Ensuring a yacht is as environmentally friendly as possible is not always possible for crew; however, there are plenty of opportunities for crew to make a difference off the big, white boats – to the sea they sail upon and in the communities they visit. We’ve compiled a list of worldwide environmental initiatives that crew can get involved with to help fight the good fight and ensure that our planet stays green – and blue – for many, many years to come.
April 22, 2010
Created to promote ecological awareness by the United Nations Environment Programme, the first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970, with more than 20 million Americans participating in rallies across the nation to fight against various environmental crimes. This day was the birth of the modern environmental movement. Twenty years later, on April 22, 1990, more than 200 million people in 141 counties had picked up the cause. By Earth Day 2000, 184 countries and 5,000 different environmental groups around the globe joined in the fight.
April 22, 2010, will mark the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. According to Earth Day Network, more than one billion people in more than 190 countries are expected to join in the effort, making it one of the biggest ecological efforts in history. www.earthday.org/events provides lists of activities taking place all over the world that crew can get involved in.
International Coastal Cleanup
Last held on September 19, 2009, the date for 2010’s International Coastal Cleanup has yet to be announced; however, last year, almost 400,000 volunteers in 100 countries picked up more than 6.8 million pounds of trash – so important because marine debris is one of the most pervasive pollution problems affecting the health of the oceans. This event currently holds the record for largest volunteer effort of its kind. Watch this space for updates on the 2010 International Coastal Cleanup. www.oceanconservancy.org
MIASF Waterway Cleanup
Held on March 6, the Marine Industries Association of South Florida has hosted the annual Waterway Cleanup for the past 33 years. One of the largest in the States, the 2010 Cleanup was a huge success and boasted more than 1,800 volunteers as well as 117 boats. By the end of the day, more than 15 tons of trash and debris was removed from various locations around Broward County, Florida. Details for the 2011 Cleanup have not yet been released. www.miasf.org/waterwaycleanup.htm
The International SeaKeepers Society
For crew who want to put their money where their mouth is, SeaKeepers Professionals is an extension of the SeaKeepers Society, which aims to provide critical ocean data to the scientific community. The Professionals is made up of yacht captains and crew; their membership underwrites the cost of monitors that help scientists understand the major oceanographic and climate changes taking place now. www.seakeepers.com
Seacology is an international environmental nonprofit organization that focuses on saving endangered species, habitats and cultures of islands throughout the world. It recently partnered with West Marine’s Professional Captain’s Services for promotional assistance. Crew can go to www.seacology.org and click on Islands Projects to see lists of environmental activities in their areas.