Mirpuri Foundation is “Racing For The Planet” to put Climate Change on the global agenda.
In recent years we have all watched as extreme weather conditions and rising sea levels have caused great hardship for millions of people around the world. We are told that if we do not take action on climate change, that our planet’s surface temperature could rise by three degrees, bringing as yet unquantifiable destruction and suffering to the people and animals that call Planet Earth their home. So that is why the Mirpuri Foundation is “Racing For The Planet”.
The Mirpuri Foundation believes that sailing is a sport that brings people closer to the Oceans. Through the Mirpuri Foundations’ ‘Turn the Tide on Plastic’ campaign in the 2017-18 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race, we were part of a global movement against plastic pollution – and now we are increasing our commitment even further by entering a team in the next edition of one of the world’s most prestigious sailing events, focused on raising awareness and driving meaningful action on climate change.
We need to #StopClimateChange
United Nations states that Climate Change is the defining issue of our time and we are at that defining moment, right now!
From shifting weather patterns that threaten food production, to rising sea levels that increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, the impacts of climate change are global in scope and unprecedented in scale. Without drastic action today, adapting to these impacts in the future will be more difficult and costly to achieve.
Greenhouse gases occur naturally and are essential to the survival of humans and millions of other living things, by keeping some of the sun’s warmth from reflecting back into space and making Earth habitable.
But, after more than a century and a half of industrialization, deforestation, and large scale agriculture, quantities of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have risen to record levels not seen in three million years. As populations, economies and standards of living grow, so does the cumulative level of greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was set up by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and United Nations Environment to provide an objective source of scientific information. In 2013 the IPCC provided more clarity about the role of human activities in climate change when it released its Fifth Assessment Report. It is categorical in its conclusion: climate change is real and human activities are the main cause.
The Fifth Assessment Report
The Fifth Assessment Report also provides a comprehensive assessment of sea level rise, and its causes, over the past few decades. It also estimates cumulative CO2 emissions since pre-industrial times and provides a CO2 ‘budget’ for future emissions to limit warming to less than 2°C. Worryingly, about half of this maximum amount was already emitted by 2011.
The report found that:
- From 1880 to 2012, the average global temperature increased by 0.85°C.
- Oceans have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished and the sea level has risen. From 1901 to 2010, global average sea levels rose by 19 cm as oceans expanded due to warming and melting ice. The sea ice in the Arctic has shrunk in every successive decade since 1979, with 1.07 × 106 km² of ice loss per decade.
- Given current concentrations and ongoing emissions of greenhouse gases, it is likely that by the end of this century global mean temperature will continue to rise above pre-industrial levels. The world’s oceans will warm and ice melt will continue. Average sea level rise is predicted to be 24–30 cm by 2065 and 40–63 cm by 2100 relative to the reference period of 1986–2005. Most aspects of climate change will persist for many centuries, even if emissions are stopped now.
There is alarming evidence that important tipping points, leading to irreversible changes in major ecosystems and the planet’s climate system, may already have been reached or even surpassed. Ecosystems as diverse as the Amazon rainforest and the Arctic tundra, may be approaching thresholds of dramatic change through warming and drying. Mountain glaciers are in alarming retreat and the downstream effects of reduced water supply in the driest months will have repercussions that transcend generations.
In October 2018 the IPCC issued a special report on the impacts of global warming, finding that limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society. With clear benefits to people and natural ecosystems and ensuring a more sustainable and equitable society. While previous estimates focused on estimating the damage if average temperatures were to rise above 2°C, the report shows that, alarmingly, many of the adverse impacts of climate change will actually become apparent at the 1.5°C mark.
The report also highlights a number of climate change impacts that could be avoided by limiting global warming to 1.5ºC compared to 2ºC, or more. For instance, by 2100, global sea level rise would be 10 cm lower at the 1.5°C mark, compared with 2°C. The likelihood of an Arctic Ocean free of sea ice in summer would be once per century with global warming of 1.5°C, compared with at least once per decade at 2°C. Coral reefs would decline by 70-90 percent with global warming of 1.5°C, whereas up to 99% could be lost at 2ºC change.
But, to limit global warming to 1.5°C would require “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45 percent by 2030 from levels recorded in 2010, and then reaching ‘net zero’ by 2050. This means that any remaining emissions would need to be balanced by removing CO2 from the air.
Source: United Nations
The creation of a high-profile Ocean Racing Team.
With the promotion of marine conservation as one of the founding principles of the Mirpuri Foundation, the creation of a high-profile ocean racing team is seen as an imaginative and effective means of assisting the Foundation to carry its central message on the real perils currently facing our oceans and sea life to the four corners of the earth.
It is also seen as a means of attracting significant international publicity for the campaign to keep our oceans, and their wellbeing, at the forefront of public consciousness.
Inspired by President of the Mirpuri Foundation, Paulo Mirpuri’s respect for the ocean led to the creation of the Mirpuri Foundation Sailing Academy in Cascais, Portugal in 2017. The Academy’s purpose is to inspire local youngsters to share Mirpuri’s passion for the sea and protect it for future generations.
But it was the spectacular success of the first two international ocean sustainability campaigns, the Atlantic Crossing “Save the Ocean” and the Volvo Ocean Race “Turn The Tide on Plastic” campaigns that really paved the way for the creation of the Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team.
The Mirpuri Foundation joined the Volvo Ocean Race in 2017-18 as the Principal Sustainability Partner as well as the Founding Partner of the ‘Turn the Tide on Plastic’ Boat and Racing Team.
The campaign was about promoting sustainability both in and out of the water. And in particular about the very serious problem of the large quantities of plastic that are ending up in our oceans every day. The Campaign sparked a global movement against plastic pollution to restore ocean health, that has continued well beyond the end of the race.
"Turn The Tide on Plastic" was a hugely successful project, creating a powerful legacy.
The ‘Turn the Tide on Plastic’ team carried the Clean Seas message, with its clear and simple message to act now against throwaway plastic pollution clearly emblazoned on the racing boats hull and sails. The around-the-world race was already one of the world’s most challenging competitions, but the added pledge to run the most sustainable race ever, drastically reduce use of plastics and, in doing so, to change mindsets around the world, was an incredible event to be involved in. It showed a vision that encompassed the entirety of the plastic problem, from the disposable bottle in a spectator’s hand to the tiny microplastics identified in the Oceans that threaten wildlife far out at sea, and the Mirpuri Foundation was determined to share its vision with the world. And share it the Foundation did.
Working in partnership with the United Nations.
Along the way, the Foundation set out to tackle plastic use in the race villages (12 cities across six continents), devised compelling educational programmes, and organised groundbreaking scientific research in some of the world’s remotest waters.
Working in partnership with the United Nations, the Foundation’s aim was to amplify the Clean Seas campaign with a view to turning the toxic tide of marine plastic pollution.
And the Mirpuri Foundation saw its efforts pay off. The race’s plastic footprint was estimated at 21.3 tonnes, with 17.7 tonnes recovered, including 2.6 tonnes of soft plastics. Water refill points meant around 388,000 single-use plastic bottles were avoided and some 20,000 people signed up to UN Environment’s Clean Seas pledge.
And, somewhere within that incredible event, the idea to establish the Mirpuri Foundation Racing team finally took shape.
Paulo Mirpuri is somebody who is used to making things happen. So once he decided to establish a team for the race, it was all hands on deck at the Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team, and so it will remain until his objective is attained. Paulo Mirpuri will do everything that he can to build an aggressive and powerful team with one target in mind: winning the race!
The Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team will carry the Foundation’s messages on marine conservation around the world. Hopefully, all the way to the winner's podium.
The Mirpuri Foundation was the principal sustainability partner for the 2017-18 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race, as well as the founding partner for the “Turn the Tide on Plastic” team.
The Mirpuri Foundation founded one of the seven teams competing in the 2017-18 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race. It was named “Turn the Tide on Plastic” - a strong message for ocean sustainability. In addition, the team helped to raise awareness on the United Nations “Clean Seas” campaign.
The “Turn the Tide on Plastic” Team went well beyond their sustainability message, by also promoting fundamental values such as gender equality and by including younger sailors on the team. The boat was the only one in the race with a female skipper, crewed by an equal number of men and women, and had the highest number of crew members under the age of 30.
The team was also the only one to compete without a commercial message. Instead it emphasized a purely environmental discourse, making audiences and fans of the race aware of the harmful consequences resulting from the use of disposable plastics by taking part in conferences, workshops and beach cleanups in the cities it passed through.
Joining efforts for a better world.
Together, the two organizations implemented sustainability and science programs aimed at helping to avoid plastics continuing to pollute the oceans. The joint effort maximised the impact the message had on host cities, while at the same time minimizing any negative impact on the smaller towns they visited. These programs aspired to leave a positive legacy for the future health of our oceans.
As a Portuguese based organization, the participation of the Mirpuri Foundation in the race opened a new chapter in Portuguese maritime history and directly contributed to creating a new generation of ocean sailors. For the first time in the history of the Volvo Ocean Race, two Portuguese sailors - Bernardo Freitas and Frederico Melo - were part of a team, competing on board a boat that carried the Portuguese flag in this iconic race for the first time.
The Mirpuri Foundation expects that the 2021-22 race will build on the experience of the previous Race and that results will be even better given its increased involvement, and that the Ocean Race will not only continue to lead sustainability in sport, but set the example. The Mirpuri Foundation is also pleased that the important Ocean Summits series which go hand in hand with the race, are set to expand even further.
Above all, the Mirpuri Foundation expects to consolidate the large wave created against plastic pollution, which it helped to build during the last race. The public is now much better educated on the perils of plastic and how each one of us can play our part to turn the tide on plastic, for a better world.
- A Groundbreaking Science Program
- An Inspiring Education Program
A Groundbreaking Science Program
The Mirpuri Foundation inspires through innovation, and has developed a science program, which consists of comprehensive data gathering, sailor activities on and off the water, and involving the scientific community in order to find solutions to solve the most urgent ocean health issues of our time.
During the previous edition of the Race, the “Turn the Tide on Plastic” boat carried innovative onboard scientific equipment to collect water samples which were tested for the presence of microplastics in our oceans. Reaching some of the most remote regions on the planet, places where most scientists have never been before, this technology allowed us to build an in-depth and unprecedented analysis of the health of the oceans, map the most affected zones and prove that microplastics are in fact present in the oceans in all four corners of the globe.
In addition to detecting the presence of plastic, the boats also gathered oceanographic data such as water temperatures, dissolved CO2 levels, salinity and chlorophyll in algae. In parallel, 30 scientific buoys, deployed during the race, transmitted data essential to forecasting changes in weather and climate. Information which is now being used by the World Meteorological Organization and UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission.
This equipment showed the world that microplastics exist even in places like Point Nemo, which is the point on earth the farthest away from land in any direction and closer to the humans working in the International Space Station than to any people on the planet! And, even there, 26 particles of microplastic per cubic meter were registered.
An Inspiring Education Program
The Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team sailors will be leading by example and doing their best to inspire children all over the world.
The Mirpuri Foundation intends to not only leave the planet a better place for future generations but also create a lasting legacy when it comes to sustainability.
Educating young people on the current perils faced by our world is at the heart of our Foundation and the sailors will be an active part of our “Racing for the Planet” Education Program, which will take place throughout the world during the next edition of the race.
A set of educational modules have been developed, aimed at children between the ages of six and twelve. In a simple, fun and informative manner, these modules unveil the emotion of sailing and teach children about the importance of oceans and their conservation.
The classes are designed to furnish children with knowledge about the impact of plastic on marine ecosystems and encourage them to take a personal vow to reduce their pollution footprint. Some children have already been so inspired that not only have they made a promise to make substantial changes in their own lives, they took this message home and encouraged friends and family to also commit to the cause.
The Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team is committed to playing its part in creating a more responsible and sustainable planet by fighting against the very important issues that are plastic pollution and carbon emissions.
We believe that:
What is good for the world is also good for our Team and our own business;
To sustain our success we must protect our greatest resource - the planet;
Our success as a Team depends on our people feeling inspired by their jobs and a sense of greater fulfilment through their connection to nature.
We are a sustainable team
Since its inception, the Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team has worked to ensure that the Team becomes (and remains) one of the world’s leading proponents of sustainability in the sailing world. The Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team seeks to minimise environmental impact by reducing emissions in our own operations and our supply chain, and by extending the lifecycle of products that are used.
A Single-Use Plastic Free Racing Boat!
The Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team replaced all single use plastic onboard our racing boat with compostable alternatives crafted from recycled material.
Additionally, every event we run from media launches, training sessions and racing events, are all held in the most environmentally friendly and sustainable way, minimizing our footprint.
Our goals are:
Truly committed towards our goal of “Turning the Tide on Plastic”, there won’t be any single-use plastics at any point during training, races or events.
Smart Paper Practises
All the paper used for the Team and events is recycled.
Not only the healthier option for our sailors, but organic food has a lower carbon and environmental footprint.
All boat waste will be handled responsibly.
The Foundation will donate all the Teams on-event residual fresh food to institutions, reinforcing the work done through our Social Responsibility programmes.
The Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team organises several workshops, conferences, campaigns and underwater and beach clean up’s in every stopover and also during the pre-race phase, where the our team crew with share the importance of ocean conservation in first-hand, sharing experiences and fan engagement.