Sir Ben Ainslie and Hannah Mills OBE launch new climate education platform

Great Britain SailGP Team in action onboard their newly branded F50 catamaran along with Great Britain Inspire Racing x WASPZ sailor Hattie Rogers sitting behind Ben Ainslie during a practice session ahead of San Francisco SailGP, Season 2 in San Francisco, USA. 23rd March 2022. Photo: Jed Jacobsohn for SailGP. Handout image supplied by SailGP Great Britain SailGP Team in action onboard their newly branded F50 catamaran along with Great Britain Inspire Racing x WASPZ sailor Hattie Rogers sitting behind Ben Ainslie during a practice session ahead of San Francisco SailGP, Season 2 in San Francisco, USA. 23rd March 2022. Photo: Jed Jacobsohn for SailGP. Handout image supplied by SailGP

A climate education platform, Protect Our Future, was launched by Sir Ben Ainslie, Hannah Mills OBE, and the Great Britain SailGP Team as part of their ambition to help over one million young people take action to protect nature, people, and the planet. The platform was launched with the team’s charity partner, 1851 Trust, and aims to empower and equip young people and educators with skills and knowledge to understand climate science and take positive action.

Ainslie and Mills lead the British team in SailGP, the first global climate-positive sports league, where the teams compete for victory both on and off the water.

The Great Britain SailGP Team aims to use its sporting platform to play its part in the vital action needed to tackle the climate emergency. But change will only be achieved through collaboration, says the Great Britain SailGP Team, and so they will use their influence and voice as they compete across the globe to achieve this ambitious target.

The British team is also launching a new partner programme, COLAB, which brings together companies from different industry sectors to drive positive change, supporting the team’s ambition to win the SailGP Season 3 Impact League. The innovations to emerge from COLAB will feed directly into the education resources on the Protect Our Future platform. The Great Britain and Northern Ireland campaign, of which Ben Ainslie is an ambassador, will help the team achieve their purpose-led goal and take their message to communities around the globe.

Ben Ainslie says: “No one person or company has the answers to the global issues we are facing. Collaboration is key and we want to use our sporting success to work alongside new partners to support our ambition of accelerating change and empowering young people to drive positive impacts in their schools, communities and homes.”

As announced by the UK government late last year, climate and sustainability education is set to become part of the UK school curriculum before 2023. The Protect Our Future climate education platform, an early ‘beta’ version of which has recently launched, aims to inspire and help young people to go beyond the headlines and understand their role in tackling climate change. The Great Britain SailGP Team, together with the 1851 Trust, is now aiming to work with new partners to turn this vision into a reality.

New research among 11 to 16-year-olds commissioned by 1851 Trust and environmental charity Hubbub reveals that more than half of children (51 per cent) are worried about what the planet will be like in the future. The research also found that almost a third (31 per cent) say they are unclear on what measures they can take to be more environmentally friendly, which is acting as a barrier to taking action. Only 17 per cent feel climate change is something they can fix, while 14 per cent said they don’t feel like their actions will make a difference.

Teachers are also feeling similarly at a loss as to what they can do to support learning in this area, with 70 per cent saying they do not feel equipped to teach about climate change effectively.

Hannah Mills, Olympic gold medallist and IOC sustainability ambassador, adds: “Our planet is at a tipping point and young people are the key to protecting its future. We are not doing enough to empower young people. We need to go beyond the climate headlines and equip them with science-based knowledge and understanding.”

Image courtesy of Jed Jacobsohn, SailGP.

SailGP Season 2 culminated this month in San Francisco with Australia winning back-to-back SailGP championships, beating Japan and the United States in the winner-takes-all grand final. 

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This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.

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