In Conversation with the Pelorus Foundation Team
On the 11th and 12th of October, Justine and I were in Bristol attending the Blue Earth Summit, a breakthrough business conference inspired and powered by the outdoors. From environmental activists to marine scientists, purpose driven adventurers and sustainable business leaders, the Blue Earth Summit community really is an incredible movement to be a part of. Sometimes the mission of environmental action can feel a little overwhelming, and on occasions, lonely, so to be surrounded by a room full of people who share the same visions, passions and concerns, is a very empowering experience.
On the train back to London, I was trying to put my finger on what exactly was driving the unique energy at the event, and my thoughts kept coming back to the word ‘passion’. Each person at Blue Earth Summit was passionate about the outdoors, about protecting it, and about the personal impact they want to have. And to be in a room full of 800 people who are truly passionate, is to witness an undercurrent that feels formidable. It becomes impossible to believe that real change won’t happen, because after spending two days at Blue Earth Summit, you know that it most certainly will.
The future of our planet depends on collective action, I think that goes without saying, so to see a once emerging movement grow into a powerful unit, gives hope. We return from Blue Earth Summit with a renewed sense of purpose, inspiration and confidence. Knowing that supporting us, is an invincible new network of serious movers and shakers. Thank you to everyone we met who made the experience what it was, and for Blue Earth Summit who have created a fresh and original network space for one of the most important communities of this decade.
I caught up with Justine to hear her reflections on Blue Earth Summit 2022.
“Blue Earth Summit is a movement. A dynamic mix of communities, redefining how we work and driven by a love for the outdoors. Each year we bring together makers and mavericks, founders and futurists, adventurers and investors, for three days in one of the most radical cities in the world.”
M: Please tell me about your initial reflections on Blue Earth Summit?
J: It’s been an inspiring two days at the Blue Earth Summit, talking with, and hearing from, some incredible people. The openness of sharing, the willingness to collaborate, and the passion to help protect our precious natural environment, is at the forefront of everyone’s minds.
M: Which conversation, talks and discussions particularly stand out?
J: Meeting again with Sir Tim Smit, Eden Project Co-Founder, and rescuer of the Lost Gardens of Heligan (two places you must visit), is always very grounding, reminding me of the authenticity that must always be there in all that we do for conservation and biodiversity. Hearing again from Sir Jonathan Porritt, and his feeling that finally an environmental revolution is coming, gives hope on what can often feel like dark days for conservation. Listening to Richard Walker OBE of Iceland sharing the issues of sustainability that Iceland strive to address in a challenging and highly competitive supermarket chain arena, stirred up memories of a joint initiative I worked on together with Iceland in my ActionAid days – campaigning against GMO’s in the food we eat. It’s great to see this supermarket brand continuing to improve and challenge sustainability in the food we buy. And feeling the shared passion when speaking to, and hearing from so many awe inspiring adventurers, like freediver and scientist, Charlie Young, who in their own ways are helping to highlight the beauty and wonder of our natural world. People with my own shared values, who are trying to bring back balance and ensure we only leave positive footprints on our earth.
M: There were so many powerful themes running through the summit so this is perhaps a hard question, but is there one in particular that you found especially poignant?
J: My final takeaway from day two was a reminder that it is also the younger generation that have the power, strength and conviction to help fix all the environmental wrongs of the last 50 years. The eloquence of Akosua Asaa Manu, CEO of the Ghanaian National Youth Authority, underlined the essentialness of youth and gender activism in the fight to combat climate change. The clarity and passion from climate change consultant and PhD student Abraham Bugre sharing a fantastic concept for capturing plastic before it hits the ocean – saving both our seas and creating local income generation, gave food for thought about where we should be investing.
M: And any final thoughts?
Perhaps an environmental revolution is finally coming. With great institutions like National Trust, RSPB and WWF now threatening direct action, perhaps all those marches I went on in my teens and 20s, all the petitions I have signed, and work I have undertaken myself in the sector over so many years, may finally create some change.
M: What comes next?
Now to reflect on the summit, pick up on the connections made and see what magic we can create together to protect, preserve and restore our environment.
From pioneering sea check research in the Red Sea, to supporting the development of an adaptive reefscape in the Mesoamerican region, we are committed to protecting and improving our blue spaces through local communities.