“Everything connects to climate” – meet Jamie Haines, 11th Hour Racing’s inspirational Ambassador
11th Hour Racing Ambassador Jamie Haines is on a lifelong mission to positively contribute to climate and carbon reduction goals and ocean health. Read on to discover her influential work.
When Jamie Haines was nine years old, she stepped onto the family boat in Mackerel Cove, Jamestown, RI for a life-changing adventure: to cruise around the world. Four years later, she would return to Rhode Island after circumnavigating the planet, having created a “very intimate connection” with the ocean. Her Marine Biology degree and long career as a professional sailor only strengthened this passion and unbreakable bond with the great outdoors, so much so that she’s dedicated her adult life to raising awareness around climate issues and taking action to instigate positive change.
Appointed back in 2015, Jamie was one of the very first 11th Hour Racing Ambassadors, and as she explains, she feels a huge “sense of responsibility” with regard to the environment.
Talking to Jamie at her semi-off-grid Jamestown home, where solar panels power everything from the WiFi to the A/C to the family’s electric vehicle for 11 months of the year, it’s clear that sitting back and doing nothing was never an option.
“This is a trajectory I’ve been on since I was young,” Jamie says. “Being proactive, an advocate, and an activist has always been there for me with certain environmental issues.
“I grew up on the ocean, and in order to protect it, we need to solve the climate crisis. It all goes hand in hand. Having kids has highlighted it further in my mind. I want their future to be protected.
“If I don’t care enough to try and help, who will? That’s where it all comes from.”
Jamie remembers back when she was racing with Interlodge Racing Team, she helped the team develop a plan that enabled them to move away from single-use plastic water bottles. Then, through her subsequent work as an ambassador for 11th Hour Racing, she has continued to dedicate her time and energy to sustainability and decarbonization initiatives. One of the first voluntary roles she got involved in was assisting small business owners on their journey to a greener future through the ReThink Disposable program run by Clean Water Action.
More recently, her work has been closer to home in Jamestown, RI, and like many progressive actions and endeavors, it all started with a question: “How can I get my small town to set goals and create a plan around helping us meet our climate and carbon reduction goals?” Her inquisitiveness took her on a path that led her to NEEP, the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships, an organization acting to reduce climate pollution and build a sustainable and resilient energy future.
Alongside NEEP, Jamie started creating an energy reduction roadmap for communities like hers and for people like her who were invested in climate issues but felt overwhelmed with where to begin. The roadmap provides strategies, both big and small, that local volunteers and municipal governments can choose to action at any time. Specifically, in Jamie’s case, solutions to decarbonizing municipal buildings have been the focus.
“This project focuses on decarbonizing the building sector and helping to facilitate the work being done at the town level,” she explains.
“There’s definitely been forward progress! We created a plan that got approved by the Town Council, and there’s work already being done. For example, installing solar panels on municipal buildings.”
Throughout the decades, it’s been impossible for Jamie to ignore the drastic environmental changes happening all around her. Things like rising water temperatures, animal beaching, coral reefs dying, increased flooding, and significantly more plastic pollution. Taking a family trip to the beach in 2023 isn’t complete without picking up trash, and scuba diving on the reef is a very different experience from when she first learned how to do it at age 10.
Her second love of being in the mountains is also unquestionably impacted by the negative effects of climate change, with snow levels deteriorating at a rapid rate.
“There are so many different things happening, unfortunately, and everything connects back to climate,” she says.
“You can go into a state of depression or go into a state of action, and I tend to choose the latter. Anything we can all do on an individual basis, or even bigger, is super important.”
So, what are some of the things we can all do to actively contribute?
Here are three top tips from Jamie on how to help reduce single-use plastic consumption:
Jamie’s house is very much a single-use plastic-free zone, and she describes decarbonizing their footprint at home and taking the steps to being off-grid as having been “a cool journey” that is still very much ongoing.
Alongside the bigger projects undertaken, like installing solar panels, there’s also been an “amazingly simple task” that has brought so many benefits. Composting.
Jamie has been composting for many years and is passionate about the impact something so effortless can directly bring to ocean health and our climate goals.
Here are Jamie’s three reasons why composting is such a rewarding habit to undertake:
Everyone at 11th Hour Racing is excited to continue supporting Jamie on her future initiatives and work in the community with NEEP.
If you’d like to learn more about composting and the local opportunities in your community, visit our campaign!
Header image credit: Madison Van Wylen / 11th Hour Racing