The Ocean X Prix Legacy Programmes: What have Veloce Racing and Extreme E done to help?
Extreme E's second race – the Ocean X Prix – will take place in Lac Rose, Senegal on the stunning West coast of Africa (May 29-30). For motorsport fans, its a country synonymous with the legendary Dakar rally, with the terrain featuring sand bars, salt beds, rocks, and undulations. This means many more intense challenges await our Extreme E drivers!
Beyond the racing though, and at the core of Extreme E’s purpose, are its inspiring Legacy Programmes. The series and its teams are aiming to leave behind a positive and lasting impact at each of the remote race locations by working together with local communities to help address environmental and societal issues in the region.
In the spotlight
So what projects in Senegal did Extreme E and its teams support?
This Legacy Programme saw Extreme E and Veloce team up with local NGO Oceanium. An organisation that focuses on protecting the environment, as well as developing reforestation activities, and enabling local communities in Senegal to have access to education.
The Mighty Mangroves
Mangroves are incredible forests of small shrubs and trees that grow in coastal saline, they are one of the world’s richest ecosystems and home to countless species. They are also a renewable natural source, store carbon, provide nurseries for fish, and help to reduce flooding and erosion from storms by wave attenuation, the list goes on!
In Senegal Mangroves are disappearing at an alarming rate, 25% of Senegal’s mangroves (45,000 hectares) have already been lost due to droughts and deforestation between 1980 and 2000. One of the reasons for the deforestation of mangroves is to make room for shrimp and other forms of aquaculture. Mangroves are also at risk of mass drowning as global warming raises sea levels, posing a very real threat for the local communities that depend on Mangroves for their livelihood.
Extreme E worked alongside Oceanium to restore 60 hectares across five different regions, equating to one million mangroves – yes, a hell of a lot – being planted in the Sine Saloum delta waste management areas that Oceanium and Extreme E will be focussing on.
The EcoZone Project
Once a ‘hot spot’ for tourists, Lac Rose and its communities are now facing vulnerability. Aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Develop Goals (SDGS) the EcoZone in Lac Rose, has been created to help shift local mindsets towards sustainability through community outreach, resource conservation and economic empowerment.
Over the course of the race weekend, teams will visit the EcoZone Project and learn more about the project as well as meeting members of the community and helping to tell their story to Extreme E’s huge global audiences.
Ocean Plastic Pollution: Its not just about switching to metal straws!
Every single second, 100 tons of waste end up in the sea around the world – a terrifying figure! The accumulation of this waste creates a carpet of plastic causing the suffocation of the seabed, this leads to a gradual disappearance of all kinds of aquatic life followed by disastrous impacts for the whole ecosystem. The oceans are a hugely important ‘carbon sink’, helping absorb CO2 emissions from human activities. Without them, CO2 would accumulate more quickly in the atmosphere, raising global temperatures much more quickly.
Sea Setal is a project that sends divers down into the waters around Senegal to remove discarded fishing nets and other waste that suffocate seabeds. Veloce are rolling up their sleeves to help, providing resources for one of these dives which will remove a massive six tonnes of waste from the ocean.
Jamie Chadwick and Stephane Sarrazin have been joined by Veloce Co-Founder Jean-Eric Vergne who was also in Senegal for the Ocean X Prix, getting stuck in and visiting the projects that Extreme E is supporting.
Jean Eric Vergne: "It was really interesting to learn more about the work being done by Oceanium in Senegal. It's so important that we not only educate ourselves, but where possible use our voices and our platforms to highlight environmental issues and the work that can be done to help mitigate and fight the effects of climate change. The Legacy Programmes are such a key part of Extreme E and, I along with the whole Veloce Racing team are committed to playing our part.”
Whilst these projects alone don’t highlight, mitigate or impact all of the issues around climate change in Senegal, they do play a part, and as a series and a team that’s exactly what we are here to do.
Watch this space to stay up to date with what team Veloce are doing to #DriveChange.