"We are tied to the ocean, and when we go back to the sea whether it is to sail or to watch it, we are going back from whence we came.” - John F. Kennedy, Dinner for the America's Cup Crews, September 14 1962
Every day that we spend in the wind, the sun, and the salt water, we feel the ties that JFK spoke about in his address for the America's Cup. Our daily encounters with seals, sea lions, and dolphins, and our seasonal sightings of the migrating humpback and grey whales are a constant reminder of the teeming community of creatures just beyond our shores. The big blue ocean - our playground - is their home.
Unfortunately, human impacts have become more and more common. This infographic demonstrates both the variety of marine debris we humans litter the seas with, but also points out the ugly reality of our legacy of litter.
During our practice sessions we frequently scoop old birthday balloons out of the water, as well as plastic trash bags, and discarded water bottles, and we are constantly vigilant for floating debris that can ensnare our hull and rudder. For us it’s a relatively easy task to untangle, but it’s another story for much of the population of marine life, including marine birds.
There is no singular, sweeping solution for ocean clean up - no magic wand to wave that will get our ocean health back on track. The only solution to reducing ocean plastic relies on a long term, global shift in daily habits. Choosing responsible options over single-use products that will impact the ocean ecosystem, often for hundreds of years. The process of changing the habits of so many millions of people requires a systematic plan, and we believe that that plan starts with a contagious love for the ocean. It’s a long-term target, which will require support from countless people and organizations all over the world, but at home here in Southern California, the effort starts with us.
Our monthly beach cleanups, and our daily interactions with the kids that we coach have created a base of supporters around our cause of ocean stewardship, and their reach to friends and family will get us more. The power of our effort to change habits comes from our genuine love of the ocean and our Olympic campaign platform, which was created to reach people, especially kids, on a meaningful level. By leveraging the demographics of the sailing population, our program opens the possibility to inspire future entrepreneurs, and influential decision makers who will be able to infect others with the ideals of ocean stewardship. By sharing our love for the ocean, our daily experiences, and our encounters with the good, the bad, and the ugly, we can infect those around us to participate, and to get involved in educating others.