Michelle CarnevaleAs a Program Manager for 11th Hour Racing, a Newport, RI-based organization focused on sustainability in the sailing and maritime community, Michelle Carnevale is using a lifelong love of the ocean to help save it.

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“I grew up in West Sand Lake, NY, a small town outside of Albany,” says Michelle, who lives in Raynham, MA. “Every summer, my parents would take us to Cape Cod. I looked forward to that one-week trip every year. Whether it was the six-hour whale watching trip or long walks on the tidal flats picking up Moon Snails, those memories forged my love of the ocean and all the fascinating species that live there. At Cornell University, when it came time to select a major, the advice ‘do what you love’ stuck with me and I knew I had to do something to protect the ocean so I chose to study Marine Ecology.”

Michelle earned an MBA and an MA in Marine Affairs/Coastal Management from the University of Rhode Island. “I was lucky enough to work for the University of Rhode Island’s Coastal Resources Center and Rhode Island Sea Grant after graduate school,” she says. “I worked on coastal policy and planning in Rhode Island, helping policy makers apply the best science available to decisions on where to site offshore wind energy or best deal with the impacts of sea level rise. It’s critical to address climate change across multiple efforts, including developing clean energy and adapting our coastal communities to be more resilient to storms and rising sea level, and Rhode Island is a real leader in how to tackle both.”

“At 11th Hour Racing, we work with the sailing community and maritime industries to advance solutions and practices to protect and restore the health of our ocean. Whether it’s getting kids out on the water for the first time, educating sailors around the world about threats and solutions to ocean health, or competing against the world’s best racing teams, our grantees, ambassadors and partners are doing their part every day.”

“People often ask about our name 11th Hour Racing. ‘Racing’ stems from our belief that the power of sport, like sailing, can be harnessed to create positive change in the world. ‘11th Hour’ comes from a sense of urgency…that we’re reaching a critical point when it comes to the health of our oceans and we must act now. From plastic pollution and climate change to the environmental impacts of our sport, our oceans are threatened. The clock is ticking.”

“As a Program Manager I oversee our Grant Program, working with non-profit organizations around the world to advance clean technologies and best practices throughout the marine industry, support solutions that reduce ocean pollution, and invest in programs that foster ocean stewardship. I am proud of all of the achievements of our grantees! I also oversee our Ambassador Program, which partners with leaders in the sailing community to drive change within the sport by creating dialogue, leading by example, and ensuring young sailors are educated and energized to protect and care for our oceans.”

In March, Michelle attended the 6th International Marine Debris Conference in San Diego, CA. “It was incredible!” she enthuses. “The conference gathered over 700 people from more than 50 countries, all focused on studying and tackling the issue of plastic pollution. Attendees shared their latest research on the sources, fate, and impacts of plastic in our oceans. I was proud to present on our work with the Volvo Ocean Race alongside grantees of Schmidt Marine Technology Partners including Ethan Edson, who talked about his microplastic sensor the Mantaray, and Rachael Miller from Rozalia Project, who presented on the Cora Ball, a microfiber-catching laundry device that she invented.”

“11th Hour Racing is very excited to be the Founding Principal Partner of the Volvo Ocean Race Sustainability Program, as well as a co-title sponsor of the team Vestas 11th Hour Racing. Our partnership with the race involves supporting the development of an educational program, implementing sustainable event operations at each of the Stopovers, and hosting seven Ocean Summits to highlight solutions and commitments to tackle ocean plastic pollution.”

“Vestas 11th Hour Racing aims to be the most sustainable Volvo Ocean Race team by implementing a comprehensive sustainability plan across all of their operations, promoting renewable energy, and educating about ocean health.  One particularly exciting aspect is the Vestas 11th Hour Racing Legacy Project, where a grant is given to a local environmental organization at each Stopover. These grants provide financial support and help highlight local conservation issues and efforts to address them.”

“11th Hour Racing is thrilled to be supporting the One Ocean Exploration Zone at the Newport Race Village. Newport is one of the only Race Villages with an area of this scale specifically highlighting the work of local organizations, with hands-on interactive exhibits featuring everything from underwater virtual reality to recycling races, and opportunities to discover ocean science and the environment.”

“11th Hour Racing supports education programs of all types to help kids fall in love with being on the water and learn what they can do to protect it. We all depend on the ocean, whether we realize it or not. It provides the air we breathe, the food we eat, regulates our climate, and the list goes on. Kids are an incredibly powerful in creating change. I heard a quote recently: ‘Kids may be only 25% of the population, but they are 100% of the future.’ We need to empower them with the knowledge to make the best choices. What I love most about my job is that I get to work with people and organizations that love the ocean as much as I do!”

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