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Lewis Pugh Swimming To A Major International Conference In His Speedos


Lewis Pugh, the first and only United Nations Patron of the Oceans (appointed in 2013), will come to the United Nations in New York City in a unique manner this September.

He will start a 507 km (315 mile) stage swim down the entire length of the Hudson River, from source to sea, on August 13th with a planned finish on September 13th.

His campaign will highlight the critical role rivers play in a habitable planet, explore the interconnectedness of rivers and oceans, and stress the urgent need to restore, protect and respect them.

Pugh has a two-tier approach. Firstly, he will attempt to become the first person to swim the full length of the Hudson River unassisted. Secondly, he will present at the United Nations when nations will begin ratifying the historic High Seas Treaty, which aims to protect biodiversity in international waters.

The 53-year-old ocean advocate Pugh explains his mission of Speedo Diplomacy, “If we want healthy oceans we also need healthy rivers — it’s that simple. Clean rivers are essential in the fight for global sustainability; indeed, our very existence depends on fresh water, clean air, and a habitable planet. The good news is that rivers are accessible to most people, and we know what it takes to get them healthy. I specifically chose the Hudson for this swim because of the environmental progress that’s been made on the iconic waterway in recent years. Much work is still required, but tangible improvements have been made, setting an example for restoring rivers around the world.”

Pugh will launch at Lake Tear of the Clouds in the Adirondack Mountains, the source of the Hudson River, and will conclude at Battery Park in lower Manhattan, site of many 20 Bridges and 40 Bridges Swims. He explains his swim, “The Hudson is truly majestic, but, like most rivers, it begins with a trickle in fairly rough terrain, so this swim will actually have to begin on foot to negotiate rocks and very dense vegetation. That terrain quickly evolves into white water rapids and waterfalls that demand respect, so my expedition team and I are studying every twist and turn of the river keenly. I will hike and run around any rapids which are unswimmable. The plan is to swim an average of 16 km per day (10 miles), with some days being far more challenging than others based on river terrain and conditions.”

Refuse, sewage, chemical and plastic waste don’t just pollute rivers and harm the species that live in them; these contaminants are carried on to the sea where they do more damage,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Program. “Just as we must keep our own arteries unclogged for our health, we must keep the planet’s arteries unclogged for its health.”

Clean and healthy rivers are an essential yet often overlooked part of global efforts to restore ocean health,” said Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, Chairman and CEO of the GEF. “Lewis Pugh’s expedition will not be in pristine conditions – he will be swimming in a river basin that is heavily affected by human and industrial activity. This is such an important reminder of why we need to pay close attention to the health of freshwater systems, and prioritize ecosystem management in all our connected waterways as we work towards nature and climate targets.”

We are delighted to continue to be supporting Lewis as he sets out to tackle the scourge of water pollution and biodiversity loss in our rivers and oceans. The demanding challenge of the Hudson River Swim ahead of New York Climate Week this September elevates the importance of the related issues of fresh water, clean air and the conservation of our marine habitats, all vital for the prosperity of our planet,” said Michelle Scrimgeour, CEO of Legal and General Investment Management (LGIM).

More information on The Hudson River Swim is here and here.

Photos are courtesy of the Lewis Pugh Foundation.

© 2023 Daily News of Open Water Swimming

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