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Environmental Plan Update

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Published 14:44 on 31 Mar 2020

ENVIRONMENTAL PLAN UPDATE

Famous anthropologist Margaret Mead once said "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." These words rang true when ESC held its environment day on 7th March. What had started out as a simple request for a recycling bin for the clubhouse the year before, snow balled into a full blown plan to make our club sustainable.

Alongside enthusiastic members of all ages, we were joined by Kate Fortnam - RYA Green Blue Campaign Manager, Bianca Carr - The Final Straw, Val Davies and Chris Clode - The Friends of Chichester Harbour and Richard Austin from the Chichester Harbour Conservancy. To add to the excitement, BBC South Today contacted me late on Friday saying reporter Sean Killick would be along to film. Despite the short notice, we took it in our stride and swung into action. You would never have guessed we had so little time to prepare.

With a packed clubhouse Jane Scott spoke about her love of the Harbour and how we can work together to protect it. I followed talking about what we as a club had already achieved and what we were planning in the future. There were some concerns as I spoke about a war on SUPs - but in environmental terms this means Single Use Plastics! Thankfully Ollie's Herculean efforts means we have already phased out single use plastic bottles, cups, packets of sugar and individually wrapped biscuits. Trigger pull spray nozzles have been fitted to hoses to save water and the original recycling bin that inspired all this, has since been joined by some 'buddies' outside!

There were two highlights of the day for me, the first was when junior member Harry Slight read the moving poem 'Ark' by Simon Armitage. Harry read this so eloquently, with a confidence that belied his youth. Several of us, including Kate Fortnam from the RYA, had lumps in our throat as he finished. I do encourage you all to read this beautiful poem. The second highlight was seeing the wonderful cake Ollie had made to celebrate our event. It looked far too beautiful to eat, however with a room full of hungry juniors and club members its fate was sealed!

Since then, like the majority of members, I've been stuck at home experiencing 'saltwater withdrawal symptoms'. However the sunny side to this is I have more time to devote to our environmental plan. In the last few days I've been looking into waste management, seeing if we can recycle more and reduce general waste to a minimum. Good news for the environment, and with higher taxes on general waste, good news for the club's bank account. As we move ahead we will adopt RYA guidelines on running greener sailing events and look at the products we procure, to select those that have a lower environmental impact. Some areas will be challenging - reducing energy use and investigating whether we can introduced renewable energy technology. However many of you, with more knowledge than I have, have since come on board and are offering to help the environment team.

I am proud of what ESC is doing, and it was lovely that Jane received this from Chris Preston, RYA chair, "Many congratulations on Emsworth Sailing Club's environmental initiative which I saw featured on regional TV last night. Sustainability is vital to our sport and all marine activities and life and it was wonderful to see the lead your Club has taken and the way you have involved the young sailors in helping to achieve it. Well done to you and everyone involved".

On our own ESC won't save the planet. But like that original recycling bin - that led to a plan, our efforts have already begun to snowball. Other clubs in the Harbour have contacted us asking for help following our 'green' footsteps. Kate Fortnam (RYA Green Blue) wants us to share our story of how we make progress going green. As soon as the lockdown is over, we are planning to bring local clubs together with Kate to share ideas.

Please do see our environment plan as 'work in progress' and I encourage all members, who would like to help us, to get in touch. We need your support and ideas! As Antarctic explorer Robert Swan said, "The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it."

Peggy Field

Read "Emsworth Sailing Club launches its pioneering environmental initiative"

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