Sailing and sustainability. They go hand in hand like peanut butter and jelly. Going green is a big thing nowadays. And it's one of the best trends of humanity possible. For years and years, the human race exploited the mother Earth and it is finally time to give something back. That's why a lot of countries have turned to more sustainable ways of living. USA is talking about Green New Deal, the EU has banned single use plastic and some countries are so good at recycling that they recycle all of their trash, make it into gas and even import other countries trash so they can recycle it.
Sustainability in General
All in all, sustainability is a big thing now. And it should be. It's about time we start noticing what we're doing to the environment. And we should start acting more responsibly. We cannot do this forever and expect everything to be fine. Our actions have consequences and we must recognize that.
One of the sports, recreations, hobbies or, as some would say, ways of living that has always been talked about as 'being one with the nature' is sailing! Why? Because it's true. Sailors have always been known for respecting the nature. Even more so in the olden days as there weren’t engines and things as such. But not much has changed in sailing since its beginnings. And that is why sailing remained one of the greenest and the most sustainable sports there is throughout all the human history.
For that reason, there are a lot of people who have chosen sailing as a great way to promote sustainability worldwide. Also, World Sailing organization is the first organization in the world which hopes to change the world for the better through the sport. In this article we will talk about all of this thing. But we will also discuss what you can do to make your sailing vacation even more green and sustainable.
What Does Being Sustainable Mean?
Sustainability is a quality of being able to continue over a period of time. However, we are more interested in a second definition which is directly related to the environment which states that sustainability is the quality of causing little or no damage to the environment.
Being sustainable, in the simplest form means to have nature in mind. And not leave your footprint where ever you go. It means not using materials which take a long time to decompose like plastics. Things which also take a lot of time to decompose are aluminium cans, milk bottles, baby diapers, cigarette butts, …
How to Use Less Plastic?
The truth is that is impossible not to use plastic. We have become so used to it that we sometimes don't even notice we're using it. And it's everywhere. For that reason, it would be very hard for someone to completely stop using it. But that being said enables us to become aware of it.
So instead of always buying a plastic bag at the store, you should try bringing your own reusable one. Instead of buying plastic things, you should look for the recyclable or reusable alternatives. Also, if you really must use materials which are hard to decompose, always recycle it properly.
How to be More Eco-friendly?
If you're looking to become more eco-friendly in the future, here are some tips you can use. It will not only help the environment but it can also significantly cut your bills. Here are some of our suggestions.
- If you can, choose paperless options
If you can choose paperless solutions like bills being sent to you via email rather than being printed out, go for it!
- Walk or use a bike
It goes without saying how many benefits walking has for your health. And knowing how many times we use cars rather than just taking a 15 minutes’ walk is defeating. Take a light walk or use a bike. It will save you a lot of money in the long run (or walk he he) and you will feel better.
- Use a bus
Yes, buses are nobody’s favourite, but their idea is in the right place. In Pittsburgh, for instance, 46.7% of people who travel everyday drive alone in their car. Imagine how much traffic that is causing. And also, CO2 emission which is not good for the environment. If you still want to drive to work rather than taking a bus, maybe look for carpooling options.
- Reduce time in the shower
Everybody loves a nice and warm shower after a long day at work. But reducing your time in the shower and taking a quick 5 minute shower can drastically lower your water bills. And help environmental sustainability, of course.
- Turn off electronics you’re not currently using
Switch off the thing you’re not using. That should go without saying. That way you will reduce your electrical bill each month by using less power.
- Collect rain water
Not everyone is able to do this, but if you can try this trick. Rain water is better for the plants than tap water and you wouldn’t have to use tap water and pay for it to water your plants. Win-win in our book.
- Have meatless days
If you’re a big meat lover thins will not come easy for you. But having a meatless day every now and then will help you feel better, be healthier and help the environment.
- Don’t use electronics you don’t really have to use
It is impossible to go without an oven or a washing machine, but it is possible to go without a dryer for example. Especially in the summertime. You don’t have to dry your clothes in a dryer, but rather you can hang it outside and it will dry quickly.
We cannot stress this enough. If you recycle, all these materials won't end up in the nature. But rather, they end up in the facilities where they can be reused or repurposed.
In short, you will come to realize that by doing all these things, you do not benefit only the environment but also yourself.
But let’s get to the sailing part of this story.
Sailing And Sustainability
We have already explained that sailing and environmental sustainability go hand in hand. It has always been that way and it will, hopefully, always be like that. The big thing sailing has is that sailboats are powered by the wind. And if the weather is good, you can go a full week without turning on your engines even once. If you combine the power of wind with the power of the sun and install some solar panels on your sailboat that would leave you without an environmental footprint on your sailing vacation.
But even without solar panels, sailing goes as one of the most eco-friendly recreations out there. Even if sailing is very good for the environmental sustainability, we’ve prepared some tips and tricks to make your sailing holiday even greener. These tips are not hard to do and you wouldn’t have to go out of your way to achieve them but you can end up being 100% green.
How to Sail Sustainably?
- Choose your charter company carefully
Choose a charter company that cares for the environment. The best way of knowing if the company is taking care of the environmental sustainability is if they are working with an organization that takes care of sailing sustainability in the country where you are chartering. For instance, SailingEurope is proudly flying Green Sail flags on all of its boats.
- Don’t use your engine unnecessarily
The point of a sailing holiday is relaxation. So, if you find yourself on a windless day, consider not turning on your engines, but use a day for enjoying the place where you have found yourself. Sunbathe, take a swim, enjoy yourself. You can even find yourself having a better time than rushing to some other place.
- Separate the waste
Buy a few bigger plastic bags, a few paper bags and a few biodegradable ones. That way you would be able to separate the waste and throw it in the right container when you get on the land. For example, Croatia has taken recycling seriously and you shouldn’t have a problem with finding the containers for your trash in Croatia.
- Don’t use plastic
Plastic is one of the main reasons off sea pollution. Even though you probably wouldn’t be able to avoid it completely, you can still minimize its use. For instance, bring your own bottle that’s either metal or plastic, use cloth shopping bags, avoid plastic cutlery and cups, etc. You must pay really close attention when using plastic onboard because you don’t want it to end up in the ocean.
- Use natural shampoos, shower gels and cleaning products
There are shampoos and shower gels which are based solely on natural elements. Use that products while sailing so you wouldn’t harm the nature. Also, if you’re cleaning we suggest using these type of products as well or simply make your own. There’s nothing lemon, vinegar and club soda can’t handle and disinfect.
- Use the technology
There are great apps nowadays that can help you. Our favourite ones are the ones that you can use to scan the label of a product and the app can tell you which components are natural, good for you, and which ones are bad. It will help you choose a shampoo, shower gel and sunscreen much easier.
- Eat local food
Visit markets, buy locally grown food. If you find yourself in the Mediterranean you will find a lot of people selling their cheese, olives, olive oil, figs and all kinds of goods which they produce on their farms. Buying from them guarantees the freshest, healthiest and tastiest produce. You can even fish if you know how, want to and have a licence. You can also try to find shellfish.
What Else is Being Done?
There is actually a lot that is being done to raise awareness about sustainability, eco-friendliness, going green and sustainable solutions. And a lot of people who have dedicated their lives to tackle one of the biggest environmental issues of today chose sailing to promote sustainability all over the world.
Sailors for Sustainability
Sailors for Sustainability are two friends who sail around the world to promote sustainability. They believe humanity nowadays is facing existential, social and ecological challenges and we owe it to the future generations to resolve these issues.
So, they sail around the world and try to find local solutions to these problems and challenges. They blog and blog about things they come across and promote positive examples all around the world. Their idea is to accelerate the transition to a sustainable society.
Another bright example is Greta Thunberg. Young activist is currently on a sailing trip across the Atlantic Ocean on a zero-emission yacht. She hopes to arrive to a UN climate summit with her boat. She will even hold a speech at a summit on September 23.
Greta believes that cutting emission is the key to tackle climate changes. She doesn’t fly due to high levels of emission from air travel so she decided to board a yacht Malizia II which will take here all the way across Atlantic to New York city. Malizia II will allow her to make zero-emission journey thanks to solar panels and underwater turbines that generate electricity. Something similar to this boat.
Sailing Sustainability Agenda 2030
Ratified at World Sailing's 2018 Mid-Year meeting in London, World Sailing's Sustainability Agenda 2030 outlines how the sport will contribute to the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals. The Sustainability Agenda 2030 is split up into World Sailing's six main operational areas with a total of 56 different targets. The targets range from participation to gender equality, water quality of single use plastic.
Supported by the International Olympic Committee and World Sailing's partners, delivery of the Sustainability Agenda 2030 will be ongoing with various timeframes for achievement of the targets.