Whether boating inland, voyaging at sea, or exploring the countryside, we spend so much time up close to nature that the environment is in our DNA! And because our waterborne activities rely on safe water quality, we’re acutely aware of the importance of healthy ecosystems.
Sadly, being out on the water throughout the summer, we’re able to observe the reality of the changing climate and the growing problem of plastic pollution - particularly in the periods of drought that are so harmful to wildlife.
So, it’s vital that as an organisation, we’re united in calling for urgent action on the environment. Fortunately, we’re ready to lead by example – because we can call upon 14,000 young people who are part of the most environmentally conscious generation in history!
For our cadets, the great outdoors is not just about fun and adventure, it is their life’s passion. They feel a personal responsibility for Planet Earth, knowing that caring for the environment will repay them with a lifetime of opportunities for learning and wonder.
Making a difference
As custodians of our planet, our cadets’ greatest wish is to leave it in a better state for future generations. A huge task, but one that has to start with individuals taking small steps that can make a difference and inspire others. That’s why there was no better way to mark World Environment Day, on 5 June, than by launching a Sea Cadets campaign that will help each and every one of us do our bit.
At the core of our campaign is our ClimateHero Carbon Calculator, which provides an easy way for our cadets, volunteers and employees to calculate their own carbon footprint. This basic information is critical for us all to gain an understanding of our role in creating this crisis, and our ability to help reverse it.
We also unveiled a special tool to help our 401 units assess the carbon impact of their buildings and activities: the Sea Cadets Calculator, designed to encourage our young people and adult volunteers to work together on identifying improvements. With our units constituting the majority of our estate, this exercise will be the main way for Sea Cadets to play our part in cutting the UK’s contribution to climate change.
Both calculators are supported by a new training session on our Programmes Online website, and both offer a range of thought-provoking but practical suggestions for reducing Sea Cadets’ carbon footprint. And if any further inspiration is needed, some our cadets and volunteers have tested the ClimateHero Carbon Calculator and shared their own ideas in this short film.
Spreading the word
Sharing simple solutions and successful case studies will be crucial to our progress, which is why we’ve also launched a new Environmental Newsletter. The first issue features an update on our project to create new marine habitats by installing Sea Hives, as well as useful information on lowering energy usage, minimising waste and funding environmental projects.
We hope the newsletter will provide a forum for discussion and keep sustainability at the forefront of our thinking. Indeed, the environment is central to our new Future Ready Strategic Plan which, over the next five years, commits to embedding environmental action in cadet programmes and reducing our carbon emissions across the charity.
As well as the initiatives launched by our new campaign, the strategy’s year plan for 2023/34 prioritises an investigation of greener alternatives across our units and training centres – so that we can build on the use of solar panels and energy-efficient lighting recently pioneered by the Poole and Newton-le-Willows Units.
And because local action is essential to solving this global issue, our units are stepping up their community projects to actively enhance the environment: from litter picks and beach cleans, to creating bee-friendly habitats.
The planet needs YOU!
Thanks to the passion of our cadets, and the efforts of the volunteers who empower them, we’re making great strides in improving our environmental approach. But there is so much more we can do, with so many ways to reduce our impact while saving funds for the activities we love.
Please take the time to try our calculators and apply what you learn in everyday life; and do share your experiences and feedback via email@example.com. By making small changes to your routine, and considering what we can do better as an organisation, you’ll be helping to guarantee a bright future for Sea Cadets, and contributing to the most important cause of our times.