Projeto Grael is using the power of sailing to tackle environmental issues in Brazil – everything from understanding habitat, reducing plastic to clean-ups.
The environmental education NGO founded by world-renowned Brazilian sailors Lars and Torben Grael aims to raise awareness of ocean plastic pollution and engage youth, children, and adults in actions and habits for reversing the destruction.
Based in Niteroi, the sailors and Olympic medalists set up Projeto Grael in 1998 to use sport as a tool of social inclusion for children and young people. It has since extended its reach to include environmental education and the rescue of marine life.
Torben Grael, Co-founder of Projeto Grael, said: “When we teach our children early that sustainability should be taken seriously, preservation becomes something natural. We can reverse the problem.”
Projeto Grael has helped approximately 16,000 young people in almost two decades since being in operation.
Sailing, swimming and vocational classes offered free of charge by the Grael Project are aimed at children from 9 years of age and young people up to the age of 29 who study or have completed high school in public schools.
Projeto Grael were also instrumental in the clean up efforts of Rio de Janeiro’s most polluted beaches and bays in the run up to last year’s Olympic Games.
Projeto Grael also teamed up with Parley Ocean School to raise awareness in schools and popular sights in Rio de Janeiro and Niteroi about ocean pollution. The collaborative initiative launched at Icaraí Beach in Niteroi with a cleanup event that brought together more than 100 children.
Cleanup participants also took part in an interactive and educational workshop on trash in the oceans, with a focus on using imagination and innovation to redesign the future.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. Follow Rosa on Twitter.