Last Thursday, Sailors for the Sea board chairman, David Rockefeller, Jr. kicked off an exciting event Living on the Edge: The Atlantic Cup presents Coastal Communities & Climate Change.
The evening celebrated The Atlantic Cup, a two-time gold level Clean Regatta and the first carbon neutral sailing race in the United States. David noted, in his opening remarks: “Of course, sailors are natural supporters of the environment. That’s why we do it, that’s what we love, but we’re not always aware of the problems under the hull, and we know that with the help of events like the Atlantic Cup, we can galvanize sailors, in particular, into action to protect our oceans.“
The Atlantic Cup is environmentally forward-thinking, and a truly unique race. Boats use alternative energy including hydro-generators, fuel cells and solar panels. Another great fact is that no single use plastic water bottles are used at any time during the race!
The panel entitled “Telltales” was moderated by Global Green USA’s President Matt Petersen (far right) and discussed climate change at the convergence of land and water. Panelists from left to right included: Chip Giller, President and Founder of Grist.org, Hannah Jenner, skipper for 40 Degrees Racing, and Dr. Ben Strauss the Chief Operating Officer and Director on Sea Level Rise for Climate Central. We have pulled a few highlights from the evenings discussion – we hope you enjoy!.
Dr. Ben Strauss made the point that storms are like a pot of water, as you increase the heat, the pot goes to a rolling boil. We currently have a similar situation with the oceans. The increased ocean temperatures are like turning up the heat on the stove and we are seeing more powerful storms. This clearly will have an affect on boaters around the world.
Hannah Jenner noted how she felt sailors are an important part of environmentalist movement stating: “We not only see the storms, up front, in your face, we also see the trash…plastics floating past and oil slicks coming off of ships passing, and it’s upsetting.”
Chip Giller noted: “It all is very grim, but I just want to say, this discussion wouldn’t have been happening 10 years ago. And it’s a testament to Sailors for the Sea and others to keep the battles going so we really can’t give up hope.” He also noted that sailors can make a difference by looking at their own boats: “it’s a place where you guys are already adapting, thinking about how to make do with less and being really efficient, and I think there could be some cross-pollination in terms of the adaptation discussions. I think you should all make sure that you are members of Sailors for the Sea. I think there are ways to reduce our carbon footprint. Those are the practical things.”
Matt Peterson ended the panel encouraging people to: “reclaim your role as citizens, become a citizen entrepreneur, unleash your crazy ideas as you try to take responsibility for your little corner of the world, on the ocean, or if it’s your twitter account, using whatever channels you have, what ever communities you are part of, to be a part of turning it all around!”