Philipp Buhl, sailing for clean seas
Posted on July, 30th 2014.
At only 23 and for the third time, Philipp Buhl has just won the illustrious sailing race held in Kiel in northern Germany - and he has already set his sights on the Rio Olympics!
We met the young skipper to talk about his other battle – protecting the oceans.
You have just won at the Kieler Woche (Kiel Week) for the third consecutive time – well done!
I’m delighted because Kieler Woche is one of the biggest sailing events in the world, and also because Kiel is my home town. The race was held almost under my window! And winning three times in a row makes it an even more special victory.
During the Kieler Woche you boarded the "Plastic Lady" - the boat the Berlin artist Sandra Wiesthal built from waste collected on the beaches of Kiel. Having participated in this regatta for years, what are your thoughts about environmental protection in the region?
“Don’t be afraid to tell people that don’t sort their waste that it’s wrong!”
We're lucky because this region is generally very clean. In Germany we have been thinking about waste management and recycling for years, so the water here in Kiel is clean. This year, it was difficult finding enough plastic waste on the beaches to build the Plastic Lady - there was almost nothing! We are really lucky that the region is so unspoiled. We have to keep up these good habits and spread this mindset.
Where does your commitment to environmental protection and sustainable development come from? Has your experience as a sailor made you aware of ocean pollution?
From a very young age my parents taught me how important it is to respect our environment, so I have always been very concerned about it. When I was only 3 I used to go out on the boat with my father, and started sailing on my own when I was 7. Sailors are often the first people to witness the damage man has caused in the oceans.
Marine pollution has been even more important to me since last year. I was involved in some training sessions for the 2016 Olympics. While I was sailing I could really see the extent of the man-made pollution. And it’s only a small part of all the garbage polluting the oceans – most of it can only be seen when you go diving.
What do you do about protecting the environment in your everyday life? Have you got any advice?
As a professional sailor, I don’t have much free time, so I’m not a member of any particular organization. But I do want to raise awareness and encourage the people round me to take the same view. It is very important to think about what we throw away, and where and how we dispose of waste so it can be recycled or dealt with in a way that doesn’t damage the environment. That’s the important thing and we all have to take responsibility. Thanks to my parents and my background, I am very aware of these issues. Whenever I see people throwing something just anywhere, or not sorting their waste, I try talking to them about what I believe. So don’t be afraid to tell people that don’t sort their waste that it’s wrong!
Thank you Philipp, and good luck in Rio!
For more information:
- Philipp Buhl treasures the seas - he talks about it while at the Kiel Regatta.
- Philipp Buhl’s website
Main picture: ©www.segel-bilder.de, Philipp Buhl during his final race in Kiel