An Emotional Race Against Time

Published on December 6th, 2017

by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt
We had just finished a day of racing, the boat now safely in the slip, the gear stored, and the crew gathered in the cockpit for a round of Mount Gay Rum and Ginger Beers. There was a comment about the cups, which in their previous life held beers at a San Diego Padre game. I was re-using, I explained, while the retort questioned my environmental contribution.

It is hard to measure one person’s impact on the environment, but I see it more as a contagious attitude. I figure the more I try, the more I will try again, and the more others might try too. I was mindful of limiting the direct impact of landfills and sea life, but a new documentary describes how the chain of impact starts much earlier.

Chasing Coral took more than three years to shoot, and is the result of 500+ hours underwater, submissions of footage from volunteers from 30 countries, as well as support from more than 500 people from various locations around the world.

The film seeks to explain how our single-use plastic containers are killing the world’s most beautiful coral reefs. These reefs around the planet are dying as we speak – and sustaining and protecting them isn’t just about retaining their beauty under the ocean.

Reefs are vital to around 25% of all marine life – and a billion humans are estimated to rely on them for food and income.

Climate change is causing this bleaching. The world’s oceans absorb 92% of the atmospheric heat caused by carbon emissions. The result? As the oceans get warmer, the coral can’t survive. In 2016, we lost 29% of the world’s coral reefs. Yep, that’s one third of them, in just 12 months.

So, you’re probably thinking – where does my single-use plastic container come into this? Well, plastic comes from (predominantly) oil. Oil is extracted from the ground, and through this extraction, carbon emissions are produced. The more single-use plastic we consume, the more carbon emissions are produced.

Well, what difference does re-using my plastic beer cups make? That depends on how contagious this attitude becomes. Chasing Coral is now streaming on Netflix or available through community screenings.

 

Source: Volvo Ocean Race

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