"Thanks for taking an interest in more sustainable safaris
... I hope you'll join me on my greener journey!"
NOT JUST NET ZERO
My mission is for my safaris to evolve, over the next couple of years, to become even more supportive of conservation and community initiatives, as well as achieving Net Zero carbon emissions. I aim to minimise the negative impacts that my - our! - travels have on the natural world we love so much, and to maximise the positive impacts we can bring to wildlife, habitats and people wherever we travel.
It's a huge challenge for me, and a complex one too, which will take time to achieve, but it will be worth it to set new gold standards in sustainable climate, conservation & community involvement wherever I travel...and wherever you travel with me :)
These are long-term aims, and I'm approaching them, one small step at a time, in three distinct phases:
Phase One - sorting out the back office supply chain and work practices - this is pretty much done now
Phase Two - tackling the big issues of travel - this involves most of the research and changes to how I work - is underway now
Phase Three - large capital investments like switching to an electric/hybrid car - is currently being saved up for!
A Teeny Bit of Background:
I'm a former meteorologist with a specialism in palaeoclimatology - the history of climate change. So I'm fully committed to mitigating my contribution to global atmospheric temperature rise. In 2021 I was honoured to be appointed as Climate Change Ambassador for Northumberland Wildlife Trust, overseeing how the Trust can cut its carbon emissions in line with its Net Zero Strategy, and have undertaken that work in parallel with my own mission to make my safaris meet Net Zero ratings by 2025.
PHASE ONE - pretty much complete 😊
THE BACK OFFICE
During lockdown in 2021 I took the opportunity to re-evaluate my office suppliers and practices as follows:
*all electricity is now supplied by 100% renewables
*paperless office in operation
*minimised new hardware purchases: rented, borrowed, bartered/bought second hand or simply went without… I knew there was a silver lining to the fact I didn’t have any income during the pandemic - turns out it’s SO environmentally friendly!!!)
*changed all banking to ethical bank Starling to avoid indirect investment in fossil fuels, arms, tobacco, human rights abuses, money laundering etc
*zero flights in UK and will travel by train or car share wherever possible
*minimised face to face meetings - replaced by Zoom, Skype/FaceTime/Teams /phone conferencing
*block-task any face to face meetings locally: arrange all on one day to save journeys
*walk/cycle/public transport if possible locally… this is proving hard as firstly public transport doesn’t tend to run to the wildest places I need to get to, and secondly i struggle to carry all my gear without a car! …. see long term electric car solution...
OTHER OFFICE STEPS
Refuse junk mail, statements, board papers, single use plastics etc
food waste, water waste, plastics, electronics, clothing etc consumption and switch to organic/fair trade/
deep recycle policy
the home / office garden (deeply unpopular with many neighbours!) to support urban wildlife
- I do not eat meat. For 30 years my diet has been over 90% plant based, plus minimal dairy and occasional sustainably caught fish
- switched to eco-friendly household products and always shop Fair Trade, organic, and sustainable wherever possible
- no single use plastic water bottles - use water filter jug in office
- when travelling use reusable mug & bottle
- other drinks in 100% recyclable cans or glass
*CLOTHING / WORK UNIFORMS
I do need specialist clothing at times, but have had some very kind hand-me-downs from clients and everything is worn until it falls apart!
All of the above steps to reduce my office carbon footprint have been completed, though there is always more I can do, so I will keep striving to be more sustainable as the opportunities arise!
However, this was the relatively straightforward part of the process....
Phase Two is about tackling my carbon emissions beyond the office, out in the world and with my guests on safari.
This means scheduling my safaris in a more streamlined way, travelling smarter and more mindfully, and staying in more places that actively support conservation and communities everywhere we go.
PHASE TWO - in progress 🤔
PHOTOGRAPHY SHOOTS / WORKSHOPS / SAFARIS
- flying is by far the biggest issue, so I am doing whatever I can to minimise my own and my guests' flight miles by:
- taking the train to London if possible when flying long-haul from there
- using overland connections instead of internal flights where possible abroad e.g. trains in India, Alaska
- block-scheduling regional clusters of two or three back-to-back overseas safaris to save flying back and forth more than necessary, so cutting down on long haul international flights
e.g in 2021 my scheduled was back to back safaris in Uganda - Kenya Lewa - Kenya Maasai Mara Predators - Kenya 1-2-1 film-making
- flying with greener airlines: I am currently investigating which airlines are the most environmentally sound and will prioritise flying with them wherever possible, and provide information on this for my guests as well
- developing more UK and Europe based safaris to minimise flight miles - travelling by train/ car share when possible
- I shall also be calculating the carbon emissions generated by our safari vehicles on each trip using a reputable calculator algorithm, and will mitigate them through positive carbon capture offsetting programmes
- I will offset my own entire carbon footprint for each trip and will encourage guests to offset theirs by presenting them with a personal plan specific to each trip.
- I will use reputable and accountable/monitorable, positive carbon capture schemes which include measures such as provision of solar cookers and heaters to prevent wood collection, prevention of deforestation and degradation of existing habitats, purchase of land for rewilding and habitat creation, sustainable forest production etc - not just dodgy, random tree planting!
Examples - Kent Wildlife Trust Wilder Carbon Scheme, Tree Sisters
- My safaris will increasingly prioritise staying in community-owned reserves where possible, and also staying in community-owned accommodation
CONSERVATION, CLIMATE & COMMUNITIES
- I will of course continue to donate time, funds, photography, films and training to conservation, community and climate charities
PHASE THREE - in limbo 😴
Replace company vehicle with electric / hybrid - will have to wait until I have earned enough, but remains a priority in spite of the pandemic!
I'm sure there will be other aspects which will come to light during Phases One and Two which will require long-term solutions, and I will keep you up to date with my progress!
Please feel free to ask me questions about this or any other aspect of my work, and I'm always pleased with suggestions to help me improve!