Danish strategist Anne-Marie Rindom has joined leading environmentalists calling for more meaningful action at a grassroots level to protect the ocean and stop climate change.
Speaking at SailGP’s Champions For Change event as part of the ROCKWOOL Denmark Sail Grand Prix, Rindom said seeing the polluted waters of Rio de Janeiro during the 2016 Olympics had been an ‘eye opener’ for her and other sailors.
She pointed to the Danish team’s collaboration with Race for the Future partner One Ocean Foundation which, she said, is about ‘acting, not just talking’.
“It’s not just empty speech - the whole team is learning a lot from One Ocean and the kind of action we as athletes can do”.
She highlighted SailGP’s pioneering Impact League, the podium for the planet, which measures teams across 10 rigorous criteria, including waste, fuel consumption and travel. This, she said, forces athletes to ‘do the basic things right’.
“We are sorting out the plastic and trash and cleaning up after ourselves,” she said.
Lasse Gustavsson, president and CEO of Ocean Wise, stressed the importance of making small but meaningful behavioural changes, such as using reusable water bottles and coffee cups.
“My suggestion is to kill the industry that is providing us with single-use plastic every year,” he said. “If we can’t do the basic stuff, how are the big and complicated things going to happen?”
He too, highlighted SailGP as a ‘group not perceived as a regular environmentalist’, which is taking physical action to bring about change. He pointed specifically the league’s local impact projects, which see SailGP work with every racing venue as part of a purpose-led calendar of sustainable initiatives.
“They intervene, they plant seagrass, they clean up beaches and that’s exactly what we need,” he said, “we don’t need anymore empty promises… it’s all about doing things now.”
Jan Pachner, secretary general of the One Ocean Foundation pointed to the foundation’s work with young people which, he said, will quicken meaningful action.
“We don’t like to put on their shoulders the responsibility that is ours,” he said, “but these young people go home and talk to their parents and it puts topics on the agendas of adults who were just drifting along.”