The Green Blue environment programme is celebrating its third birthday this week.
Over the last ten years there has been a growing awareness of environmental issues, from pollution to global warming. Backed by the British Marine Federation and the Royal Yachting Association (RYA), the Green Blue environmental programme was developed in response to this and over the last three years has been rolled out across Great Britain.
"We always knew we were somewhat preaching to the converted,"
said Susie TOMSON, Planning and Environment Executive at the RYA, "There was never any question that people didn't care about the environment, after all that is what makes us go out there on the water every opportunity we get. The thing was that there were some changes we could make which would really minimize the impact we were having on the marine environment as boaters, we wanted to give people the best advice possible and let them make the choices."
Three years after its launch, The Green Blue can boast a programme packed full of best practice advice, great publications and useful tools. The Green Blue has been recognised by the British Government and trade associations as being a leading initiative programme.
Sarah BLACK, Project Manager for The Green Blue explained what the last three years have involved. "When the programme began we realized there was no single repository for scientific information about the environmental impacts of recreational boating. We set about creating our own and today we have a database of more than 600 papers relating to all aspects of potential concern, an important resource for gaining credibility, checking our facts and keeping impacts in perspective. The database is updated regularly and we now have an enewsletter to keep people up to date."
Since its launch the The Green Blue has:
- distributed more than 500,000 leaflets, stickers and posters (all on recycled paper, of course).
- attended 15 national boat shows
- spoken at more than 100 events, addressing more than 10,000 people
- worked with clubs to develop the clubs pack, business to develop the business toolkit and boaters to create the boat checklist
- doubled website visitor numbers
BLACK continued, "In response to demand from boaters we developed a new website, The Green Directory. Here businesses offering relevant environmentally friendly products and services can advertise for free. The site offers a one-stop shop for anyone wanting to choose the more environmentally friendly options for boating products. The 'Tried and Tested' section of the website offers advice on issues from antifouling to wash balls and encourages boaters to test the environmental claims as well as the effectiveness of the products and services."
The programme has also received support from some high-profile names in the sport.
"Support from our ambassadors, such as Lady Pippa BLAKE, widow of the late Sir Peter Blake, Mike GOLDING OBE, Dee CAFFARI MBE have ensured we received media coverage," explained BLACK. "But coverage in the media is not everything; we have produced a CD-ROM, 'Into The Green Blue', which pulls together and covers the full range of boating interests from power and sail to narrow boats and cruisers. It will be sent to all clubs and instructors and has resources to keep both kids and adults interested,"
Looking ahead, BLACK also outlined what's next on the agenda. "Our priority is to implement practical solutions for clubs and marine businesses. They tell us they struggle with recycling and waste management issue, so we will work with them on this throughout this year. We are also working on a handbook to help clubs to deal with various environmental management issues,"
The Green Blue - www.thegreenblue.org.uk
ISAF Environment microsite - www.sailing.org/environment