Update From Ian Thompson, SOS Ocean Racing, Australia

No Plastic Bags Campaign
Ian Thomson
PBBR reported last year about Ian Thompson of Australia setting a world record for the Fastest Solo Circumnavigation of Australia. Before setting the world record, PBBR did a story about Ian. What does this have to do with plastic bag bans?

Well, Ian set the record to bring attention to the problems that plastic bags cause in the oceans around his homeland. Ian has personally seen the devastation to the turtle population, caused by turtles consuming plastic bags.

Since the record-setting journey, Ian has been busy bringing attention to plastic bags. He has also been busy getting ready for another trip around Australia.

Here is an update from Ian:

Here at Save Our Seas we are continuing our campaign to raise awareness of the damage plastic bags and plastics are doing to our environment. We are succeeding in our mission with countless people now more aware than ever of the issues plastic bags and plastics are causing to the environment. The Whitsunday Council recently asked for local opinion on the matter which is a further step towards a ban being put in place. Tasmania, NT and WA are all putting in place some kind of ban. Overseas, Italy just banned non-biodegradable bags. Considering they were the largest user of bags in the Europe (400 p/p a year), this is a giant step forward. The Eastern states of Australia need to act and we will be putting pressure on all of them, however our main focus is now turning to educating the youth through our schools program.

On the water, well things are looking fantastic. Having conquered the solo around Australia record last year to launch the campaign, Save our Seas Ocean Racing have now joined forces with Jim Cooney who owns Brindabella, Australia's most famous racing yacht. We are now putting together a campaign to take her and a full crew of 18 around Australia to break the monohull world record. The plan is the same as last year where we will use the Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race at Easter to warm up for the venture and then we will head back to Sydney where we plan to take off in the first available weather window after May 5th. All the details are at www.sosoceanracing.com

This campaign is sure to launch Save Our Seas into the next phase and one of the keys behind this campaign is to continue my program in schools. I have been talking at lots of schools throughout Australia and educating the youth. It is a great part of the program and something I have found very rewarding. Ensuring these students know the dangers of plastic bags and plastic ensures they won't use them and they also take this message home to friends and family. During our Around Australia record, we will run an interactive program on our website where classes or individuals can follow our progress and learn as they go of some history of places we pass, environmental highlights and also of the dangers these parts face.

Once back from the campaign we want to travel Australia to talk at as many schools as possible. Part of the problem we have faced in the past is paying for the travel expenses and we have had to ask the schools to pay a small fee to help me get by, however we want to travel to schools free of charge and in order to do this, we have to raise funds. We are still seeking sponsors for our campaign so if you are in a position to help, then please touch base with us to discuss what we can offer. Even if you know someone who maybe interested, please let us know. On a personal basis, you can help too. We have now got ourselves an online shop where we offer products that are alternatives to plastics.

For instance we have two ranges of Stainless Steel drink bottles online. Both are great alternatives to your every day plastic bottles. With recent statistics quoting that the production and recycling of plastic bottles in Australia, just for bottled water, now produce in excess of 60,000 tonnes of green house gases (the same as 13,000 cars on the road for a year) we need to reduce the amount of plastic bottles we are using. Buying yourself a S/S drink bottle is a great way to help. If you are on a boat and you always find yourself buying lots of bottles of water each day of sailing, why not buy a large container of water (cheaper and less plastic) and then buy these bottles and refill them. It will save you plenty of cash and more importantly it will save the environment. In the office, buy a S/S bottle and fill it up from the drink fountain.

Or even better, you can purchase one of the new AquaGen units that produce water from the air around you. These guys have just come on as a sponsor and their units are perfect for home or office. They can produce up to 30 liters of clean, purified water daily from the very air around you. Better still it can output that water either hot or cold. These are perfect for the small office or even around your home. As a special, they have offered exclusively to supporters of SOS, free postage and shipping anywhere in Australia.

Other items available include green bags from EcoSilk, S/S lunchboxes, DVD's, Books, a range of SOS gear and memberships and Gill clothing.

To visit our shop go to www.saveourseasaustralia.com and click on the link on the RHS of any page.

We have also applied for a grant through the Sunsuper's Dreams program. Currently they are running a program on their website and offering $5,000 grants to the top 5 vote getters. Currently we are running in the top 10 but this is not good enough to get one of these grants. We need everyone to go to the website via the link below and click on my dream which is to educate the youth on the dangers of plastic bags and plastics. Please tell your friends about this too as the more votes I get the more likely we are to get one of these grants which would allow us to plan our school trip for later this year and head out on the road. To vote simply go to http://sunsuperdreams.com.au/dream/view/educate-our-youth-on-plastic-pollution-dangers and click on the 'Like' button. If you would share it on Facebook, Twitter and via e-mail, it will all help. There are links at the bottom of the webpage for this.

Thank you for your support of Save Our Seas both in the past and in the future. Over the coming months leading into our World Record attempt, there will be plenty happening so be sure to visit our websites at www.saveourseasaustralia.com or our racing site at www.sosoceanracing.com.

Kind regards,
Ian Thomson
Save Our Seas Australia
Awareness, Alternatives & Action

SOS Ocean Racing

One Response to "Update From Ian Thompson, SOS Ocean Racing, Australia"

  1. Mary Lonergan   2011/02/23 at 2:13 pm

    What a great effort you are making. We too work with schools, mostly in the U.S., and offer free online educational tools on the wastefulness of disposable plastic and the need to keep our tap water clean. Together, we all really can make a difference!

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