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British Canoeing to ‘Show the Love’ on Valentine’s Day

British Canoeing staff replaced their cars for canoes and pedal bikes for paddles as they joined the Climate Coalition’s Show the Love campaign today (14 February 2017). 

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Led by Olympic gold medallist Etienne Stott, British Canoeing staff held a paddle to work day where they travelled from Nottingham Kayak Club, along the River Trent in Nottingham to the head office at the National Water Sports Centre, to raise awareness of their newly formed partnership.

Richard Atkinson, head of waterways and environment at British Canoeing, said that climate change had created particular challenges for paddlers across the UK with the changes in seasonal river levels and the impact of invasive non-native species in our waters.

British Canoeing takes their environmental responsibility very seriously and wants everyone to have fun and enjoy the natural environment in a sustainable manner,” he said. “This is the first time British Canoeing has been involved in this campaign we are very keen to support The Climate Coalition to safeguard our waterways for future generations.

– Richard Atkinson, head of waterways and environment at British Canoeing

Show the Love is the Climate Coalition’s campaign which aims to highlight the impacts that climate change has on everyday activities and hobbies, with people wearing the campaign’s iconic green hearts rather than the traditional Valentine’s red.

Canoeists, like participants of many water-based recreational sports, want to enjoy the wonderful network of inland and coastal waters that are amongst the best in Europe and enjoy their time in harmony with the natural environment. Canoeing is an ideal way of exploring wildness areas and quietly observing wildlife. It cause no erosion, noise or pollution and leaves no trace of its passing.

Olympic gold medallist Etienne Stott joined the team on their paddle to work, he said: “Climate change is something that impacts us all and we have a responsibility to preserve our environment for future generations.

We talk about legacy following Olympic and Paralympic Games, to get more youngsters involved in our great sport, but we also want to make sure that there are rivers and waterways for them to enjoy.

– Etienne Stott, Olympic gold medallists

“I’m happy to join the team paddling to work today to further raise the profile of climate change and show our love of paddlesport.”

The impacts of invasive non-native species are so significant, they are considered to be one of the greatest threats to biodiversity worldwide and also one of the most costly financially to control. Pennywort, for example, significantly harms our native plants and water life and its thick layers can increase flood risk in certain areas the annual direct cost to the British economy of controlling this one species is around £25million.

“Climate Change is significantly changing our weather too,” added Richard. “The unpredictable weather can upset the delicate balance of nature and have a significant impact on plant and animal populations as well as our sport.

“Paddling when river levels are extremely low at has the potential to disturb or damage spawning fish at certain times of the year or at the other extreme, the dangers of high river levels and flood conditions can prove challenging to both access the watercourse and paddle safely.

“We have also invited our members to do something memorable to mark the campaign and help us raise awareness of the impact of climate change on our sport and environment,” he said.

Last year the Show the Love campaign saw hundreds and thousands of people across the UK make, wear and share green hearts and the campaign was supported by a number of celebrities including Emilia Fox, Thandie Newton, Dermot O’Leary and Jeremy Irons.