First-ever Eden Ambassadors chosen to lead the Project to new heights over the next decade
•Dr Easkey Britton, Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, William McDonough and Sir Ken Robinson to help deliver the bold new vision of an Eden Life Systems Academy
•Ambassadors are key to the ambition of Eden Projects in all continents of the world except Antarctica
•Global champions in their fields are the coolest group of four since Abba, says Eden boss Sir Tim Smit
As it enters its 20th year and looks ahead to the massive global challenges of a new decade, the Eden Project has made a serious statement of intent by appointing four world-renowned leaders as the first-ever Eden Ambassadors.
According to Eden Co-Founder Sir Tim Smit, the newly-appointed group of champions can lead the Cornwall-based educational charity to far greater heights and together make up “the coolest band of four on the planet since Abba.”
He announced today the appointment of Dr Easkey Britton as Marine Ambassador, Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim as Communities Ambassador, William McDonough as Ecology Ambassador and Sir Ken Robinson as Education Ambassador.
All are honorary appointments accepted by the Ambassadors at the invitation of Sir Tim.
He assembled the team as part of a bold new plan for an Eden Life Systems Academy on the outer estate at the project’s home in Cornwall.
This will be designed to provide a unique place of learning and to engage with massive global challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss and soil degradation.
The potential for the ground-breaking academy will be unlocked by the establishment of a pioneering geothermal power plant on land nearby, just beyond the world-famous Biomes.
Sir Tim strongly believes that the new team of Ambassadors will help realise the academy’s vision and provide a vital new intellectual charge for Eden not only in Cornwall but in its ambition to have an Eden Project on every continent on earth except Antarctica through its overseas wing Eden Project International Ltd.
He said today: “If you were putting a fantasy team together to represent all that is best in thought leadership to champion Eden’s next ten years, you’d be hard pressed to match the four we are lucky enough to have persuaded to join us.
Marine social scientist and big-wave surfer Dr Easkey Britton is, said Sir Tim, the outstanding choice as Marine Ambassador.
He said: “Easkey is an incredibly fearless and talented champion surfer. She is also a brilliant scientist whose deep knowledge and bond with the water makes her a world leader in the connection between people, nature and wellbeing.”
Easkey’s parents taught her to surf when she was just four years old. Her ground-breaking journey to Iran in 2013 introduced the sport of surfing to women and local communities and is featured in the award-winning documentary film, Into the Sea.
She is working with Sir Tim and team on Eden Project Foyle, a world-class tourism and heritage-led regeneration project in Derry~Londonderry, opening access to 225 acres garden that in 2023 will unlock the landscape along the River Foyle for 400,000 visitors each year.
Sir Tim Smit will be in conversation with Dr Easkey Britton in a webinar on Thursday June 18 at 6pm. To join the virtual conversation, you can reserve a free place in advance via the Zoom webinar registration page: https://bit.ly/2UFc117
Sir Tim said that Communities Ambassador Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim is one of the great emerging voices advocating for indigenous peoples and the protection of nature.
He said: “Hindou embraces our common humanity, connects us with each other and our natural world and is a fearless champion for climate justice introduced to us by the former President of Ireland Mary Robinson as the brightest star of this generation.”
Hindou, an expert in the adaptation of indigenous peoples to climate change, is a member of the Mbororo pastoralist people in Chad and President of the Association for Indigenous Women and Peoples of Chad. She campaigns for the greater inclusion of indigenous peoples and their knowledge and traditions in the global movement to fight the effects of climate change.
Hindou is helping the Eden Project with its work in Chad where Eden is partnering UNESCO and the University of N’Djamena in implementing ecological restoration programmes on three pilot sites in the Chadian area of Lake Chad.
Sir Tim said that William ‘Bill’ McDonough is one of the most influential architects and authors of this or any other age: “The book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things shaped the opinions of a generation of architects, designers, businesses and policymakers with its challenge to look at the biological and technical cycles of materials. Here the notions of closed-loop systems and the circular economy came to public attention.
“In 2019, Bill was named by Fortune Magazine as one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders. Time Magazine named him a ‘hero of the planet’. We are delighted to have him as our guide to materials and approaches to the ecology of construction and are discussing making the Eden Life Systems Academy a global leadership centre for advancing Cradle to Cradle Design™ thinking and action.”
Sir Tim said that Sir Ken Robinson, Non-executive Board Director of Eden Project International Limited, is probably the most famous educationalist in the world.
“His inspiring books and TED Lectures promoting creativity in education are at once funny and deeply humane and focus on education as a means for young people to find their element,” said Sir Tim.
“His passion is to make education a journey of curiosity that leads not only to fulfilment but also to the start of a lifelong interest in the getting of knowledge. Ken will be championing Eden’s approaches to education to enable us to be of service to the world of teaching and inspiring curiosity, both at Eden Projects and more generally. The Eden Life Systems Academy will provide the centre for this.”
The appointment of the first Eden Ambassadors comes at the start of an exciting new decade for the Eden Project, which on March 17, 2021, will reach its 20th anniversary of opening. In that time, it has welcomed more than 22 million visitors, won multiple awards and generated more than £2 billion for the regional economy.
Early next year (2021) Eden will begin its long-awaited geothermal heat and power project by drilling 4.5km deep into the granite crust below its site.
This first well will initially supply a district heating system for Eden’s Biomes, offices and greenhouses. It will pave the way for the second phase - another 4.5km well and an electricity plant.
Completing the second phase will mean that Eden will be generating sufficient renewable energy to become carbon positive in 2023 as well as aiming to be able to provide heat and power for the local area.
A video of Sir Tim Smit talking about Eden’s geothermal plans is available at https://youtu.be/CrzGStYHh08.
Dr Easkey Britton is a marine social scientist, water-woman, writer, film-maker and ocean leader with a PhD in Environment and Society. Her work explores the relationship between people and nature, especially water environments. She contributes her expertise in blue space, health and social wellbeing on national and international research projects including the EU-funded Horizon2020 project on Seas, Oceans and Public Health in Europe (SOPHIE). A life-long surfer, her parents taught her to surf when she was four years old and she channels her passion for surfing and the sea into social change. Named an ‘Agent of Change’ by Surfer magazine in their special Ocean Edition, her work is deeply influenced by the ocean and the lessons learned pioneering women’s big-wave surfing in Ireland and the sport of surfing with women in Iran, which led her to be invited to give an inspiring TEDx talk: Just Add Surf. Her ground-breaking journey to Iran in 2013 introduced the sport of surfing to women and local communities and is featured in the award-winning documentary film, "Into the Sea”. Passionate about facilitating creative & collaborative processes, she founded Like Water, a platform to explore innovative ways to reconnect with who we are, our environment and each other, through water. She uses the sea as an active metaphor to dive deep into the power of presence and embodiment of natural cycles. Easkey designs and delivers international summits and global leadership programmes specialising in experiential learning, nature connection, immersive embodiment practices, community engagement and social impact, including the annual Wavemaker retreat in Portugal and Move Like Water retreat for women. She is currently writing a new book for Mercier Press called ‘Saltwater in the Blood.’
Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim
Hindou is President, Association for Indigenous Women and Peoples of Chad (AFPAT). She is an expert in the adaptation of indigenous peoples to climate change and a member of the Mbororo pastoralist people in Chad and President of the Association for Indigenous Women and Peoples of Chad (AFPAT). She advocates for the greater inclusion of indigenous people and their knowledge and traditions in the global movement to fight the effects of climate change. Her focus on environmental advocacy stemmed from first-hand experience of the effects of global climate change in her community, who rely on natural resources for their own survival and for the survival of the animals they care for. Lake Chad is a vital source of water for people from Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria, and is now 10 per cent of its size from the 1960s. In a written testimony to the International Organisation for Migration, Ibrahim emphasised that her people, and indigenous communities like her own, are "direct victims of climate change.” Advocacy for Indigenous communities and commitment to integrating indigenous knowledge with Western science to create a healthier planet has led to numerous honours, including winning the Pritzker Emerging Environmental Genius Award, appointment as a UN Sustainable Development Goals Advocate; serving as a Member of the UN Permanent Forum for Indigenous Issues; Member of the Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee (IPACC); Member of the Advisory Committee to the Secretary-General’s 2019 Climate Action Summit.
In 2017, she was also featured as part of the BBC's 100 Women project, recognising 100 influential and inspiring women every year. In 2019 she was listed by Time Magazine as one of 15 women championing action on climate change.
William McDonough is a globally recognised leader in sustainable design and development through his work as an architect with William McDonough + Partners and an advisor to global leaders through McDonough Innovation. He leads MBDC, the creators of the framework of Cradle to Cradle Certified products. William McDonough has earned the reputation of being “the leading environmental architect of our time.” He designed the first “green office” in New York for the Environmental Defense Fund (1985) which set the modern green building movement in motion, inspired the formation of the U.S. Green Building Council and established many of the principles and practices that have come to define sustainable design. Landmark projects—Herman Miller’s “Greenhouse” Factory and Offices; Gap, Inc.’s Corporate Campus (now YouTube’s headquarters); and Nike’s European Headquarters—were followed by other commissions that have become flagships of 21st century environmental design: Ford’s River Rouge, widely celebrated for its 10-acre “living roof”; NASA’s Sustainability Base, the “first space station on Earth” and one of the most innovative buildings in the federal portfolio; and Park 20|20 in the Netherlands, a new model of mixed-use, transit-oriented, Cradle to Cradle-inspired urban development. He is a business strategist for leading global companies, and an advisor to government and international bodies as well as not-for-profits. He was the inaugural Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Meta-Council on the Circular Economy (2014-2016), and currently serves on the Forum’s Global Future Council on Biodiversity and the Bio-economy. He received the Fortune Award for Circular Economy Leadership during the 2017 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, where he was introduced as “the father of the circular economy.”
Sir Ken Robinson
Sir Ken Robinson, PhD, is an internationally recognised leader in the development of education, creativity and innovation.
The embodiment of the prestigious TED Conference and its commitment to spreading new ideas, Sir Ken Robinson is the #1 most watched speaker in TED’s history. His talks have been viewed online over 80 million times and seen by an estimated 400 million people in 160 countries.
Fast Company calls him “one of the world’s elite thinkers on creativity and innovation” and he was named as one of Time/Fortune/CNN’s Principal Voices. He advises governments, corporations, education systems, and some of the world's leading cultural organisations.
For 12 years, he was professor of arts education at the University of Warwick and is now professor emeritus. He has received honorary degrees from universities in the US and the UK. He has been honoured with the Athena Award of the Rhode Island School of Design for services to the arts and education; the Peabody Medal for contributions to the arts and culture in the United States; the LEGO Prize for international achievement in education; the Benjamin Franklin Medal of the Royal Society of Arts for outstanding contributions to cultural relations between the United Kingdom and the United States, and the Nelson Mandela Changemaker Award. He is a New York Times bestselling author. His books, including The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything (Penguin), have been translated into 24 languages and have sold over a million copies worldwide. In 2003, he received a knighthood from the Queen for his services to the arts. Sir Ken is a non-executive board director of Eden Project International Ltd.