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How the Fastest Solo Sailor to Travel the World Is Helping to Change the World

How the Fastest Solo Sailor to Travel the World Is Helping to Change the World

In the spirit of world adventurers, (READ MORE about world environment explorers Starsky and Hutch) it's time to find out more about Dame Ellen MacArthur, retired pro sailor and charity founder. 

We've talked about Ellen MacArthur quite a few times across our blogs and socials, so we decided to put a blog to the name and to learn a bit more about her involvement in the circular economy. 

The Fastest Solo Sailor to Travel the World

Around the World in 71 Days

MacArthur's fascination for all things nautical began at an early age, where she saved three years worth of her school dinner money to buy a small dinghy. 

At 19, having saved up for a sailing yacht, MacArthur travelled solo around the whole of Britain. This was just the start of a stellar sailing career, taking part in round-the-world races and transatlantic crossings both solo and as a team.

One of the most gruelling challenges, snatching only 20 minutes of sleep here and there, was MacArthur's world record breaking solo circumnavigation of the globe. She managed to beat the previous record by 1 day, 8 hours, 35 minutes and 49 seconds. All in all, it took 71 days and around 14 hours of non-stop sailing!  

What is the Ellen MacArthur Foundation?

The amazing feat of sailing round the world helped MacArthur to discover the importance of saving energy and resources. 

Retiring from professional sailing in 2009, MacArthur then set up the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a charity dedicated to creating a circular economy. 

The main observation that MacArthur made was that we need to:

"transform our extractive, throwaway economic model to one that is based on the principles of a circular economy – an economy designed to keep materials in use, eliminate waste and regenerate natural systems."

So how is the foundation doing this? Well, they are developing and promoting the idea of a circular economy.
READ MORE to find out why the circular economy is important.

A lot of this work involves researching all the ins and outs of a circular economy, including its good bits and drawbacks. The Foundation works with businesses, academics, policymakers and institutions to help come up with ways of making the way we live fairer and more efficient. 

You can find some great resources on the key areas that we need to look at to move towards a circular economy. This includes Fashion, Food, Plastics, Climate and Cities

Five Ways To Get More Circular in Your Everyday Life

We don't have to jump in a boat and try to break any records, thankfully (leave that to the experts). The switch to a more 'circular' way of life doesn't need to be a big challenge.

  • Support Circular Fashion by shopping second hand (repair and upcycle your clothes where possible!)
  • Try switching to a refill service for cleaning products or groceries
  • Lend a hand at your local allotment or grow some vegetables to give to neighbours in your yard
  • Consider how you travel. Using public transport or travelling by foot or bike takes up less space and pollutes the air we all breathe less
  • Shop savvy. Whether you shop yellow sticker deals at supermarkets, or use a food sharing app like Olio, there's a surprising amount of surplus food we can make use of and share.

These ideas are just a few things we can do as consumers. There is only so much we can do as individuals if we want to transition to a circular economy. The other part of the battle is getting the world's major leaders, big industries and businesses on board. It means phasing out coal and adopting renewables. It requires a lot of change that we need organised campaigns for. And that's why organisations like the Ellen MacArthur Foundation are so important. 


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