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Extreme E confirms Enel X Island X Prix legacy programmes with Medsea

Pioneering electric off-road race series, Extreme E, has today confirmed its Legacy Programmes for its fourth X Prix on the Italian island of Sardinia, with special focus on Blue and Green Carbon issues.

The sport for purpose championship will be working alongside MEDSEA (Mediterranean Sea and Coast Foundation) in Sardinia to support two significant projects. The first will focus on Green Carbon, incorporating the recovery response to this year’s devastating forest fires on the island, whilst the other will support the conservation of Posidonica Oceanica (seagrass), mitigating the detrimental effects of Blue Carbon in the waters of the Mediterranean.

During July 2021, there have been 13,000 more wildfires in Italy than has ever been recorded before. Several regions in Sardinia were completely annihilated, forcing inhabitants of the towns of Cuglieri, Sennariolo, Scano di Montiferro and Santu Lussurgiu to flee for safety. These devastating fires destroyed vast swathes of pastures, olive trees and agriculture and killed huge numbers of animals including 30 million bees. The resulting calamity has resulted in incalculable damage to thousands of people’s livelihoods as well as to nature. It is estimated that it will take at least 15 years to rebuild the 20,000 hectares of land impacted.

By woking alongside MEDSEA, Extreme E will have the opportunity to visit the region worst hit by these fires. Series personnel and volunteers will meet the affected communities and work alongside local NGOs including Italy’s environmental association, Legambiente, on the ground to support the mammoth forest restoration project which includes replanting olive trees and other native Mediterranean shrubs and bushes. Additionally in collaborationwith Extreme E, EY will present and launch a forest fire mapping and detection tool that can help firefighters make more timely and informed decisions, and ultimately help to save lives, property and biodiversity from the effects of wildfires.
In addition, Extreme E’s own scientists in partnership with ENEL will also be working with MEDSEA to reconnect and replenish the seagrass beds of Posidonia oceanica in the waters of the Marine Protected Areas around Sardinia. Posidonia, which is instrumental in sequestering harmful ‘Blue Carbon’ is an essential part of marine life and the overall health of the ocean, but it is one of the most sensitive. Many of these underwater meadows are now damaged by increased warmth of the sea - the Mediterranean is heating up three times faster than the global ocean - poorer water quality and coastal devlopments, which in turn causes degradation of the coastal marine biome. However, research has shown that replanting seagrass can be an effective tool in reverting damage and significantly improving the overall ecosystem function.

Alejandro Agag, Founder and CEO of Extreme E, said: “We are almost at our penultimate race of the very first season of Extreme E. It has been a fantastic adventure so far and I’m so proud of what we have already achieved this year both on and off the course.
“The Enel X Island X Prix in Sardinia will highlight some of the critical issues facing Europe and the wider world. It’s clear we need to address the root causes of the terrible fires that have destroyed not just Sardinia but so many other countries. We all know that rising global temperatures, caused solely by greenhouse gas emissions, increases fire risk not just here but everywhere. The terrifying headlines have shown us this. This is an emergency and we have to act now and change to prevent further atrocities like this from happening.

“In addition, our work in Sardinia with MEDSEA will allow us to address the Blue Carbon problem caused by the demise of the seagrass beds and work towards replanting and repairing these vital marine ecosystems.
“When it comes to confronting all of these challenges here, we are delighted to be working alongside our partners EY, ENEL and MEDSEA who, along with our own esteemed Extreme E scientists will be doing some incredible work and we look forward to seeing their positive impact on the communities and marine habitats alike.”

Dr Alessio Satta, MEDSEA President said: “We are excited to work with Extreme E to develop two crucial projects to address both the climate crisis and the biodiversity loss.
“The timing is crucial to reinforce our mission to restore and protect Mediterranean moving from scientific knowledge to concrete action and thus preventing the degradation of ecosystems in danger. Posidonia oceanica meadows experienced a strong declining trend in the Mediterranean. More than 30% per cent of seagrass areal extent has been lost in the last 50 years. This urgently call for restoration of degraded Posidonia ecosystems to revitalise marine life and tackle climate change in Sardinia.

Moreover, thanks to the support of Extreme E, we will be able to give a concrete response to the ravages caused by the fires of this summer in Montiferru. By recovering the centuries-old olive groves and planting new trees in the most devastated areas, we intend to spark new hope among the most affected populations.”
The Enel X Island X Prix will take place from 23-24 October 2021.

To learn more about Extreme E, visit - www.Extreme-E.com
 
Photo credits:
Posidonia Oceanica © Andrea Alvito
Wildfire Montiferru Planargia Sardinia © Roberta Sanna
Extreme E X Prix © Andrew Ferraro & Colin McMaster

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