By Rich Wilson, Aboard Great American III

What better symbol could there be for the interconnectedness of the world than the Vendée Globe, a non-stop around-the-world sailing event? As a skipper in the race, I can see that each salty wave is connected to the next in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans. The same interconnectedness is true for every breath we breathe.

These global connections show that pollution from one place, whether it is water or air pollution, can end up in any other place. We are all responsible for the environment of our neighbors—be they next door or around the world—and we should be aware of the waste we create and how it might affect other people (and other life) on the planet. With awareness comes understanding and action.

My friend and rival Raphael Dinelli, sailing Ocean Vital Foundation, has an intriguing wind charger aboard his vessel and new thin solar panels covering his boat. These may allow him to sail around the world without ever turning on his gas-powered generator, thus using no fossil fuel at all. It is a worthwhile goal.

In the Vendée Globe there is a race rule requiring the competitors to keep all their garbage aboard their boats for proper disposal at the finish. In the absence of universal morality, regulation is needed for our common good.