Author: Abbie Merritt
Among thought leaders, change makers, business minds and global speakers, Bristol hosted a community determined to protect our planet and optimism. The second Blue Earth Summit (BES) took place this October to celebrate the impacts being made across the world and share the positive changes that collaboration can bring.
For three days, purpose-driven brands and organisations discussed their thoughts on the current climate crisis. Gone are the days of stale business cards, egocentric boardrooms and idle handshaking – we saw over 70 speakers from different backgrounds sharing their experiences of the sustainability movement, and with over 5000 attendees, the energy was apparent throughout.
System change is integral in protecting the future generations. As Sir Tim Smit KBE has stated in the past, ‘loneliness is a key issue that continues to hinder the progress of nature-based solutions. The time of abundance is over and we are not entitled to whatever we want, an idealised hangover from the industrial revolution. In order to effectively tackle our own sustainability, we must all feel included and part of the community; it is not about enabling the next generation to fix the problem’.
The Power of the Outdoors
From pensions and investing, to blue health and diversity – the topics discussed at this year’s Summit were varied, and prevalent issues shared transparently, with no judgement and masses of support. Lizzie Daly, a wildlife biologist and presenter, hosted a panel discussing purpose in the outdoors. Charlie Young (Ocean Magpie), Laura Sanderson (We Swim Wild) and Kate Rawles (The Outdoor Philosophy) shared their experiences in the outdoor domain and how they had each faced their own challenges in their fields. As a networking event, the BES succeeded in inspiring businesses to consider their impacts, but on a more personal level, people came away feeling motivated to get outdoors and explore.
Since the event, individuals have continued to share their takeaway moments from the Summit and the positive impact has felt substantial. Molly Gould, a writer who attended the BES and made it to a few of the workshop series, shared her thoughts on imperfect advocacy in a recent article. ‘Taking action doesn’t have to be shiny and preachy, perfect and faultless, it can be a group of people coming together to make things better and do things in a way that is different, inspiring, and low-impact.’
This hit home, particularly after hearing from speakers involved in fashion, creative advertising and other inherently unsustainable sectors. One key speaker that touched on this was Jax Davey, a young entrepreneur whose company (Nuevo) is making waves in the advertising world. Nuevo aim to take 10x more carbon out of the atmosphere than they produce, through a variety of innovative methods. When questioned about sustainability and the impact of creating content, Jax responded that ‘industry change is needed and the way we advertise must become smarter. Effectively, the way that we tell stories must change’.
Day three was held at The Wave, Bristol’s inland surf spot. We saw more speakers, networking and workshops, alongside climbing sessions, cold water swimming, an intro to freediving workshop, a bike ride with Trash Free Trails and trail running.
As the cyclists were preparing to head out on their route to Blaise Castle, using a route provided by BES parter, Komoot, Dom Ferris, founder of Trash Free Trails, handed out a number of click counters to keep track of how much rubbish everyone came across. A few hours later, after regrouping, Dom shared that within the first 10km just one of the cyclists had already found over 1000 pieces of single waste pollution. With no idea how bad it could be, particularly as a local Bristolian, this was a heart breaking find. We are truly suffocating the future with our own consumption; but by surrounding ourselves with pioneers, in a city known for its culture and vibrance, it feels like the most motivating environment for generating change.
Looking Forwards for 2023
Like many others, I came away from Blue Earth Summit feeling inspired and energised, but it’s important that we don’t lose that drive to work towards a better future after leaving these events.
Looking towards 2023, we need to keep up the momentum and continue those conversations. Whether you came to the Summit to meet people, share your story, connect your brand or simply learn – make your time mean something.
Grab tickets for next year’s Blue Earth Summit to ensure you’re part of the ‘must attend’ Summit for purpose-led business.
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