The Volvo Ocean Race is mounting a global campaign to encourage action against the pollution swirling in our oceans, threatening sea-life and washing ashore on beaches across the world.
Together with artist collective Skeleton Sea, the Volvo Ocean Race aims to raise awareness of the problem while voicing a call for everyone to help reduce pollution and share in a simple message through Keep the Oceans Clean!
Volvo Ocean Race Chief Executive Knut Frostad said the initiative is an opportunity to make a global difference.
“This is the project we have been searching for,” Frostad said. “It has meaning to the race, the sailors and supporters, who all have the chance to make a real difference.
“The rubbish in the ocean is a concern for everyone and together with Skeleton Sea we will raise awareness of this problem, engage adults and children and inspire them to be part of the solution.’’
Frostad added that pollution was a sporting problem as well as an environmental one.
“For Volvo Ocean Race sailors the rubbish not only pollutes their sporting arena but it can be problematic when they’re racing because it can catch on the keel, rudder and daggerboards and slow down the boat,” the Norwegian said.
The Keep the Oceans Clean! team will lead beach cleans at all 10 Host Ports during the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from the remote and rugged coastal beaches of South Africa’s Cape Town to the pebbled shores and cool waters of Galway, Ireland.
Skeleton Sea’s founding artists João Parrinha of Portugal, Spain’s Luis de Dios and Xandi Kreuzeder from Germany will alternate as Artist in Residence at each Host Port. The artist will create a sculpture from the beach trash unique to each port with the help of local school children and the general public during interactive workshops.
A series of Skeleton Sea’s existing sculptures will also be displayed at the Race Village at each Host Port, which were visited by more than 3.9 million spectators during the 2008-09 Volvo Ocean Race.
Central to the Keep the Oceans Clean! initiative is Skeleton Sea’s Albatross Exhibitionist – a sculpture and short-film installation that tell the compelling story of the thousands of albatross killed each year because they mistake rubbish for food.
The imposing sculpture and six-minute film will be on show at the Keep the Oceans Clean! dome, which will follow the path of the 39,000 nautical mile ocean race.
Xandi Kreuzeder is hopeful that Skeleton Sea and the Volvo Ocean Race can inspire others to help keep the oceans clean.
“It’s more important than ever for people to do their bit to protect the environment, even if it means picking up just a few bits of rubbish at their local beach,” he said.
“If our message gets through to just a few people, then we believe it’s been worth all the effort.”
Keep the Oceans Clean! Project Coordinator Jacqui Smith said the initiative aims to increase awareness of the central role oceans play in our lives and the importance of protecting them through the international platform of the Volvo Ocean Race.
“For all of us, no matter where we live, the ocean is essential to our existence,’’ she said. “We need to respect the sea, look after it, and be stewards for this beautiful blue that makes up over 70 per cent of the Earth’s surface.
“Our aim is to inspire and encourage individuals to respect the oceans and think twice about how their actions can affect the marine environment, which collectively can make a real difference.”
Volvo Ocean Race together with Skeleton Sea will conduct a beach clean at Alicante’s Postiguet Beach on Wednesday, October 26. The artists in residence will then lead a series of workshops between October 29 and November 4 at the Alicante Race Village.