SWOX Athlete Florian Jung talks about imperfect environmentalism and how to get the big players to play along
Windsurf pro Florian Jung bikes hundreds of miles with his equipment. He sails and surfs through the Atlantic ocean to research marine pollution. On top of that, the SWOX athlete partners with National Geographic for comprehensive beach clean-ups and gives talks in public schools about how to keep our oceans clean. The husband and dad of a toddler, knows why it’s so important to save the ocean (and protect his family’s skin on a side note). He calls himself an explorer, a visionary and an advocate. On the verge of a new adventure, we were able to ask him a few questions.
Why does IMPACT matter to you?
I think everything you do in life has either a positive or a negative impact. The more knowledge you have, the better choices you can make to create something meaningful. Also, it gives you a heck of a good feeling to protect the things, which keep you alive
What got you started on your mission as an environmentalist?
I wouldn’t call myself an environmentalist, but I am very just conscious about what I am doing. Unfortunately, I can’t live 100% plastic free yet and we use way too many planes to get from A to B. Still, I try to do whatever I can to live a life that is more or less sustainable.
Nature is my playground, especially the ocean and there I see on a daily bases what we destroy. So, I started asking myself, what CAN I DO and how can I become an active part of the solution. That was in 2008 and ever since I am trying to create initiatives that make people “re-think”.
You’ve got big players like National Geographic, Davidoff or Garmin to support your projects. What’s your strategy to get these big sponsors involved?
By all means, it is important that the image or ideology of the brands fits to what you want to realize. To put it in another way, if a company’s slogan is “protect the ocean“, you are more likely to convince them as sponsor for an environmental project like a beach clean-up.
Nowadays more and more brands realize that their products have to have a certain value apart from the actual prize. So it’s a good time to partner up with brands that really want to make a step in the right direction.
The Aquapower Expedtion was one of your biggest projects. It was the ultimate windsurf adventure across the Atlantic Ocean. However the main mission was to raise awareness for the beauty of the ocean and to find new ways to protect it. Together with a crew of athletes, marine biologists and environmentalists you crossed the Atlantic in 72 days, documenting the journey and sharing the knowledge. What’s important for you when you plan big projects like the Aquapower Expedition?
Of course I hope to inspire people in a positive way, when I realize projects like that. With the Aquapower Expedition my idea was to combine my sport with environmental research and documentation. During the three months surfing and sailing adventure, we documented the status of marine pollution and climate change, thus gave a closer look into the world of our oceans. We created a lot of impressive content that showed various aspects on how the eco system ocean works.
Are there any upcoming projects you can already tell us about?
I am just launching a campaign called “Blue Circle”. We want to create a sustainable movement through a series of extreme sports adventures. But I am still at the beginning of the process.
What’s your key message for the IMPACT community?
I think we live in a crucial time. We are fighting for our survival. The clock is ticking. But all we have to do, is figure out the role we have to play in the solution game. The consciousness, creativity and collaboration amongst us humans are in the right place.
Right now, we are around 7.5 billion people living on this planet and countless other creatures, who depend on this planet we call home. All together we can move mountains, if we use our natural resources a bit more consciously. We can start today by embracing the power each one of us has, to work towards a planet with less plastic and more clean water.