All-Female Sailing Team ‘eXXpedeition’ on a Mission to Clean Up Our Oceans

All-Female Sailing Team 'eXXpedeition' on a Mission to Clean Up Our Oceans

10 eager members of the public have set off on the first leg of an around the world journey to research and assess the extent of the plastic pollution in our oceans, and to explore creative solutions to clean it up. The team hope to build knowledge to inform scientists, legislators and the public alike on how the problem can be tackled for generations to come.

The all-female and multidisciplinary crew departed from Plymouth, UK – the same port that 18th century explorer Captain Cook set sail from on his round the world journey – and will sail for a planned 11 days to the Azores before their first stop. The Azores are a group of 9 islands, which are volcanic in origin and a famed north-east Atlantic deep-sea coral hotspot.

eXXpedition ©

eXXpedition ©

Each of the 13 legs around the world will see a new set of women set sail for the cause, and in total over 300 women will participate in the project which is expected to take 2 years to complete.

Mission Director Emily Penn’s motivations don’t stop there – eXXpedition also hopes to raise awareness of a lack of female participation in STEM professions, to research female-specific diseases caused by plastic and chemical pollution in greater depth, and to encourage female participation and positive coverage in all-female sailing and the wider sporting community.

The UK registered Community Interest Company have been sailing for these causes since 2014, though this is their first journey of such scale. The team are supported by multiple sponsors from environment companies to firms in the technology and legal sector. Many of the ladies on board are also sponsored personally by smaller community groups and businesses local to their homes.

eXXpedition ©

eXXpedition ©

Each stop along the voyage will not only involve research, but also talks, panel discussions, community clean-ups and send-off parties in hope of bringing together passionate individuals who are all working towards solving the plastic pollution crisis.

You can follow the progress of the boat, S.V. TravelEdge, and all of the fantastic ladies on their regular blog which they are completing at sea, no matter how perilous the conditions!

All images courtesy of eXXpedition 

By Sofi Pickering

 

 

 

Japan Welcomes New Emperor and New Era

Japan Welcomes New Emperor and New Era

Wednesday morning, upon accession to the Chrysanthemum Throne and following his father’s abdication, Japan’s Emperor Naruhito has pledged to “stand with the nation and maintain the unity of Japan” whilst embarking on a devoted path of self-improvement in a new era which is to become known as the Reiwa Era. His father, Emperor Akihito’s abdication comes after 30 years on the throne and in light of old-age and ill-health.

Emperor Akihito’s reign is synonymous with a period of stable society in Japan despite economic turmoil and natural disasters, and he is known for his closeness to the public. In the 85-year-old’s short statement to the people on Tuesday, Akihito thanked the people and prayed for the peace and happiness of all Japan.

“Today, I am concluding my duties as the Emperor.

I would like to offer my deep gratitude to the words just spoken by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on behalf of the people of Japan.

Since ascending the throne 30 years ago, I have performed my duties as the Emperor with a deep sense of trust in and respect for the people, and I consider myself most fortunate to have been able to do so. I sincerely thank the people who accepted and supported me in my role as the symbol of the State.

I sincerely wish, together with the Empress, that the Reiwa era, which begins tomorrow, will be a stable and fruitful one, and I pray, with all my heart, for peace and happiness for all the people in Japan and around the world.”

Outside of Japan, it is common to refer to the Japanese Emperor by their given name, however in Japanese culture it is considered impolite to refer to His Imperial Majesty by his given name until such a time where he is no longer a ruling emperor. Emperor Akihito will now be known as His Majesty Emperor Emeritus, which is a name that signifies retirement before the posthumous name can be given. Akihito’s is the first abdication of a Japanese Emperor in over 200 years, and most accessions to the throne occur due to the passing of the incumbent. Japan’s post-war constitution states that an emperor must ‘serve for life’, and so his abdication was no small feat – sources claim he’d been trying to pass on the duties to his son for 9 years. Traditionally, the posthumous name given to the Emperor is the name given to the Era in which he ruled – in Akihito’s case, Heisei, which means “achieving peace”.

Yesterday, in a separate address to the people, Naruhito, His Imperial Majesty The Emperor vowed to continue the duties of Emperor in earnest, and to reflect deeply on the course followed by His Majesty the Emperor Emeritus, and of emperors before him.

“When I think about the important responsibility I have assumed, I am filled with a sense of solemnity.

Looking back, His Majesty the Emperor Emeritus, since acceding to the Throne, performed each of his duties in earnest for more than 30 years, while praying for world peace and the happiness of the people, and at all times sharing in the joys and sorrows of the people. He showed profound compassion through his own bearing. I would like to express my heartfelt respect and appreciation of the comportment shown by His Majesty the Emperor Emeritus as the symbol of the State and of the unity of the people of Japan.

In acceding to the Throne, I swear that I will reflect deeply on the course followed by His Majesty the Emperor Emeritus and bear in mind the path trodden by past emperors, and will devote myself to self-improvement. I also swear that I will act according to the Constitution and fulfill my responsibility as the symbol of the State and of the unity of the people of Japan, while always turning my thoughts to the people and standing with them. I sincerely pray for the happiness of the people and the further development of the nation as well as the peace of the world.”

Emperor Akihito’s ability to connect with the people of Japan in times of disaster will surely be one carried forward by his son. A pacifist, Akihito has spent the last several years quietly questioning Japan’s increasing nationalist conservative movements and maintaining his ideals of post-war peace and individual choice. The role of Emperor is mostly symbolic, however in the case of Akihito, these characteristics earned him much respect from the people of Japan and strengthened the image of the Imperial Family at a time where Royal families across the world are becoming more and more separated from the democratic processes and citizens of their nations.

The Oxford educated Naruhito has throughout his time as Imperial Crown Prince contributed to the efforts of the World Water Council and the United Nations, giving keynote speeches at many of their annual events. His work surrounds the issues of disaster management and water infrastructure for development. Japan has long had universal water supply and sanitation, something that many of it’s neighbours in South East Asia have not yet achieved. Japan also lies at one of the most volatile points of the earth, where the North American, Pacific, Eurasian and Philippine tectonic plates come together creating many problems over the centuries with earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis.

Naruhito takes the throne at a time where Japan is the third largest economy in the world. International relations are central to their trading relationships with other large economies, in particular the USA and China. The Emperor plays an important diplomatic role, and he intends to continue his ambassadorial duties in maintaining and forging peaceful relations. He also intends to continue his work in striving to provide global universal clean water and to promote diversity within Japan.

Japan has the oldest hereditary monarchy in the world, dating back to 660BC. To learn more about Japan’s Imperial Family, download and watch our episode of Empire Builders: Japan, or buy the DVD here!

Main image: Natalie Maguire, Imperial Palace, Flickr Creative Commons

By Sofi Pickering

Instagram mania and queues at Roys Peak

Instagram mania and queues at Roys Peak

Instagram mania and the incredible views offered at the summit of a New Zealand mountain have led to queues at the mountaintop.

Roys Peak, which is 5,500 feet above sea level and offers stunning views over Lake Wanaka, is situated only 70 kilometres from popular Queenstown on New Zealand’s South Island.

Hikers make the trek along Roys Peak Track to reach the summit, but the 8 kilometre hike and views it offers photographers have become so popular there are now queues at the summit.

Want to learn everything there is to know about New Zealand? Read our array of articles about the Land of the Long White Cloud below.

Or watch the below episode of Adventure Golf and join Ian Cross as he travels to New Zealand, where there are more sheep and golf courses per capita than anywhere else in the world.

Lisa Reihana: European explorers and the native people of the Pacific Islands

Lisa Reihana: European explorers and the native people of the Pacific Islands

In Pursuit of Venus (Infected) is a spectacular video installation artwork by New Zealand Maori artist, Lisa Reihana, which charts first contact between European explorers and the native peoples of the Pacific Islands 250 years ago.

It went on display at the Auckland Art Gallery in May 2015. Six years in the making, the work is based on a large 19th century scenic wallpaper, ‘Les Sauvages de la Mer Pacifique’, created by French firm Joseph Dufour et Cie in the 19th century which depicts a romanticised view of the landscapes and people of the Pacific.

Using the landscape forms of the wallpaper as a backdrop, Reihana added live action scenes recorded in front of green screens, showing interactions between Europeans and Polynesians. Reihana worked with theatre director Rachel House, actors and students from the Pacific Institute of Performing Arts to create the 32-minute film installation.

Reihana’s script re-examines the first encounters between Polynesians and Europeans with scenes that depict the intricacies of cultural identity and colonisation.

Most recently the installation has featured in the Royal Academy’s Oceania exhibition in London.

Want to learn more? Watch our mini series The Lost World of Joseph Banks, the first television documentary of the explorers life, or read our Study Guide: The Lost World of Joseph Banks or our in depth look at the Great Explorers of the Pacific.