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Relay4Nature returns to the home of The Ocean Race

by The Ocean Race 29 Jun 22:03 BST
Relay4Nature baton © The Ocean Race

The Relay4Nature baton left Genova, Italy, earlier today onboard Team Mexico with baton bearer Juan Varela (MEX), enroute back to the home of The Ocean Race in Alicante, Spain.

Over the past four weeks, Relay4Nature has been part of The Ocean Race Europe and the Prologue that preceded the inaugural four-stopover European event, concluding in Genova this weekend.

Relay4Nature, an initiative created by Peter Thomson, the UN's Special Envoy to the Ocean in partnership with The Ocean Race, has visited seven European cities and has been carried by 12 different bearers during its 3500-mile relay around Europe. Starting in the Lithuanian city of Klaipeda, Relay4Nature has visited Gydnia, Poland and Stockholm, Sweden before joining The Ocean Race Europe in Lorient, France and continuing to Cascais in Portugal and Alicante before finishing in Genova.

Before the Baton left the Italian maritime city, it met with Dr Antonio di Natale, the Secretary General of the Genova Aquarium Foundation and one of the United Nation's advisors on Sustainable Fishing.

"We have just one ocean, it connects the water all around the world. We are not taking care of it. We are exploiting it for money and resources, we are extracting minerals from the sea bed, creating severe problems for the species living there," states di Natale.

"We are polluting our ocean, and it is a very serious issue. Plastics are a big problem, but realistically they are not the worst problem - only the most visible. We are contaminating the water with persistent pollutants such as PCB's and nuclear waste. These are not things that we can see but they are affecting all ocean life, all animals, all plants."

"One of the most important things that politicians and decision-makers need to know, is that we only know about a small fraction of the ocean. We are spending massive amounts of money to explore the moon and Mars, but we are spending much, much less on researching our planet and the ocean. We need to understand and protect where we are living, because the ocean can live without us, but we cannot live without the ocean." He concludes.

From Alicante, Relay4Nature will continue to the IUCN Congress in Marseille in September before making its way to COP26 in November 2021.

With thanks to all the baton bearers:

  • Richard Brisius, Chairman, The Ocean Race
  • Virginijus Sinkevicius, European Union Commissioner
  • Rokas Milevicius, skipper AmberSail-2
  • Anna Weinzieher, Sailing Poland
  • Isabella Lövin, Co-Founder, Friends for Ocean Action
  • Youth sailors from KSSS, the Royal Swedish Yacht Club
  • Arianne Van de Loosdrecht, Team Childhood 1
  • Justine Mettraux, crew 11th Hour Racing Team
  • Yoann Richomme, skipper of Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team
  • Chris Nicholson, skipper AkzoNobel Ocean Racing
  • Annie Lush, Offshore Team Germany
  • Matteo Pampora, Environmental Councillor, city of Genoa
  • Juan Varela, Team Mexico
As well as those that interacted with the baton during this Relay and wrote messages that will be taken to COP26 including:
  • Professor Christoph Humborg, Professor of Coastal Biogeochemistry at the Baltic Sea Science Centre
  • Paulo Mirpuri, Founder & President Mirpuri Foundation
  • Jean-Michel Gauthier, Managing Director, AkzoNobel Marine, Protective & Yacht Coatings
  • Bernardo Freitas, Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team
  • Augusto Castelo Branco, Optimist Sailor, Clube Naval de Cascais
  • Nacho Lorca, Lead Captain of the Villajoyosa Fishermen's Association
  • Antonio Ogyre, CEO Ogyre
  • Dr Antonio di Natale, Secretary General of Genova Aquarium Foundation

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