...But first...### Barclays Seven Update###
On Friday of this week Zoe Cohen comes up for sentence. You’ll remember that she is one of the Barclays Seven found guilty at the end of last year of causing criminal damage to the glass panels at the front of the Barclays Bank HQ in Canary Wharf, London. Their complaint was that Barclays is one of the biggest investors in the oil industry, investing hundreds of billions since the Paris Agreement and since the IEA warned that we could not achieve net zero unless all new oil exploitation was stopped now. Zoe and her companions face up to 18 months in prison.
I’ll keep you posted!
Save the Oceans
My guest this week wants to save the oceans and wants to inspire 100 million people to help him do that. Sounds a lot, although given that world population passed 8 billion last year is it really a lot?
The oceans, he tells us, are the lungs of the planet. Forget the tropical rainforests - the oceans are far more significant. Everything, everything we do, affects the oceans. And the oceans affect us.
By the way, you’ll hear that he talks about organising TEDx in Cowes. For those of my listeners who are not local, you should know that Cowes is a town on the Isle of Wight in southern England, a notable yachting centre. Nothing to do with animals.
Anthony: Leonardo Zangrando, Lone Yachtsman and Impact Coach, welcome to the Sustainable Futures Report.
Leonardo...: Wow. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. I'm very glad to be here with you.
Anthony: Leonardo, you have a project to inspire 100 million people to take action to clean up the oceans. How are you going to do that?
Leonardo ...: Yeah. Okay. So, I would tell you by telling you the story how it developed, how it was born. I'm a naval architect as a background, but I've been sailing since when I was a child. I come from a family of seafarers from generations. So, we've been always connected with the ocean. So, love for the ocean on one side and on the other side.
Recently, probably too late, I would say, I started realizing that the ocean can't take it all. I decided I want to do something. I want to do something to help our planet and the ocean to get better in spite of us, and probably doing something for us to understand that we should act differently. A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to create a TEDx conference in Cowes. So, in 2021 I run TEDxCowes on ocean sustainability. My objective, at that time, was to not only inspire people with a talk, but also inspire people to action. I asked all the speakers to include in their talk a call to action, telling people what they can really do for the ocean, not just theoretical stuff, but real stuff.
For that one, I had the objective to inspire 1 million people. Now, what happened is that after six months the videos of TEDxCowes 2021 got over 250,000 views, so a quarter of a million. So I say, "Well, it's not mission accomplished because I'm [inaudible 00:02:24] a quarter of it, but still I'm very close to it." I thought, Probably the objective should be higher." This is why I kind of multiply it by 100, which is something that I also coach people, to see how powerful we are. Not only that we can have an impact beyond what we expect, but we can also multiply it a hundredfold. I'm walking the talk in a way, what I try to convey to my coachees, that we can do much more than we think. This is where the 100 million people became a figure for me and for my objective.
Anthony: Right. So-
100 Million People...
Leonardo ...: This is how the 100 million people came about.
Anthony: Right. Now, you say the people you were working with came up with calls for action. That's what you specifically asked for. So, what sort of calls did they come up with? What sort of actions can actually be taken, and what sort of actions do you expect these 100 million people to take?
Leonardo ...: So, on one side, what action they suggested, there are several things which are pretty obvious. There is a guy in New York who has not been flying since 2015. It is an obvious action, even if for many of us it might sound impossible because our family is far away. We have to move around the world. Now, everything is connected. Actually, we should realize that we are taking it backwards. His point is that we created a society where we can be connected all across the world just because of the availability of fossil fuels, not the other way around. So, the fact that we are hyper-connected is an effect of the availability of fossil fuels.
Leonardo ...: So, we can really think about it and say, "Mm. Maybe, I can do without and change my outlook on how my life should be developed."
Anthony: Yeah. Okay, okay.
Leonardo ...: You know? So, this is one example.
Helping the Oceans
Anthony: That's going to help the atmosphere. That's not going to help the oceans, though. Is it?
Leonardo ...: Well, yes and no. Actually, whatever happens in terms of CO2 in the atmosphere affects the ocean.
Leonardo ...: Actually, the ocean is much bigger a carbon sink than the Amazon, the big forests in-
Anthony: Oh, yeah. But, it's becoming over overloaded. Isn't it? It's becoming overloaded.
Leonardo ...: Yes. Absolutely.
Anthony: It's leading to acidification, and the acidification is threatening, certainly crustaceans, but lots of other organisms, as well.
Leonardo ...: Exactly.
Anthony: So, what can we do?
Leonardo ...: Exactly. Well, one point is reduce our carbon footprint because it really affects, directly, the ocean. Something else, we can be more conscious of our impact on the ocean in terms of food. We have seen, or maybe many of us have seen, the documentaries on Netflix Conspiracy and Seaspiracy. Seaspiracy is mind boggling because they basically say, "Look, whatever label, clean food, or clean fish, or sustainably caught, is based on self-reported sustainable fishing," which is kind of borderline. Now, I don't want to go that radical and say, "Oh, don't eat fish," but be aware of every single action that you take and what is its impact, direct and indirect, on the ocean and on the planet. I say the ocean because, for me, the ocean is the key because I love the ocean. I also see it's becoming pretty obvious that the ocean is the lung of the planet much more than the forests, for its size and for its mass.
So, really we need to become aware of the impact of every single act that we take, every single product that we buy, every single decision that we make. I think the message is not much... I mean, I want to provide examples of things that people do, or did, or are doing-
Leonardo ...: ... but not in a prescriptive way-
Anthony: Okay, okay.
Leonardo ...: ... as much as in a inspiring way. "Look, this guy had this problem, or had this idea, and he's doing this thing. What can you do because you are much more powerful than what you believe?”
Round the World in 2024
Anthony: Okay, okay. Now, as part of the project, you are working towards a solo round-the-world voyage on a sailing yacht, and that's-
Leonardo ...: Yes.
Anthony: You're going to launch in 2024, so-
Leonardo ...: Correct.
Anthony: What are you doing before that, and how is this going to push your project forward?
Leonardo ...: Okay. So, I consider the solo expedition... Well, it is the cornerstone of the project, not much because it will inspire in itself 100 million people. Very unlikely that 100 million people will know about this guy sailing solo just for its own sake.
Leonardo ...: I want to use it as a cornerstone to build around it a series of events, like tech style events and a documentary. A documentary on the state of the ocean. A documentary that, different from most documentaries, has also a call to action. Again, an action oriented documentary. "What can you do?" Of course, the story of the expedition is part of it. and it will be the link for all the parts that will make up the documentary. Yeah. It's a cornerstone or the excuse, if you want, to have something important to talk about around the ocean, something that also inspires people. Inspires people to the ability that we have to go beyond our limits and realize that we can do much more than what we believe.
Leonardo ...: In a deep-
Anthony: Let me ask you, you're inviting sponsors to support you.
Leonardo ...: Yeah.
Anthony: What will sponsors get for their investment? And, more importantly, what will their support do for the planet?
Leonardo ...: Right. Yes. Okay. So, what the sponsors get is being related to an expedition that has this specific objective to inspire 100 million people. In fact, that's the reason why sponsors would sponsor the expedition. I think, in this I'm risking, but this is very important for me, not much for a race or a world record. I see many cases of sailors who get sponsored because they are racing. In fact, sponsors are very willing to sponsor a race-
Leonardo ...: ... and the most modern boats, and the most futuristic kind of boats and materials, and all the stuff. This is, in a way, contrary to my ethos-
Anthony: Are you going to be selective in choosing your sponsors? Are you going to be sure that they are organizations which have sustainable credentials, or-
Leonardo ...: Absolutely.
Anthony: If an oil company comes along, will you accept their sponsorship?
Leonardo ...: No, thank you. No. Seriously, no, thank you. Actually, in terms of that kind of company, I don't want even to mention that kind of companies. I have been working for the last five years on a project to get together all the start-ups in the maritime and shipping sector, which is notoriously a kind of dirty sector in terms of impact on the planet. Well, I always avoided to get any relationship with that kind of companies. Those companies were interested in working with me and with the start-ups in the network. I deliberately avoided them because I really don't want to be connected to... This might be too extreme. In fact, the counterargument is, "Well, why not use that easy money that they get from the ground and from the planet, basically from destroying the planet, why not use it for a good cause?" This is too much for me. I really don't want to use that money, even if they could flood me with money. I don't want it.
Anthony: Yeah, yeah. Okay. Now, I'm sure you are aware of Ellen MacArthur, who is a round-the-world yachtswoman. Afterwards, she's created the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which is one of the leading organizations in the circular economy. When you complete your voyage, what do you want your legacy to be?
Leonardo ...: Okay. That's a very interesting question. I guess that what will happen will be very similar to what happened to Dame Ellen. I would bet that when she was racing, she didn't have the clear picture of what she wanted to achieve with the foundation. Then, this thing materialized in the process. This is how start-up works, or any great idea works. It really changes in time. So, my idea, right now, is to create a kind of, let's get big, a media powerhouse on ocean sustainability. Very similar to what Ellen MacArthur did. She has a very specific and very interesting focus on circular economy, which is also part of my message with my boat. I'm going to use an existing boat. I'm not going to build a new boat because as they say, "The most sustainable boat is the existing boat." I mean, it's a sunk cost, unfortunately, for the environment, but I keep using it rather than destroying it, or the commission. This is one.
Sustainable Oceans Alliance
Anthony: Now, the Sustainable Oceans Alliance has a range of projects around the world. We spoke to them quite recently on the Sustainable Futures Report. They encourage a number of things towards your objectives as well, towards cleaning up the ocean, towards living in more of a balance with the ocean.
Leonardo ...: Absolutely.
Anthony: They encourage certain technological advances, for example, to avoid by-catch in fishing, and things like that.
Leonardo ...: Yeah.
Anthony: Now, you say on your voyage you intend to carry out some sort of research. What sort of things will you be doing? What sort of objectives will your research have?
Leonardo ...: Okay. So, first thing I would say hello to Daniela. We've been talking for long. We've been on a panel long ago, five years ago. Daniela Fernandez of-
Leonardo ...: They're doing great. She's been great in raising the funds to create this fund to support start-ups. I've been working with start-ups for the last 12 years. This doesn't deny the value of reusing assets like I'm doing, but I want also to refit, or refurbish, the boat with the most advanced and sustainable products available. Now, to the question, "What I'm going to do for science?" I am discussing with the GOOS, Global Ocean Observation System, which is a UNESCO entity, to help them deploy a series of buoys that they deploy across the ocean. They have a network of over 2,000 buoys across the oceans, which allow them to have a real-time picture of the state of the oceans of the whole globe.
So, this is a very important part of science, and this is applied science to know exactly what is going on with the oceans in almost real-time. So, I'm going to help them deploy a number of buoys along my route, which is a route that is very little... There are very few boats going on those routes so very little chances to deploy buoys in those areas. This is one, and I'm also open and willing to bring on board start-up driven innovation for ocean sustainability. It's very broad. I don't know what kind of start-ups there might be out there who might need, or benefit from, being on that journey with me. I'm very open to have them on board as long as their contribution is not mission critical, obviously.
Anthony: Okay, okay. Well, you've got nearly two years before you set sail. So, I think the most important thing to do is to wish you bon voyage and look forward to talking to you again. Perhaps, as you set off so that we can see how the project has developed.
Leonardo ...: Absolutely.
Anthony: You're going to be at sea for, you say, 200 days. That's seven or eight months. Isn't it? So, maybe during the voyage, we'll, also-
Leonardo ...: Yeah.
Anthony: ... because you're going to be in communication, I think. Satellite phones, these days, will get almost everywhere. Won't they?
Leonardo ...: Well, yeah, yeah. That's actually a very interesting sponsor that I would like to have, a sponsor allowing real-time connection. I would say, with the Low Earth Orbit Network, typically, is the SpaceX network. They created a network that covers the entire globe. In France, there is a provider also offering the same kind of service. That kind of sponsor, if you hear me, "You are very welcome aboard."
Anthony: Well, we'll put your website and all the contact details up on my website as this podcast goes out. You never know, somebody may pick it up, and I shall expect my commission. Well-
Leonardo ...: It will be free Wi-Fi for a year.
Anthony: Yes. Well, that'll be... Yes. It'll be very nice. Leonardo, thank you very much for sharing your ideas and talking to us here on the Sustainable Futures Report.
Leonardo ...: Thank you very much. Thank you for having me, and good luck for all your next interviews. You're doing a great job. Thank you very much.
Well, all being well we'll get back to Leonardo as he sets off in 2024 and hopefully we’ll keep in touch with him as he makes his voyage. In the meantime, you can find out more at oneandocean.com
I frequently talk about what we can do to tackle the climate crisis and while we individually have responsibilities, government organisations and businesses have the clout to really make a difference. For organisations to be successfully sustainable their employees at all levels need to understand the issues and actions. Next week I talk to Clarke Murphy about sustainable leadership.
That's it for this week. January almost gone already!
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That was the Sustainable Futures Report.
I’m Anthony Day.
Until next time.