Big change will only happen when human beings begin to realize that wasting energy and destroying the environment is sinful, that it is a CRIME to throw away a bit of plastic.

My real GOING GREEN Aha moment occurred when walking up the windward beach near Salt Island in the Turks and Caicos a few years ago.

I literally couldn’t walk a step without stepping on a piece of plastic. Between plastic bottles, containers, six-pack carriers, plastic bags and other stuff, it absolutely and suddenly came to me – what are we doing to this beautiful ocean of ours?

I mean that on this desolate little island, literally in the back of beyond, there was garbage everywhere, and not just the kind that disappears or is absorbed by the elements over time, oh no, I mean real stuff that is going to be with us for literally hundreds of years. And this is only scratching the surface of the problem.

If you have ever seen a commercial fishing net hauled in, or if you have ever actually seen a cormorant or other seabird caught in a six-pack soft drink holder or with its feathers covered in oil or even if you have had your dinghy prop neatly wrapped up in a plastic bag you know exactly what I mean. Have you ever snorkeled or dived on a reef and seen it literally full of garbage thrown overboard from charter yachts?

This is not something that’s going to go away without human intervention. Plastic is not going to magically disappear. We created the product and the problem, we need to start fixing it and NOW.  The UN estimates that today approximately half the world’s population is now urbanized. Apart from rats and pigeons, most have probably never seen a wild animal.

How are these people supposed to act?  They do not understand that we are all part of the same eco-system that sustains us.  There is light at the end of the tunnel, however, as David Attenborough, the BBC’s most respected naturalist and environmental spokesperson says: It is surprising how fast pennies can drop. Big change will only happen when human beings begin to realize that wasting energy and destroying the environment is sinful, that it is a CRIME to throw away a bit of plastic. Nonetheless, it’s a moral issue. A hundred and eighty years ago it was acceptable to keep other human beings a s slaves. The shift in moral perception and attitude against slavery was remarkably swift. There has to be a comparable change now in attitudes about the environment.

As a stakeholder with an important economic investment in maintaining the clarity and purity of our marine environment with its incredible and diverse eco-systems, the charter industry in its own modest way is taking a proactive role in trying to minimize and eventually eliminate the use of plastic containers for the provisioning of charter yachts worldwide.

American Yacht’s brokers are active supporter and members of the Charter Yacht Brokers Association (CYBA). This organization recently instituted a GOING GREEN process of recognizing charter yachts that are making serious efforts to eliminate the use of plastic water bottles and moving their energy sources to more efficient technologies such as solar power in the form of wind generators and solar panels.

CYBA kicked off this program in 2011 at the Tortola Charter Yacht Show and then again at the Antigua charter yacht show where we distributed aluminum water bottles to all attendees and asked the yachts to simply re-fill them for us when we ran out of water.

No, we should not trumpet this small and simple contribution, BUT IT’S a START. We need  to create an awareness among our constituency, including yacht owners, yachting and marine provisioning suppliers, crews, brokers and agents and even the charter clients themselves that unless we do something, and do it NOW, this ain’t gonna last forever.

Our children and grandchildren will never be able to experience the pristine waters, secluded beaches and diverse wildlife that we enjoy today unless we take our awareness and corrective action to a higher level.

Please support CYBA and it’s small but growing environmental activity by booking your charter with a CYBA member / broker, hopefully you’ll choose us, but I’ll settle for a cleaner environment regardless!

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