Going green

Sea Cadets is embarking on a mission to be more environmentally friendly. Jenny Howard, Director of Finance and Digital at MSSC, tells us more

Why does Sea Cadets need an environmental plan? 

Cadets have been telling us how important the environment is to them, so we are responding with a plan to be more environmentally sustainable. The first thing we want to do is to find out what our carbon footprint is (including units) – and then reduce it as much as possible. This will not be easy – we are not waiting for all the carbon calculations to be made before we start, because the planet can’t wait for us!

What will units need to do? 

All units will need to calculate their carbon footprint. We want to develop a way for cadets to earn points to offset the emissions and are investigating the best way to do this. Cadets will work with volunteers and staff to test it on the National Support Centre (NSC) and other sites before it is rolled out to all units. 

What help is available for units? 

As well as keeping track of all the results as they come in, the Cadet Environmental Project Team will share information and practical tips about how to bring down their carbon footprints and raise money to pay for any changes needed. They will also share ideas from units that are already finding ways to be more green.

“I have always been passionate about the environment. I’ve been a member of the RSPB and other environmental groups for over 30 years, and I worked for London Wildlife Trust for five years, so I have some good connections to help us achieve our green goals.”

Jenny Howard, Director of Finance and Digital at MSSC

Environmental action

Here’s what some units are already doing to reduce their impact…

Sea hives at our boat stations

We are installing two sea hive ‘refuges’ under the pontoons at our Thrapston and Port Edgar Boat Stations. Sea hives are hardy, reef-like structures designed to resemble the marine environment and encourage the natural behaviour of fish and other marine life. Underwater cameras will allow cadets to watch the progress as marine creatures move into the sea hives. If this is successful we plan to instal sea
hives at other Sea Cadets boating hubs.

Sea hives
Sea hives

Solar panels at Poole

Poole Sea Cadets have installed solar panels at their unit. Through this green energy project and focus on sustainability – which the cadets have named ‘Project Liquid Sun’ – Poole is hoping to inspire other units to do the same.

It is predicted that the clean energy produced by the solar panels will remove 11.19 tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere every year – about the same as five acres of trees absorbing CO2.

As well as helping the environment, installing solar panels and updating the lighting in this 83-year-old building will mean the unit has more funds to invest in its cadets. The unit is also planning to sell spare electricity back to the grid.

Poole Sea Cadets won the funding for this project from Low Carbon Dorset, which aims to grow Dorset’s economy through green initiatives.

solar panels against a sunset

Energy-efficient lighting at Newton-le-Willows

Newton-le-Willows Sea Cadets have received funding from their local council to install energy-efficient LED lighting in their HQ, helping the unit to reduce its carbon emissions and its expenses.

“We’ve been in our current building since 1942,” said Janet Shelton, Vice Chair of the unit. “Maintenance is never ending and we are always looking for ways of reducing our bills. We have been able to reduce the number of light fittings, or changed them for smaller ones, and still have better lighting. We hope our cadets can see that just by changing a light bulb we can make a difference.”

Megan, a 15-year-old cadet, said: “As one of the values of Sea Cadets is commitment, we as a unit are committed to helping with climate change – and this is only the start!”

LED lighting

Photos: Nathaniel Rosa, Getty Images, Jenny Howard

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