Pioneer Swimmer Lewis Pugh Unveiled As UN Environment Programme Patron For Oceans
Pugh Set to Embark on Three-Year Circumnavigation of Globe
Pioneer swimmer and ocean advocate Lewis Pugh was today unveiled as the UN Environment Programme’s Patron for Oceans as he prepares to embark on an epic circumnavigation of the globe.
Mr. Pugh, a maritime lawyer from London, is the only person to have completed a long distance swim in every ocean of the world. In 2007 he swam across an open patch of sea at the North Pole to highlight the melting of the Arctic sea ice and in 2010 he swam across a newly formed glacial lake on Mt Everest to draw attention to the impact of climate change in the Himalayas.
Next year Mr. Pugh will embark on a three-year journey that will see him cross three oceans and 18 seas. Along the way, he will be promoting UNEP’s work and spearheading their campaign for the establishment of more Marine Protected Areas.
“I’m very excited to engage with UNEP as Patron for their work on oceans. Their work is crucial,” said Mr. Pugh. “One of the goals of the Convention on Biological Diversity is to see 10 per cent of our oceans set aside as properly managed Marine Protected Areas by 2020. We must achieve this target. Over 10 per cent of terrestrial land is protected by National Parks. If we can do it on land, we can surely do the same in the sea. I am looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and helping UNEP in every way possible.”
“I have been swimming for 27 years, and over that period I’ve seen our oceans change. I’ve seen enormous chunks of ice slide off Arctic glaciers. I’ve swum over bleached coral killed by rising sea temperatures, and over the bones of whales hunted to the edge of extinction. I’ve visited lakes high in the Himalayas where once there was only ice,” Mr. Pugh added. “I’ve seen drastic changes in my lifetime – changes that have come about because of our actions. In my lifetime I’d like to see us change, because we have it within our power to make a positive difference.”
Mr Pugh becomes only UNEP’s second Patron for a specific cause. He joins Kenyan Patrick Makau, the Marathon World Record Holder, who is Patron for Clean Air.