Seven Days of Cycling to Grab Global Attention for the Seas
Tuesday 13th August 2019, 3:30pm at The Tamarind Tree Hotel, Nairobi
Kenya cycling enthusiasts and sponsored teams are gearing up for one of the greatest bike rides on the continent. The premier event, Cycle4Seas, is a seven-day of off-road cycling expedition from Kajiado to Watamu to grab global attention for our waterways and seas, and to raise funds to conserve Kenya’s marine protected areas and help build its burgeoning blue economy.
From August 25th – 31st, teams of cyclists and their supporters will tackle the challenge of pedaling the 680km route starting at the foothills of Kenya’s iconic Ngong Hills while exposing the world to some of the most beautiful lands on earth—from Kajiado, with its abundant wildlife and Maasai villages via Selengai; through the wilderness of Amboseli, beside the majestic Kilimanjaro; across the Tsavo National Park along the Sabaki River to Watamu by the sea. Never before in Kenya (as a team sporting event) has a feat of this proportion been tried.
Cycle4Seas is the inaugural fundraising event for a new and dedicated Kenya marine conservation non-profit, Seas4Life Trust.
“We aim to bring attention to the rivers that flow from Nairobi to the sea,” says Julie Church, marine safari guide, marine conservationist, a blue economy consultant and co-founder of Ocean Sole and Seas4Life Trust. “For instance, the Mbagathi, that leads into the Athi, becoming the Galana and entering the ocean just north of Malndi as the Sabaki. The sources of these rivers are the forests in the Aberdares and Ngong hills. They used to bring clean and uncontaminated water to the sea, feeding the people, wildlife and other ecosystems en route. They are now heavily polluted with unwanted minerals, plastics, steel and much, much more.”
Land and sea are inextricably linked in strong and stunning ways. As a blue planet, 70 percent of our world is ocean, and it’s this ocean that governs the water cycle, and with it the atmosphere, a place for humans, wildlife, birds and marine life to live in well-balanced ecosystems. Everything is interrelated and everything is connected to the sea.
“All this unwanted garbage and toxic waste negatively impacts wildlife and people on its journey to the sea, and then dumps into the corals, mangroves, seagrass beds and open oceans, killing the diverse marine life that call these delicate ecosystems home. Yet it’s this marine life that provides us fish to eat, protection from the sea, income from tourism and is at the core of our blue economy,” says Church.
Seas4Life Trust believes that this great nation can come together and reverse these negative trends by protecting and investing in our ocean assets and build thriving communities around them. To start with, Seas4Life is out to change people’s mindset when it comes to Kenya’s seas and waterways. To do this, it is launching The Cycle4Seas event.
Cycle4Seas is an epic personal challenge of will and determination. It tells the story of Kenya riders taking up the cause of saving their seas—because, who else will? The scale of the event and the undertaking of such a grand physical challenge for a very important moment holds the attention of a nation and the entire world. The ride is also about raising funds for marine conservation and investment into community based, blue economy initiatives. It is the long-term dream of Seas4Life Trust to build a “blue wall” of marine protected areas along Kenya’s entire coastline, while at the same time building thriving communities connected to these ecologically rich coastal regions.
“We are here to connect the dots, and create a discussion about how business and our way of life can change for the better. For instance, with improved management of industry, rivers can be cleaned up; Plastic waste can be used to generate power, like in Sweden; Effective marine protected areas protect our coasts and generate income and jobs; Better knowledge of our fisheries, allows for sustainable and wild harvest. It is all possible!” says Church.
Church also believes that there is great hope in our capacity as Kenyans to take up and own this challenge as a personal challenge, like running a marathon or climbing a huge peak. “It is in us as Kenyans to beat the challenges that we face,” says Church.
Kenya is leading Africa on its ban on plastic bags, creation of the internationally famous Flipflopi boat, its recent ban on the coal plant in Lamu, and in a year’s time, a ban on single-use plastic in the national parks. It’s amazing what Kenya has accomplished so far. The country is already well placed to clean up its waterways and seas, find use in its plastic waste, and protect and manage its coastline and contribute effectively to its huge blue economy potential—estimated by the U.N. to be in the billions of schillings.
By championing a Sustainable Kenya, and a ‘Healthy Seas – Healthy Lives’ concept, Kenya can reduce the effects of climate change for its people.
Overall, Seas4Life Trust is committed to raise awareness of the value of our oceans, and to raise funds for cleaner waterways and seas, well-protected coastlines and sustainable enterprises. We do this through epic events, and the first one is Cycle4Seas, which is the brainchild of the late Jonathan Seex, avid mountain biker and CEO of Tamarind Group who was lost this March in the Ethiopian Airline crash.
Over 50 percent of all proceeds from this extreme event will go towards advocating for and regenerating clean, plastic free seas, funding innovative technologies, enabling communities dependent on marine life to become conservationists and other Seas4Life Trust activities.
Cycle4Seas is suitable for intermediate riders and their supporters.
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