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Carbon neutrality aim adds extra challenge for Transatlantic rowing team

The Anglo-American foursome are looking to make history in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge

Four Transatlantic adventurers have pledged to make their forthcoming participation in the world’s toughest rowing race even more fiendish – by going completely carbon-neutral.

Brits James Lamb and Kyle Smith will be joined by American friends Brian Kerr and Philip Van Benthem when they meet on the start line for the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge rowing race from the Canary Islands to Antigua on December 12.

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Like all of the 28 teams from across the globe competing in the 3,000-nautical mile race, the quartet have spent months training for the mentally and physically draining crossing.

But unlike the others, the foursome have taken their passion for adventure as well as their commitment to protecting the environment by endeavouring to offset their carbon footprint until the very end of the challenge, becoming the first team in the race’s three-decade history to go completely green.

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Kyle Smith is taking part in the challenge (Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge/PA Wire)

Mr Smith, a 30-year-old PhD student from Fort William in Scotland, said: “There’s been a lot of organisational work to get to this point – and we’ve taken on this added burden of tracking all the products we’ve bought and travel to take part in this, and how much carbon dioxide we need to offset to have taken part in this event.

“We all have a passion for the environment and zeal for adventure but in some ways this (the race) is quite a selfish thing to do.

“We thought if we are going to do this, and have an impact on the planet as a result, we wanted to think about how big that impact would be and how we can make it carbon-neutral.”

The group have kept a meticulous spreadsheet of every purchase and journey made, working with the Carbon Trust to ensure each tiny portion of toxic gas released into the atmosphere is offset with carbon credits.

To lighten the load, the group have made additional sacrifices, cutting out red meat associated with methane production, and buying used products where possible.

Mr Smith and Mr Lamb, a 32-year-old father and businessman from London, have rowed throughout the UK, meeting up with Statesiders Mr Kerr, 29, and Mr Van Benthem, 34, twice during 2017 for high-intensity training sessions.

The geographical spread of their team has made the experience tricky logistically, and has contributed to their carbon offset requirements.

Mr Smith added: “We recognise we’ve been travelling quite a bit the last few years and haven’t really paid much attention to the impact this is having on the planet.

“We wanted to do this personal challenge, but quantify that within the realm of being carbon-neutral.”

The team are raising money for the World Land Trust.

:: For more information visit https://www.carbonzerow.org/

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