How Green is our Sport
Not the first time this has been aired.
But with the Bali conference underway there is press coverage of all angles here in Australia where for instance a major daily newspaper ran an article on the 'surfing industry'. The line was that the production of hard core surfing gear (boards, wet suits etc) is in reality only a fraction of the turnover of the major surfing brands. Their main income lines are from fashion clothing & accessories where the environmental footprint is suspect especially as most manufacture is outsourced to nations with lax environmental standards.
Over the years WS production has become more automated under controlled conditions as the materials used are toxic in their plastic form. The cottage end of the industry has declined which is good because of the risks to WS board builder's health (cancer etc).
Having got our hands on the gear the sailing bit is environmentally neutral (wind power is good eh) and I suspect most people sail locally thus keeping pollution from the transport by car or air to a minimum (drive less & sail more).
My gut reaction is that the WS industry and the sport are very low on the environmental radar. That said, more and more human activities are going to come under scrutiny for their environmental impacts. So is there anything that the WS community (producers, users, event organisers etc) can/should be doing to improve/demonstrate its already sound environmental credentials?
I'm guessing that the real problems come from traveling to holiday destinations, driving or flying long distances. My suggestion to minimise the carbon effect per day of sailing is to go for longer holidays!
Which raises the issue with destinations. Generally we can look forwad to milder cold seasons; good. But if the macro climate change predictions are correct there will be rising sea levels that will impact on many WS coastal areas especially island sites. Storm damage may become more frequent. An unknown is the way weather patterns might change the geography of WS sites, but there will be change. While the 'science' is supposedly 'in', the fine detail is work in progress. No doubt we will adapt in ways not yet thought about and that would impact on the nature of gear choices too?
Kayaks are probably have less impact on the environment. But, the impact of windsurfing on the environment is very low compared with jetskis or power boats.
WS waste disposal.
Does anybody know of what happens to the old boards and equipment we discard?
Personally, i've never had to dispose of an old board as I have sold most of my old equipment, and the things I haven't sold, are still in my garage.
At my sailing club in Greece, i have counted more than 15 discarded old broken cracked or just obsolete boards thrown in a heap. At six or seven other clubs that i've been to i've seen similar scenes of discarded equipment.
Has anyone else seen old gear just left to rot?
Does anyone know of the best way to dispose of this gear?
Is recycling out of the question?
Wouldn't the responsible disposal of possibly 100,000's of old boards (world wide) be another way that windsurfers (not just GREEK one's) could be more environmentally aware?
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