Ellen MacArthur, a sailor committed to the environment

Passionate about the sea since the age of 4 and a key figure in solo sailing. Young woman committed to sick children with the organization Cancer Trust ... Now invested in the preservation of the environment, Ellen MacArthur has left her mark on the world of sport and the sea ... But also that of the fight for a sustainable economy .

Pbeing 29 years old, Ellen macarthur lived only for his passion, the ocean. She meets the general public at only 24 years old in 2001, when she finished the Vendée Globe in second position. The young British sailor and Francophile instantly conquered the public with her spontaneity and freshness. The following year, Ellen won the Route du Rhum. Later in 2005, and at only 27 years old, she will drop the world record in solo sailing. 71 days 14 hours and 18 minutes! “One of the happiest moments of my life,” said Ellen when she arrived.

Awards and distinctions

To this magnificent prize list will be added several distinctions. Elected Sailor of the Year by the International Sailing Federation, twice in 2001 and 2005. Ennobled by Queen Elizabeth II, she receives the title of chivalry after her greatest achievement. Nicolas Sarkozy will give him the title of Knight of the Legion of Honour in 2008. The asteroid 20043 will be named Ellenmacarthur.

A sudden turn

But after having made the whole world dream through her exploits and at only 33 years old, Ellen MacArthur interrupted her career to devote herself to the defense of the environment. The solo sailing race has indeed led the sailor to a radical awareness. One night, when she was alone in the heart of the Southern Ocean in a terrible storm, Ellen made the analogy between her living conditions on the boat and those of humanity on the planet. On a boat, resources are limited. Impossible to stop over to buy any product. It is the same for the economy of the world.

“No experience in my life could have given me a better understanding of the definition of the word 'limited'… Our global economy is no different. It is entirely dependent on limited products. We only have them once in human history. "

Southern storm

Energy sources and raw materials are limited. However, for 150 years humanity has operated according to a linear economy. It extracts resources, transforms them, uses them and throws them away. Planet-wide nonsense. All biological systems indeed function according to a cycle. As a result of this real awareness, Ellen MacArthur finally set out to speak with leaders, experts, scientists, and economists in an attempt to understand the global economy.

“At sea I had to understand complex systems. I had to integrate multiple pieces of information, process it and understand the system to win… Make it intelligible. As I was studying the world economy, I realized that it was also a system, but a system that cannot work in the long run. "

Its commitment to promoting a circular economy

A system in which the consumption of limited energy sources and raw materials increases exponentially is doomed to failure. The strategy of consuming less, circulating less and doing less only saves time. For Ellen, only a true transition to a different, circular and virtuous model will be able to allow humanity to regain balance. In 2010, she then created the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, whose objective is to encourage the public and companies to rethink, design and build a sustainable future based on the concept ofcircular economy.

“The decisions we make today affect the resources of tomorrow. With new ways of thinking, we can rethink the system. "

Plastic waste

Interviewed by Ouest France, Ellen MacArthur presents the three pillars on which this model is based.

“One, to ensure that everything that is manufactured does not generate waste or pollution, right from the design of the products. Two, ensure that the materials used are chosen to last, keeping the products of the highest possible quality, for as long as possible. Three, that human activities do not deplete resources, leaving natural systems the possibility of regeneration. We must move from a linear economy, in which we produce, we consume and we throw away, to this circular economy. "

Protecting the oceans

Of the 78 million plastics produced, only 2% would be recycled. And the oceans are paying a heavy price. Through a large study conducted by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, it has been established that in 2050, the weight of plastic and fish will be equivalent in the oceans. Speaker at the World Economic Forum, Ellen already alerted in 2016..

“Today, we estimate that there are around 150 million tonnes of plastic waste in the oceans. If the consumption of plastic continues at the same rate, the ocean should contain 1 tonne of plastic for 3 tonnes of fish in 2025 and 2050, more plastic than fish, in terms of weight. "

Discover the TED talk, subtitled in French, during which Ellen MacArthur talks about the foundations of her commitment to a circular economy.