News article

Open Planet teams up with sailing greats to confront climate change

December 14 2023

British Olympic sailors Sir Ben Ainslie and Hannah Mills OBE have collaborated with Open Planet to call on other athletes to empower and equip young people, educators and schools with the knowledge required to tackle climate action.

Open Planet teams up with sailing greats to confront climate change

Open Planet is an open source platform of footage demonstrating the changes caused by global warming and the climate crisis.

Through the sport-inspired charity 1851 Trust (which was co-founded by Ainslie in 2014) schools will be provided with resources and tools, to measure and reduce their environmental impact while taking positive action. The collaboration between Open Planet and the 1851 Trust will help to support young people in using their voice to inspire others concerning the climate emergency. 

On Youth Day at COP28 in Dubai, Mills, along with Kenyan Olympic gold medallist Eliud Kipchoge, British skier Chemmy Alcott and Saudi rower Husein Alizera, shared climate stories to inspire young people to take action. 

The educational resource will be called ‘Use your Voice’ and will form part of a library of science-based climate education lesson plans developed by the 1851 Trust climate education programme, Protect Our Future. The resources will use the climate actions made by athletes and sport to inspire young people by providing relatable role models. 

“I love the ocean. It produces half of the oxygen we breathe and helps regulate our climate – but it’s also full of plastic,” said Mills. “I’ve taken action to cut out single-use plastic and to clean up our ocean and beaches whenever I can. We can all use our voice to talk about what’s important to us, and how we are taking action to protect our future.”

"We can all use our voice to talk about what’s important to us, and how we are taking action to protect our future.”  Hannah Mills OBE

Kipchoge has helped to restore habitats by planting trees, Alcott has cut down on meat consumption and considered other transport options to reduce her carbon footprint, while Olympic rower Alizera highlighted his passion for saving energy.

Colin Butfield, Director of Open Planet, added: “We hope educators across the world will use Open Planet to empower young people to tell stories that can inspire change and optimism. Storytelling has never been more important than in this critical decade for climate action, and now young people everywhere can access thousands of incredible, world-class film clips to help bring their stories to life.”

The new climate resources were launched at The UK Pavilion at COP28 in Dubai, which was also providing the backdrop for the latest round in SailGP. The Emirates Great Britain Sail Grand Prix Team welcomed 160 young people from across Dubai to its base for Protect Our Future lessons.

“Climate change is happening right in front of us and the clock is ticking for people to take action,” said Ainslie at the partnership launch at COP28.

“Athletes and sports in general have huge influential power and it’s time that platform was used for good. Through the 1851 Trust and the Protect Our Future education programme, we hope athletes will help us to inspire the next generation through their own climate action. We are thrilled to have partnered with Open Planet giving schools, educators and young people access to their world class footage of our changing world.”

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