Beyond Inspired – Eyes Wide Open at the summit, the message was clear - it's time for change.
From the well-known speakers like Sir Tim Smit KBE, Hugo Tagholm from SAS and Bertrand Piccard to perhaps the slightly less in the limelight but none the less inspirational in their action around climate action like Nick Hounsfield, Tom Kay and Sam Bleakly sharing their real-world businesses and personal experiences of change – the common denominator was we need to change.
We were honoured with Lord-Lieutenant Peaches Golding opening the event and her message was clear to the packed venue on the backstreets of Bristol – the time for talking is over. It’s a time for fast action.
There were learnings from all the speakers that would be almost impossible to transcribe in less than a thousand words. One might think a conference like this could be a rant fueled activist fest, but it was far from it. I learnt such an incredible amount about what our communities are already doing as well as listening to some innovative solutions being created through the pitch den.
Individuals and organizations are striving for change and the collective knowledge sharing at this event was inspiring to say the least.
Sir Tim Smit (Lost Gardens of Heligan / Eden Project) took us on a journey around the globe talking about indigenous communities and not only how we either wiped them out or how some companies continue to try to do so, but he shrared light about initiatives like which the Eden Project are working on that could make a substantial difference to our planet, today. I was the first time really for me I learned about what’s possible with geothermal energy (read more on the project here ) where they are working on a ground-breaking initiative at the Eden Project, to harness naturally occurring sustainable energy from the rock deep underground. This could revolutionise how we generate energy in communities all over the globe reducing many influences that impact global warming and carbon emissions.
Just think for a moment about potential impact of the geothermal project Eden are working on for our planet – if proved successful and (based on stats Tim gave) if communities in America alone adopt this new energy source, they could reduce 23% of trucks on roads – from those carrying coal every day. Beyond the carbon reduction this project could provide our planet, it could also create bio-cultures to grow literally every plant we have on this earth… in a matter of years, not decades, we could be creating self-sustaining communities the world over. It costs less than traditional energy creation, which means there is less profit at stake – so it will take pure will by governments to make that happen.
There is an urgent need to cool our planet and we need to find a fix fast. Onto our green leafed friends - what do trees provide on a hot sunny day? Shade.
Trees eat up carbon right? Yes, whilst technically true, they create shade at ground level but indirectly they play a much much greater role in protecting our planet. I’m not arbor culturist, but as carbon is soaked into the tree, it returns via it’s leaves as water. Water evaporates, causes clouds (and therefor rain) but most importantly, they provide shade from the sun and can cool our beloved planet.
I came to learn at this event with eyes and ears wide open and with some little nuggets like this above, are continuing to fuel my imagination and conversations I’ve been having since, which goes to show the importance of events such as the Blue Earth Summit.
The conversations and experiences shared moved around from various projects being worked on around the globe and we circled back to one of my favourite topics – water. My parents always said I was born swimming and I’ve never lived more than a few miles from mother natures most beautiful of resources – the sea.
As I finish writing this, I learn this week that our government has objected to an amendment that could help protect our waterways from sewage spillages. When you can be fined for leaving a cardboard box next to a recycling unit, how are companies that pollute one of our critical natural resources not being held to account for their actions. As Sir Tim went on to say, are they not committing “acts of treason”?
There is a very simple answer here - profit before nature.
I’ve been a supporter of Surfers Against Sewage for a long time and it was great to have Hugo Tagholm, CEO at SAS share his experiences particularly over this last year. Whilst the pandemic has been brutal for many of us, he also shared how the environment has gained…but lost out as well.
Dolphins were returning to places not seen for years. We’ve had the greatest reduction in carbon emissions the planet has seen in years. However… those emissions only accounted for 7% of total carbon emission output – so where’s the other 93% coming from?
We have also faced a new pandemic – 130 billion face masks are making their way into our ecosystem and particularly oceans every, single, day.
As published in the Guardian today. 3.1 million hours of raw sewage has been pumped into our rivers and seas in 2020 alone.
The world is connected by one global ocean, yet in the words of Hugo “it’s full of sh*t” so maybe we should be doing something to clean it up?
If like me you love the sea, use the SAS app (download here) to track and trace pollution in your area, then alert your MP’s. Write to your council – this could be the only track and trace that helps save the future of our planet.
I could continue talking about every project and every initiative that was discussed at the event and perhaps each week I’ll share a little more. We at Raccoon Events are committed to being net zero by 2025 and through these pages, I hope that we can continue to bring you content to help inspire you to make a difference.
We can all play our part and whilst sometimes it may seem our acts are small and insignificant, it can enthuse and inspire the next person who maybe pulls the purse strings on big budget change.
To continue the discussion, we moved to The Wave in Bristol who are putting community and sustainability at the heart of their operation. We’ll write more on this soon!
Thank you for reading.
If you have a story or initiative on the environment that you’d like to share, please do contact me and we can chat.
All photos - BESUMMIT21
Knowing where to start when it seems like there are a million things we could be doing is probably the hardest part. So start small. Keep it simple. Do #justonething and you can start making an impact today.
Even if only a couple days a week, not only can it help you detox, saves animals and it can also reduce your impact on the environment. What’s your best vegan recipe?
If you are heading back into your office, whilst I understand you couldn’t necessarily run a marathon to and from work every day, what about taking public transport half way, or a couple stops before you would normally get off and run, walk or cycle into your workplace?
A simple solution that we do with our kids almost every time we’re out. Pick up ten pieces of rubbish (taking care on sharp objects, and ensuring you have antibac to hand!). If everyone in your community did this every day, how many thousands of pieces of rubbish could you collect?
If you use a dishwasher, stop rinsing your dishes. This simple act wastes more than 22,000 litres of water per day, so scrape your scraps and maintain your dishwasher to be more effective in water usage.