The Volvo Ocean Race Sustainability Education Programme, supported by the Volvo Ocean Race Sustainability Partners, is giving students around the globe a better understanding of the challenges faced by our oceans – and in Cape Town, hundreds of children have already joined our unique, interactive and immersive sessions.
Check out the full Education Program here
On Friday, students from François le Vaillant High School visited the Race Village to learn all about plastic pollution, ocean health, marine mammals – and more importantly, what they can do to improve them.
In total, 34 students joined an interactive workshop hosted by Sustainability Education Programme Manager, Lucy Hunt, which took place in The Globe, a sustainability-specific structure in the heart of our Race Villages around the planet.
The Volvo Ocean Race’s renewed sustainability focus in 2017-18 spans three key pillars: to maximise impact, to minimise footprint, and to leave a positive legacy.
That’s where the next generation comes in – and with kids this engaged and inspired, it’s fair to say that the future health of the oceans seems strong.
The programme is designed for students aged 6-12 years, and aimed at letting students discover the excitement of sailing through the Volvo Ocean Race, the importance of the ocean and how ocean plastic pollution is damaging our blue planet.
“The Education Programme has two elements to it – our online programme with a series of interactive modules for educators available in six languages, and our Race Village element, which travels around the world to the Race’s stopovers,” explains Lucy.
“We’re able to run this programme all around the world with the help of the Race’s sustainability partners.”
In the workshop, Race Mascot Wisdom the Albatross is used as an example of the disastrous consequences of plastic pollution. The symbolic species is endangered and seeing them in full flight in the most southerly latitudes of the planet is a bucket list moment for Volvo Ocean Race sailors – but they, like many others, suffer from plastic ingestion.
When the students are asked what birds eat, fish is the most popular reply – but when Wisdom’s stomach is opened up, it’s full of plastic.
“It’s really hands on,” explains Lucy. “We do an operation on Wisdom and we see that she’s been eating plastic. We want to empower the kids to know that they can make a change, and be Champions for the Sea.”
Like many places in the world, the beaches of Cape Town are affected by the pollution of water and beaches by plastic.
Student George Allen, who has seen the effects of this global problem firsthand whilst surfing locally, said: "I have already changed my habits. For example, every time we go to the beach, we see people leaving their packaging, so we'll get them back, or tell them directly.
“I’ve seen plastic while surfing, and frankly it's not cool. After this session, I'm going to try to reduce even more now.”
This programme is available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Dutch and Chinese and fits with curriculums globally.