Ocean health: Burling and Tuke to front UN

New Zealand yachting stars Peter Burling, left, and Blair Tuke continue to push for ocean health at the highest of levels through their Live Ocean foundation. Photo: Live Ocean.

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have enlisted the support of international sporting superstars as they get set to front the United Nations in Portugal on Sunday over growing concerns about the alarming state of the world’s oceans.

The double America’s Cup winners and Olympic champion sailors are co-founders of Live Ocean and are using their increasingly effective platform as a voice for change.

They have launched “Voices For A Healthy Ocean” – a declaration signed by leading local and international sporting and ocean communities.

Burling and Tuke will personally present this to the United Nations’ World Ocean Conference this weekend.

Gathering for the first time in five years the conference will be attended by heads of government and state, along with representatives from the scientific and private sectors.

The aim is to chart a new course to ensure the protection and conservation of the oceans “to avert catastrophic consequences for the planet”.

The impressive list of athletes supporting the Kiwi push include French Open tennis winner Ana Ivanovic, double world surfing champion John John Florence, All Blacks captain Sam Cane, American Olympic swimmer Elizabeth Biesel, and a long list of yachting stars headed by America’s Cup winner Jimmy Spithill and British double Olympic champion Hannah Mills.

"The science is clear the ocean is changing very rapidly but both attitudes and policy aren’t keeping pace,” says Sally Paterson, chief executive of Live Ocean Foundation.

“The people who have signed this declaration have platforms of their own they’re already using or are prepared to use to move this agenda forward. This is an all-hands-on deck moment, and we need to respond with urgency and focus.”

The “Voices For A Healthy Ocean” initiative is committed to start conversations, raise awareness, and share stories to:

- Recognise the key role that science and the ocean-based solutions it informs, play in addressing climate change.

- Share an integrated vision for all water – from source to sea, all water, rivers, lakes, coastal seas, and the ocean are connected, and climate solutions interlinked. We support healthy and productive water that sustains life both above and below the surface.

- Recognise the importance of knowledge held by indigenous peoples and coastal communities to ensure our shared needs and interests are addressed for the potential and survival of the ocean.

- Raise awareness on the need for greater ecosystems protection and importance of ecosystems restoration.

- Support and share knowledge and solutions that work to meet targets set out within SDG14 – life below water and SDG6 – clean water and sanitation by 2030.

Burling and Tuke continue to work hard on their environmental causes while still sailing at the top level.

They head New Zealand’s entry in SailGP with Live Ocean on their wingsail and are signed on with Team New Zealand looking to win a hat-trick of America’s Cups at Barcelona 2024.

They recently launched Live Ocean racing to promote women’s sailing.

New Zealand won SailGP’s inaugural Impact League which tracks the positive actions teams take to reduce their overall footprint and help accelerate inclusivity in sailing, and lead the current competition in season three.

-Stuff/Duncan Johnstone.




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