Michael Walther in interview with boot Düsseldorf on climate protection
Climate protection is a matter close to Michael Walther's heart. This becomes clear immediately.
His actions are spectacular, and during the interview he is almost unstoppable. And because the topic is so important to him he wants to explain it to others. To do this, he uses his second passion – watersports.
Michael Walther has been combining environmental protection and watersports for 12 years now. "Because I believe we have to make environmental protection cool," he says. "As long as it remains a niche topic, it will reach too small a target group and not really change anything." To tackle this problem, twelve years ago he started up the "Zero Emission" project with a friend. Their aim: to use various sailing projects to draw attention to climate change and environmental protection.
In 2014 SUP was added to the mix. He paddled, among others, from Basel to Kiel and all around Schleswig-Holstein. But probably his most spectacular project came in 2018: Accompanied by a cameraman and a photographer, he flew to Greenland and paddled his SUP board to the edge of the ice sheet to get an impression of the consequences of climate change.
"Climate protection is abstract," says Michel Walther. "It’s happening in the future, which makes it about as compelling as a retirement pension scheme. That makes it very difficult to convince people how important it is to act now and not later". The short film documenting the project shows this impressively.
The cooperation between Michael and boot Düsseldorf startet in 2012, when he was in front of the camera for the advertising campaign as a sailor.
"In Greenland, there was no alternative to just paddling on," says Michael Walther. "On my tour from Basel to Kiel I could have gotten off anywhere and taken the train for a while. And it’s the same with climate protection. There are often easy alternatives left, right and centre. But if we want to achieve something, we have to stick to our plans and keep on paddling".
Michael Walther also sees an obligation, particularly for watersports enthusiasts, because they are dependent on an intact nature. "In addition, CO2 emissions must be put to a special test, especially in the leisure-related sectors. That’s why we really need initiatives like the "Green Boats" of Friedrich Deimann, who makes boats from sustainable raw materials". He himself is currently working with Deimann to develop an SUP board that is produced with 90 percent less CO2 emissions.
But that’s not all. He is currently involved in a campaign in cooperation with Brunel under the motto "Activate Yourself". Together they publish videos, photos and articles that are intended to motivate and inspire people to live healthy and sustainable lives. Because: "When more people realise how important nature is for us, also in this personal area, the perspective on health and sustainability will change."
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