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Kelvin Boot and Conrad Humphreys
Be blue - be cool
By Laura Joint
Devon yachtsman Conrad Humphreys is spearheading a new project aimed at spreading the message that we can all do our bit for the environment.
Blue Project - the aims
1) Restore our oceans: By preserving coral reefs, reducing waste, caring for species.
2) Manage our water: By conserving supplies.
3) Be carbon neutral: By changing our lifestyles to reduce carbon footprint.
4) Recycle more.
5) Reduce harmful emissions which are being pumped into the air and sea.
6) Care for our planet: "It is our life support system - the only one we have."
A new campaign to increase awareness about the plight of the planet has been launched in Plymouth, with the hope that the word will be spread across Britain and beyond.
Be Blue Be Cool is spearheaded by Plymouth's internationally known racing yachtsman, Conrad Humphreys.
The project was launched at Plymouth's National Marine Aquarium, which has teamed up with Conrad in the campaign.
The Be Blue Be Cool message is emblazoned on Conrad's new boat, Extreme 40.
Extreme 40 - the fastest and most powerful 40ft catamaran in the world - will be visiting some of the world's major ports in 2007, as Conrad competes in high-profile races.
Conrad won the gruelling BT Global Challenge in 2000-1, and came 5th in the 2004 Transat Race. He then finished 7th in the no-holds-barred Vendee Globe Race in 2004-5.
Conrad has seen the changes at first hand
He has seen at first hand the effect of climate change caused by carbon emissions. Sea conditions have become stormier because of changes in the weather.
Conrad and the aquarium are hoping the project will be adopted by the people of Plymouth, and by other major sportsmen and adventurers.
The message is that we can all do our bit for the environment - and the seas, in particular.
Some 70% of the planet is made up of oceans, which is why the Earth is blue when viewed from space - hence the campaign slogan.
Conrad says Plymouth, with its pioneering past and maritime links, is ideally placed to be at the forefront of such an ambitious project.
"We have the National Marine Aquarium, the Plymouth Marine Laboratory and the Marine Biological Association right on our doorstep. And we have the Met Office-Hadley Centre just up the road.
"I want Plymouth to be the first 'Blue' city, that leads a wave across the country. Can Plymouth become carbon neutral? Can we send a message to corporations and businesses that we can make a difference?
"It's we, as consumers, who drive things."
The MSC incident - a 'timely reminder'
The director of the National Marine Aquarium, Kelvin Boot, says the seas are the key to our future.
"The human race sees the sea as a huge treasure chest from which we can take, take, take. And we think it can sustain everything we chuck into it.
"We now know these theories are very, very wrong. The future of the planet is in the blue bit.
"If you want to think of the future, you've got to think blue.
"The incident at Branscombe (the grounding of MSC Napoli) is a timely reminder of the fragility of our seas. It's a concern locally as well as globally.
"The balance is tipping - there's no doubt about it. Our oceans are changing.
"Last year, 2006, was the year when the world woke up and in 2007, the momentum is gathering."
He says it's not too late to make lifestyle changes which will help to address the problem.
"It would be wrong to say it's going to be easy, but we want to stand up to be counted."
last updated: 28/03/2008 at 16:19