IUCN is working with the prestigious America’s Cup sailing event to encourage the world to rediscover our oceans and make greater efforts to protect them.
The America’s Cup “Healthy Ocean Project,” in which IUCN is a partner, aims to raise public awareness about sea-related issues through exhibitions, lectures and tours.
During the recent America’s Cup World Series event in Naples, Italy, an estimated 4,000 visitors flocked to an exhibition that featured images of biodiversity from local marine areas, including the Posidonia Oceanica, an endemic Mediterranean sea grass which is important for the region’s ecological balance.
Local children met with America’s Cup staff and volunteers at the marine-protected Gaiola Underwater Park to tour ancient Roman ruins and learn about the marine biodiversity particular to the Gaiola underwater world. The event also involved a series of educational activities teaching children about issues of marine wildlife conservation, waste collection and recycling.
A panel discussion with local marine experts was also held as part of the Healthy Ocean Project. Director of IUCN’s Global Marine and Polar Programme, Carl Gustaf Lundin, moderated the group, which was made up of guest speakers from local universities, research centres and a sailors.
Highlighted during the panel was the fact that the Gulf of Naples is one of the worst plastic polluted bays in the world. The importance of ‘clean regattas’ and changing sailing to become a more sustainable sport was also discussed.
“The oceans and marine biodiversity are crucial in regulating our climate,” says Carl Gustaf Lundin, Director of IUCN’s Global Marine and Polar Programme. “Our partnership with America’s Cup has given us an amazing opportunity to spread the word about the importance of protecting the ocean—it is especially relevant to be able to teach young people about marine conservation, as they hold the key to the future of our planet.”
The collaboration between IUCN and America’s Cup does not end in Naples. From 12 - 20 May, America’s Cup will continue in Venice with follow-up event again in collaboration with IUCN. This will include an America’s Cup Healthy Ocean Project Ocean Conservation Day, an exhibition with additional Adriatic underwater photos, as well as panel discussions highlighting local marine protected areas.
For more information, please go here: www.americascup.com/en/More-Than-A-Sport/AC-Healthy-Ocean-Project/.