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1% for the planet
We spoke to our Caravan ambassador and professional sailor Alexia Barrier about her 4myplanet enterprise and how Café du Cycliste will be contributing to her future projects through 1% for the Planet.
Can you introduce us to 4myplanet?
4myplanet is a charitable association that I created 12 years ago.
My goal was to preserve my playground, the ocean. We carry out two main actions which revolve around education and science. We create educational kits for children and carry out practical lessons with them.
In addition, my racing boats are equipped with sensors to report data to oceanographic researchers around the world, which helps monitoring changes and patterns in marine biology.
With 4myplanet I want to be able to give meaning to my sailing and my competitions. Success in competition is not my only goal. I love it when we continue to learn and progress together collectively. Today we have hundreds of thousands of children who follow us in France, South Africa, Brazil, and the United States through schools, associations of disadvantaged children, and with the National Union School Sport (UNSS). I hope that by the end of next year we will reach one million children. We are also a UNESCO ambassador for ocean research and observation. We can be proud of all that I believe.
Can you explain one of these educational workshops to us?
We are currently investigating the resources of the ocean because we often forget that ultimately the resources of the ocean are an integral part of our daily lives. Algae, for example, which we use in food, which we use for their bioluminescence in x-rays, have great gelling properties for pastries, for example. We are currently doing workshops with the kids in schools, we have them test all the properties of seaweed and they love it.
How does competition and participation in the biggest races contribute to the cause of 4myplanet?
Sail-racing is all the same a little selfish, even if we make people dream a lot. In general, we go there to win and have fun.
That's why I need to give meaning to my races. We associate the actions of 4myplanet with every navigation, every time we set sail. I see us as players in raising awareness because we give visibility on the water and then globally.
We give an important voice to the cause of the preservation of the environment and more particularly of the ocean, thanks to the races, and the media interest we get. Alongside this the Café du Cycliste as a sponsor will allow us to accelerate and amplify our actions in favour of children and the preservation of the environment. We share common values; I am really delighted and proud of this collaboration.
What’s upcoming with 4myplanet?
It’s all about the new sensors on my racing boats that’s got me excited right now. With these we will take data from under the water whereas before it was from the surface, hopefully providing some valuable data. I'm also going to change mounts and sail in a trimaran. These boats really fly.
For the educational part, we will develop a virtual reality program for children to learn about the environment. For children who don't have access to the sea, I think virtual reality is great for giving them this experience and bringing them closer to nature. We are also going to bring young people together at our Repair Café that we will soon be organizing in the port of Nice at the Café du Cycliste. This will be an opportunity to learn how to repair your bike so you can get to and from school by bike.
And in terms of sailing, what are your next projects?
As for racing, I am attempting the Jules Verne trophy – a crewed, round the world, non-stop journey. I’ve assembled a 100% female crew; it's been 25 years since there has been a female team competing for this trophy. So, we're really going to try to be a model for women who want to achieve big things in sailing and life in general. If we can be this driving force, it will be even more beautiful than winning the record. I think we will succeed in involving as many people as possible in our adventure. Soon I will set off on the Route du Rhum, on a 32-meter multihull. This will also be a world first because there are no women on this type of boat. The program is quite ambitious, it's going to be super interesting.
The cause for women is close to your heart, you have a personal commitment to the most vulnerable?
Yes, 4myplanet dedicates actions to disadvantaged women, women who are experiencing difficulties in their professional and family life. We are committed to an association called Parcours de Femmes in Cannes. We take them sailing and I invite my coaches and we organize for them wellness workshops, yoga, learning to breathe, freediving experiences, learning to relax. What they are going through can happen to any of us.
How will 4myplanet use the annual €30,000 that Café du Cycliste will allocate to it as part of its 1% for the Planet policy?
€30,000 per year for the association is a huge boost that allows us to trigger actions that are waiting to be activated. A few thousand euros were missing for it to exist. Typically, the virtual reality program we couldn't do because we didn't have the budget. We will be able to launch this, and in September 2022 at the start of the school year, classes will have access to the sea thanks to sponsorship from the Café du Cycliste.
Café du Cycliste is a member of 1% for the Planet®, donating 1% of our turnover to nonprofit environmental groups and charities.