The America’s Cup. The most prestigious and glamorous sailing event in the world.
It brings those passionate about sailing and the sea together with big business and serious advertising.
At the last America’s Cup, the contest was particularly exciting. The match was the longest on record both in calendar time, and the number of races, with the U.S.’s Golden Gate Yacht Club staging an improbable come-from-behind victory, winning eight races in a row to defend the Cup with nine points to New Zealand’s eight.
With all of the media coverage and big name sponsors associated with the Cup (Louis Vuitton, BMW, Oracle, etc.) the event is a showcase for our oceans.
The excitement about the 35th Cup, being held in Bermuda, is unprecedented and with this they have the opportunity to remind us all about the importance of protecting the sea and helping to clean up oceans.
Unfortunately, the America’s Cup is not off to a good start.
After achieving the highest honor possible during the 34th Cup for implementing environmental sustainability best practices, it is surprising that the organizers of the 35th Cup created potential harm to the ocean by releasing balloons in Gothenburg. The image below is lovely, with a little girl raising her hands enjoying the event.
Would she be cheering, though, if she knew that sea turtles, whales, birds and many other sea creatures are known to have suffered and died from ingestion of or entanglement by balloons?
We have mentioned this in many of our previous posts. As a sad update, researchers from Queensland recently found that 78% of the plastic recovered from a sample of sea turtles came from eating balloons.
Remember, what goes up must come down. As our friends at Balloons Blow say, “Balloons Blow…Don’t Let Them Go!”
Below is a picture that I took this past summer. A dead bird wrapped in the string of an old, washed out helium balloon.
If you think this sight is uncommon, you would be wrong.
If you do a Google search (click on the search link below), you will find that balloons are a major cause of death for birds and marine animals.
You can find more information on the documented problems by clicking on following Balloons Blow link:
Beyond balloons, the Cup organizers are also standing still while eleven acres of marine habitat are destroyed to increase the size of the race village.
According to a post by Sailors for the Sea, the proposed landfill in Bermuda will bury 11 acres of marine habitat that is known to support protected species including sea turtles, eagle rays and parrotfish.
As Scuttlebutt Sailing News reports, the Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce (BEST) plans to go to court to challenge these plans, which they say are in violation of existing environmental regulations.
“We have met several times with America’s Cup Bermuda Ltd. head Mike Winfield or members of his team and have jointly attempted to reach resolution on those portions of the application that directly affect the America’s Cup organization” and “unfortunately those attempts were not successful,” said BEST Chairman Stuart Hayward.
Louis Vuitton (The LVMH Group), BMW and Oracle can demand that America’s Cup change its environmental footprint. These companies already are publicly behind important environmental efforts. Below are links to the public environmental statements that LVMH, BMW and Oracle make on their websites:
Oracle Environmental Policy
I want the 35th America’s Cup to be an outstanding and joyful success. The imagines from Bermuda will be stunning, with cutting-edge hydrofoil boats racing literally above the water.
America’s Cup sponsors, while enjoying and celebrating joy on the water, don’t let this opportunity to make a difference in cleaning up oceans go to waste.
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