great Britain's Hannah Mills boasts London 2012 silver and Rio 2016 gold Olympic medals. She is one of the most successful sailors at Tokyo 2020 and has made it her mission to promote and deliver sustainability initiatives for the benefit of sport and future generations of sports men and women.

"Protecting and preserving the world's waterways, the oceans, rivers, lakes, dams, everything is incredibly important," commented Mills. "The ocean in particular sustains all of us. It sustains all life on Earth and produces 50% of the oxygen we breathe and it's a massive carbon sink. So, all that CO2 we're producing, it absorbs a lot of it, but it's struggling, and our actions are essentially killing it. And without the ocean, we won't be here. So what more is that to say? It is it's imperative to human life."

Mills has used her voice and profile to raise awareness and in 2019 she launched the Big Plastic Pledge which is targeted at individuals within the sporting world and asking them to take action and unite to tackle single use plastic in sport.

That message is as strong as ever, and Ocean Day in Japan is just one of many opportunities to raise awareness on this important subject.

Mills continued, "I think sport has a huge role to play in terms of accelerating the change we need to combat climate change. And I think sailing is really well positioned to do that through ocean racing to inshore racing at the Olympics.

"I think the one major thing at this Olympic Games for me is about athletes using their voice to highlight these global challenges we're facing. The Olympics is an incredible platform. We're going to be speaking to media every single day so just getting that message out there a bit more and encouraging more people to start their journey in terms of understanding the sustainability challenges would be an amazing thing."

World Sailing Sustainability

World Sailing's Sustainability Agenda 2030 outlines how the sport will contribute to the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals. The Sustainability Agenda 2030 is split up into World Sailing's six main operational areas with a total of 56 different targets. The targets range from participation to gender equality, water quality to single use plastic.

Supported by the International Olympic Committee and World Sailing's partners, delivery of the Sustainability Agenda 2030 will be ongoing with various timeframes for achievement of the targets.

As part of World Sailing's Sustainability Agenda 2030, World Sailing celebrates those within the marine community who make a significant contribution with a yearly Sustainability Award.

First presented in 2018, the Award celebrates the effective execution or ongoing delivery of high-impact, highly replicable initiatives aligned to World Sailing's Sustainability Agenda 2030.

Nominations are now open, see more information here.

Related Articles

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Sailing Competition day 1
Favourites struggle to exert their dominance on a tricky opening day After two weeks of training in steady onshore breezes, the sailors were dealt a very different and more difficult hand for the opening day of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Sailing Competition. Posted on 25 Jul
World Sailing prepared to deliver
A safe and successful Olympic Sailing Competition As sailors, you need resilience. There are times when you are tested beyond the limits of human endeavours. Whether you are sailing around the world non-stop on your own or testing yourself in the smallest of dinghies in strong wind and waves. Posted on 24 Jul
Measuring boats: it's not a popularity contest
You can't win an Olympic medal in sailing without having a fast boat You can't win an Olympic medal in sailing without having a fast boat. Just like in motor racing where winning comes from a combination of man and machine working together in harmony, the same is true in Olympic sailing. Posted on 24 Jul
On the eve of the Olympic Sailing Competition
The boat park has been a place of focus and precision in the final 24 hours It's the eve of competition for sailing at Tokyo 2020 and the boat park has been a place of focus and precision in the final 24 hours before battle commences in the Laser, Laser Radial and Men's and Women's RS:X. Posted on 24 Jul
Sailing to fly many flags at Tokyo 2020 Olympics
Is there any greater honour in sport than carrying your national flag into the Olympic Stadium? Carrying your national flag into the Olympic Stadium. Is there any greater honour in sport? For the chosen few who become flag bearers for their nation, this evening's Opening Ceremony will be one of the most special of their lives. Posted on 23 Jul
11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award nominations
The highest recognition of success in marine sustainability Nominations are now open for the 2021 World Sailing 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award, the highest recognition of success in marine sustainability. Posted on 15 Jul
Mixed Offshore Europeans & Worlds preview
Both championships will be two-person mixed competitions World Sailing and the European Sailing Federation (EUROSAF) have confirmed that the 2021 Hempel Offshore World Championship and the EUROSAF Mixed Offshore European Championship will be held alongside the 2021 Marina Militare Nastro Rosa regatta in Italy. Posted on 9 Jul
Sustainability Award renewed through to 2024
The Award is the highest recognition of success in marine sustainability World Sailing is pleased to announce a four-year partnership extension with 11th Hour Racing for the title sponsorship of the World Sailing 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award. Posted on 24 Jun
Hempel World Cup Series - Allianz Regatta overall
Double Dutch delight on the final day Both of the Tokyo 2020-bound Dutch teams in the 49er and 49erFX classes clinched gold on the last day of racing at the Hempel World Cup Series - Allianz Regatta, in Medemblik, the Netherlands. Posted on 13 Jun
Hempel World Cup Series - Allianz Regatta Day 9
Stage is set for final Medal Races The Medal Race line-ups in the 49er and 49erFX classes at the Hempel World Cup Series - Allianz Regatta were confirmed today, ahead of tomorrow's final day of racing. Posted on 12 Jun
Cyclops 2020 - SmartlinkNano - FOOTERLloyd Stevenson Catalyst 45 728x90px3 BOTTOMCoast Guard Foundation FOOTER 2