Can you tell our readers a little about what you do and your journey so far?
Back in 2014 I was working for a local TV channel as a presenter and producer. Then my life took a different turn after I stumbled across the trailer for the film ‘Albatross’ on social media. Seeing the devastating effects of marine plastic on the Laysan Albatross chicks on the Midway Islands was a massive wake-up call. I’ve always been environmentally conscious but there was something about seeing everyday items that I was using, ending up in the bellies of these magnificent creatures, that I just couldn’t bear. That’s when I started campaigning and ended up founding City to Sea. Five years on and we’re a team of 34, running award-winning campaigns and stopping hundreds of tonnes of plastic from getting into rivers and seas each year. It’s bonkers.
I am currently reading your incredible book 'How to save the world for free' can you share with our readers a little about the process and how this book came into fruition?
City to Sea’s campaigns are making a real difference in terms of plastic pollution, but I felt that I wanted to take our audience and supporters on a journey to connect plastic pollution to the ecological emergency we’re facing. Our oceans are under threat from pollution from industrial farming, ocean acidification, over- fishing and melting ice - and all of this connects back to our actions on the land. And I love writing, so it made sense for the next step to be a book!
What can you not live without?
My teenage son, which inevitably means a lot more waste in the house than if I was living on my own!
Can you tell us the most moving experience that you’ve had?
I’ve had so many! One of the things I love is how campaigning changes people’s lives. But if I had to choose one, it’d be some recent feedback from a reader of my book. She’s in her late teens and has been suffering from eco-anxiety, to the point of it seriously affecting her mental health and wellbeing. She wrote to me telling me that my book had helped her move through her fear and despair, and that she was feeling like her life had purpose again. And she said her parents were really relieved too. That kind of blew me away. "I’ve had so many! One of the things I love is how campaigning changes people’s lives."
What is your life motto?
There’s a better way, that’s way more fun.
What have you learnt so far?
That I’ve got lots to learn. And that by going outside of my comfort zone, I grow and can help others better.
Other than seeing an awesome team around making a positive difference in the world, it’s probably getting an honorary doctorate from The University of the West of England. I dropped out of uni after six weeks when I was 18, so becoming a Doctor later in life without studying tickled me.
What advice would you give to the younger generation?
To cultivate a sense, an excitement even, of your power to change the world. Of your ability to do what you love and what your brilliant at whilst creating a future that sustains and supports, not just us, but all life on earth. (My graduation speech expands on that if readers want more of that!)
What do you think makes a good company?
Bravery (to ask for what you need and take risks), vulnerability (to be honest about your failings) and an unstoppable desire to protect the planet for future generations.
Thanks to our brilliant CEO at City to Sea, I’m currently freed up to do more talks, write silly songs about the environment on my ukulele, get my book out into the world and share more of our work on social media. Other campaigns are always brewing, I’m working on a big one for 2021, but for now you’ll find me on social media or at a festival near you!