Sailors will come together from around the world to take part in Blue Planet Odyssey, the first round the world sailing rally aiming to raise awareness of climate change. At the very heart of the rally is the idea that sailors take an active role in three inter-linked programs: education, science and community.
The idea of using sailors to help gather scientific data is one that participants have responded to with great enthusiasm. As the Odyssey will pass through some of the least travelled parts of the oceans, arrangements have been made with oceanographic institutes and research centres to use this unique opportunity to receive environmental data gathered by participants via the Odyssey’s scientific program.
In recognition for this valuable citizen science contribution to scientific research, the Blue Planet Odyssey is run under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO and in collaboration with the World Meteorological Organisation and National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
My husband Craig Pinney and I are excited to be among those participating in the Odyssey. We will be sailing onboard a 12-meter catamaran called Lovesail that is owned by my parents and lifelong sailors, Mark and Elizabeth. We will be joining the rally from the Caribbean through to Tahiti, a longtime goal. While we always intended to sail the Pacific as a family, it’s taken us a long time to get to this point. We’ve never sailed in a rally before, but we all share all the environmental goals of the Blue Planet Odyssey and cannot wait to get involved.
As a marine biologist, I will be contributing to the science and education program along the voyage, working with other educators and scientists on board the boats. The Sail the Odyssey education program will bring schools together across the world and educate children and young people in the most urgent issues facing the oceans and our climate, by the simple means of telling the real stories of those people most affected by these issues: sailors, families, islanders and local communities.
My research specialisation focuses on the impact of climate change on corals and I am passionate about science communication with the non-research community. This trip is a chance to learn directly from communities who are dealing with the realities of rapidly changing environments every day. The education program will help sailors connect with schools from around the world and share these experiences so that we can learn from each other.
The Blue Planet Odyssey sailors will have come from all over the world and there will be families with school age children sailing in all of the Odyssey events, which will give pupils in participating schools a unique opportunity to discover what is it like to sail around the world as a child and see through their eyes some of the most remote and endangered parts of our planet.
Among the places we will visit include San Blas in the Atlantic Ocean; Tuvalu, Tokelau, Tuamotus and the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean. This global event will also highlight the effects of climate change on the Arctic icecap, the Great Barrier Reef and the Galapagos Islands, the Maldive and Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean all of which lie on the Blue Planet Odyssey route.
The educational program will focus on the key issues and threats to the oceans:
- Climate change: changing weather patterns, increased incidence of extreme weather events
- Changing oceans: sea ice melt, rising sea levels threatening low-lying coasts and islands
- Ocean acidification: damage to coral reefs and malformation of shells
- Marine wildlife: the impact on seabirds, cetaceans and fisheries, migration patterns and numbers
- Plastic pollution: large plastic debris at sea and on coastlines; microscopic particles entering the food chain.
The Blue Planet Odyssey invites schools, teachers and individuals to participate in the education program in a variety of ways. Anyone interested in education and the Ocean can sail with the Odyssey virtually by signing up to our education program, and follow our events.
You will be able to:
- Follow the stories of the Odyssey sailors and the people they meet via online films, yacht satellite trackers, blogs, newsletters and social media
- Make links to other schools and to Q&As with experts
- Create real-life links with schools around the world as sailors take part in local community projects
- Get resource packs containing souvenir Blue Planet Log magazines and other materials
- Download resources for the classroom on the most urgent issues facing our oceans as well as profiles of the key places en route
To find out more visit the Blue Planet Odyssey website