Mckee Minute: Clean Up Our Act

Sailing World - - Starting Line America's Cup -

Wa­ter is our el­e­ment, our play­ing field, and we should ac­knowl­edge the im­por­tance of its pu­rity. Sail­ing is an ac­tiv­ity di­rectly con­nected to na­ture. It’s a unique and deep con­nec­tion. Sailors di­rectly ben­e­fit from clean wa­ter, but we also have a larger re­spon­si­bil­ity to pro­tect our right to clean wa­ter.

I’ve been lucky enough to race in venues with pris­tine race­courses. Sar­dinia and An­tigua come to mind. But I’ve ex­pe­ri­enced places with sig­nif­i­cant wa­ter-qual­ity is­sues, like Cor­pus Christi, Texas, and Rio de Janeiro. It’s a dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence. Sail­ing is not as fun in dirty wa­ter. The fish and birds aren’t happy about it ei­ther. We know a lot more about where wa­ter pol­lu­tion comes from, its im­pacts and pre­ven­tion. Every venue has its chal­lenges.

Preser­va­tion re­quires en­force­ment of ex­ist­ing laws, in­clud­ing the Clean Wa­ter Act. Busi­nesses that profit from pol­lut­ing the wa­ter should be held ac­count­able. Ris­ing ocean tem­per­a­tures and acid­i­fi­ca­tion are on­go­ing con­cerns. Even my na­tive Puget Sound is deal­ing with lost habi­tat, re­duced sal­mon runs, agri­cul­tural runoff, and in­con­sis­tent storm-wa­ter man­age­ment.

We are in a unique po­si­tion to ad­vo­cate for clean-wa­ter poli­cies, and for each of us to do our small part. I have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to leave our bays, lakes and seas bet­ter than when I found them. It is a moral im­per­a­tive for me to at least try. For sailors, wa­ter qual­ity is an ex­pected is­sue and one that af­fects us both ma­te­ri­ally and phys­i­cally. Think about do­ing more: Vol­un­teer for a beach cleanup, do­nate money (or even bet­ter, your time) to a lo­cal non­profit, and sup­port com­mon­sense en­force­ment and leg­is­la­tion. We might be com­peti­tors on the race­course, but we must be on the same team to pro­tect our pre­cious play­ing fields. — Jonathan Mckee

Sail­ing needs clean wa­ter.

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