Into the Horizon and Under the Keel
A conversation with David Rockefeller, Jr., Founder and Chairman, Sailors for the Sea
on December 22, 2011
He first experienced sailing at about six years old, off the coast of Maine, with his parents, on a black sloop named "Jack Tar". After sailing around the world for 50 years, and numerous philanthropic careers, he realized that something disturbing was happening under the keel and he could no longer just look into the horizon.
During America's Cup World Series in San Diego, David Rockefeller Jr. spoke to me about Sailors for the Sea, a non-profit organization he founded in 2004, fueled by his passion for sailing and for the sea, and armed with knowledge about ocean health issues gained through his work at Pew Oceans Commission.
My own upbringing and background cannot be more different from that of Mr. Rockefeller's. Yet my guest was down to earth and I related on several levels. He called on my tango to help me understand his passion for sailing, and a pursuit driven by "not only the mind but also the heart". While I have been more involved with private industry than with non-profits, and philanthropy is something I could only wish, his discussions about Sailors for the Sea somehow felt like an entrepreneur talking about his startup, a scenario I am intimately familiar with. And although not apparent on screen, his story of the overnight sail in the middle of the Baltic has been echoing my own memories of the "northern waters", where I marveled at the breathtaking beauty of the Norwegian fjords on the other side of Scandinavia this past autumn.
Then there is the fish. And the oceans that cover 71% of the Planet. "Humans have fished out 90% of the big fish from the oceans in the past 50 years". An alarming statistic I learned in this interview. Just as nature presents her wonders equally to all human beings regardless of their ethnic, cultural and social backgrounds, realities such as this has got to concern every member of the human species.
Sailors for the Sea set out to educate and engage the boating community in the worldwide protection of the oceans. Under the leadership of its CEO, Dan Pingaro, the organization's Clean Regattas program has now been embraced by America's Cup. The pinnacle of sailing events, the 34th America’s Cup makes sustainability and ocean conservation an important component of its regattas, leveraging its global media platform to bring awareness to ocean health issues. It is a partnership Mr. Rockefeller is very proud of.
- BeiBei Song
PS: In this other video "Certified Sea Friendly" - LEED for vessels?, Mr. Rockefeller focuses on Sailors for the Sea's next ambition: a voluntary certification program to transform the marine manufacturing industry and make the construction, maintenance and operation of vessels more environmentally friendly, much like LEED for the certification of buildings.
In this Blog article "A Casual Survey on LEED" we are compiling related comments.
Tags: ocean, ocean health, Sailors for the Sea, David Rockefeller, Jr., America's Cup, sailing, marine, Pew Oceans Commission