By Kay Newton
Humans are destroying the planet. Whether it’s pollution, the devastation of ecosystems or depletion of natural resources, we seem to be very good at destruction.
But not all humans are bad. There are a few who do care about their environment and want to create lasting change for generations to come. Here are three inspirational examples.
eXXpedition Round the World 2019-2022
This is a pioneering all-female ocean sailing expedition to circumnavigate the globe with the aim of raising awareness of and explore solutions to the devastating environmental and health impacts of single-use plastics and toxins in the world’s ocean.
As a sailor in my youth, I felt drawn to this project and immediately signed up. Having lived and visited islands around the world, I have seen the devastating impact single-use plastics are having on the environment. It doesn’t matter whether I am on a beach in Mallorca, Zanzibar or San Blas, I can pick up plastic.
What is hard to grasp is the unseen plastic pollution impact upon our bodies. Most plastics leach hormone-like chemicals and these ‘gender-bending’ chemicals are causing daily havoc in our bodies.
This sailing voyage and scientific research mission will take in 38,000 nautical miles over 30 voyage legs starting and ending in UK. It will enable 300 women to go to sea as hands-on crew and experience first-hand the challenges we face from single-use plastics while contributing to cutting-edge scientific research and solutions-based thinking.
This project is actually three-fold: Unseen pollution, unseen women, unseen solutions. The expedition aims to celebrate women in science, leadership and adventure. It will create a community of female, multidisciplinary changemakers and inspire action against plastic pollution.
“The plastic pollution challenge our oceans face is a global one and it will take an inspired army of passionate, skilled and experienced people to tackle it,” says Emily Penn, eXXpedition director and Sky Ocean Rescue Ambassador. “This is our biggest project yet and by far the most challenging.”
In the four years since the first eXXpedition voyage across the Atlantic, over 100 exceptional women have sailed on missions creating their own narratives about plastics and toxics. These eXXpedition Ambassadors have undertaken hundreds of activities back on dry land to inspire action on ocean plastics in their communities and beyond.
Says Emily, “We’re looking for amazing women with a passion to protect our ocean to come forward to join us. Women from diverse multidisciplinary and cultural backgrounds can apply to take part – previous sailing experience is not a requirement.”
If you would like to join in, visit www.exxpedition.com/appl
This is the story of two young girls Sophie and Lucy and their father Stephen Conway, living in Salisbury, England. As the family ate chocolate Easter eggs one year, the girls realised that the chocolate didn’t even taste that great, it was seriously harmful (full of sugar) and wasn’t good for the environment either.
Stephen began experimenting in the home kitchen, with Sophie and Lucy, at ages nine and 11, testing new flavours, giving marks out of 10. Eventually, Stephen turned their chocolate research into a thriving business. His daughters love the fact their dad has now become ‘Willy Wonka’.
“The girls’ feedback is taken into consideration even for the packaging. They are also very involved in the marketing of the product. We love creating Facebook videos together and now have a fabulous following. They are so popular at school, all of the kids love our chocolate and have become huge fans,” says their dad.
The Pure Heavenly recipe is 100 percent vegan, plant-based, and totally free from dairy, gluten, wheat, soy, and GMO ingredients. It is free of palm oil, so is better for the environment. It also has very low sugar content (2 percent versus up to 55 percent in other chocolate brands!). And they deliver internationally.
One of the amazing side benefits of the whole process has been that the girls have also learned a lot about business. “They have seen the whole process from start to finish. From experimenting on the kitchen table too, the first product ideas, getting funding and opening a factory in Scotland, taking on staff, packaging changes, sales and marketing. They have become brand personalities in their own right,” Stephen goes on.
His advice for anyone wanting to change their environment, however small, is to keep reading, learning, keep moving forward, following your passions and if you can, involving your family! “Everything you do will always have a counter-argument. We live in a world of opposites. Instead of thinking doom and gloom, think potential. For example, banning flights that cause carbon pollution is difficult, so, create something that counteracts this. There are companies and entrepreneurs out there working on counteracting projects and this is exciting, this is the future. We live in exciting times.”
Visit www.pureheavenly.com for more.
Earth Check Award for Zuri Zanzibar
Is it possible for a luxury resort on an African coast that offers world-class gastronomy, wellness, and contemporary design, to also follow principles of sustainable architecture and responsible tourism? Yes! When Lucie Mauron set out to help the newly opened Zuri Zanzibar, a five-star hotel in East Africa, achieve the prestigious Gold Award from Earth Check, this is exactly what she had in mind.
I enjoyed talking with Lucie and listening to her enthusiasm for the win-win solutions achieved by her team, helping Zuri Zanzibar create a benchmark for other hotels to follow.
“One of the biggest wins was realising that the statistics may not look good financially at the outset, yet over time the wins become huge,” explains Lucie, who is a finance and operations manager at civic and social organisation Ashoka’s Switzerland office. She is also an MScBA student in entrepreneurship, innovation and business growth.
Based in Lausanne, she worked closely with Zuri’s team in Zanzibar, taking into account the differences in culture: they had African staff working in a European setting.
“We realised the importance of a training program for the local population. This gave the local community financial stability and in turn created continuance within the hotel and encouraged financial savings. Less staff turnover is a win-win for the hotel and the local community,” she affirms.
Lucie’s advice to other hotels interested in working toward Earth Check’s principals is to start early. “The most effective strategy is to adopt the Earth Check concepts at the design stage of the hotel; that’s where the best benefits for all lie. Think of the big picture at all times. What are you doing to the Earth? It is no good planning on-the-ground strategies if you have a team of people flying around the world on a regular basis. This carbon footprint alone will take years to erase.”
Kay Newton is an award-winning speaker, writer and midlife strategist. Follow her on KayNewton.com.
First published in eShe’s May 2019 issue