ClickCease
Conservationist, teacher and speaker Libby Bowles digs deep into the urgency of protecting our oceans and why finding our unique superpower is the answer

Libby Bowles

November 26, 2021

Libby Bowles had a pretty great life back in the early 2010’s, working as a conservationist and animal behaviour expert in coastal Mozambique, spending her days working on ground-breaking research and living in her beach shack, surfing the evenings away. Eventually, a resurfacing feeling that she had to do something more led her to walking away from paradise and back to rainy Britain to educate, inspire, empower people to do more to combat ocean pollution.

Formerly a school teacher, Libby Bowles recognises a unique power in young children. Full of clout, an untainted feeling that they can change the world (spoiler alert: they can) and quite frankly, cuteness, kids are perfect at getting the message across to the adults in their lives and at creating a more hopeful future for themselves and the planet.

We chat about cycling adventures, building bamboo bikes and the joys of stand up paddle boarding. But predominantly, we dig deep with Libby about just why single use plastic is so harmful, what we can do about it on a basic level and why finding our unique superpower, be that implementing policy, creating art, speaking or funding, is the answer to a better future.

guest links

show notes

  • Adventure Safety PSA
  • How we met
  • Explore Weekend
  • Quickfire questions
  • First - CD/Tape/Vinyl?
  • Adam Buxton - Podcast
  • Louis Theroux
  • Libby Bowles Ocean Conservation story
  • Life cycle of single use plastic
  • Downcycling plastic
  • Empowering kids to change things
  • Understanding problem of plastic in food
  • Effects of plastic on our health
  • Tips on how to reduce consumption of plastic
  • Consuming less
  • My green pod
  • Building Bamboo bike
  • Making a difference
  • Stand up paddle boarding
Empowering kids
Cycling adventures
Bamboo bike


FULL transcription

calltoadventure

Hello hello and welcome to another episode of the call to adventure podcast with me george be I hope you're all good listeners and watchers. So today. Ah we're going to kick off with something a little bit different. Normally we talk about new trips that we've added or ah new things going on at call to adventure. But today is a bit different I wanted to kick off really quickly with a public safety announcement I don't know if we really have those things in England but they have them in America like Psa's so that's what I'm thinking of this intro as so last weekend I went down to devon because there was some pumping surf and ah. It looked amazing. The conditions were pretty incredible. Probably the the biggest and best surf conditions of the year eight to 10 maybe 8 twelve foot waves so we went down there and I've been into surfing for quite a long time. And I'm a very strong swimmer and I used to work as a lifeguard but I still got caught out and ah first I was fairly close to the shore and just kind of ah feeling things out getting out there trying to catch the reforms which is once the waves already broke. Ah it. Reforms again and it's always a little bit smaller and a bit less powerful. So I was surfing those at first having great time out there with my mates and then ah through a lapse of concentration just kind of unintentionally drifted right out to the back into the monster section. And it was just like there were bombs going off in the water. The waves were so big and so it was absolutely monstrous. Ah, and I just wasn't really paying attention to the fact that I drifted out I drifted away from everybody else as well and then a wave broke on my head and. Broke my leash and so my board went back on to the shore and I was left out there. So um, ah a surfboard is not anything that you can ride along and have great time when it's also your safety device when you're in the water. So. It's a big giant float. If you lose it and you're in big waves then you're often in big trouble and if I'm honest, it was a little bit touch and go for a while. So my board had gone ah washed up on the shore my mates had seen that my board had appeared on the shore but I wasn't with it so they were all panicking and I'd been washed further down shore. As well. So I was there and it was about half an hour of just fighting some big old waves and um, kind of in a big aggressive washing machine. Ah, but it just really made me think that we encourage people and call to adventures all about getting people out on adventures.

calltoadventure

And that's definitely still the mission that I want to what I want to stick to ah but doing adventurous stuff. There's a reason why we call it an adventure that's because the outcome isn't always known and there's often a bit of risk to it. So. Just wanted to remind everybody to still go out there on amazing adventures. Whether you're swimming climbing mountaineering. Whatever um, but just be careful out. There. Everybody don't want anybody getting themselves in sticky situations. Um, so keep adventuring but just be a little bit careful. So hopefully that inspires people to um, just be a little thoughtful when they're out there for the next few weeks when they hear this and then I'm sure it will fade away I'm trying traad climbing for the first time this weekend. So I'm going to have to think about that. Um, but we'll get into that another time so now on to today's pod so today we're chatting with Libby bowles libby is a teacher and Marine conservationist in 2017. She made a bamboo bicycle to cycle around the world raising awareness and trying to decrease plastic pollution in the oceans since 2017 she's spoken to over 15000 school children. And four thousand adults in 8 different countries. She's cleaned more than a few beaches and got a bit better at cycling up Hills and met some of her own conservation heroes along the way so without further ado libby how's it going.

Libby

I'm very well thank you and it is so nice to join you on here. Thank you very much for having me.

calltoadventure

It. It's awesome to have you on here. So we're chatting a little bit before the show about how we met and um, we met at the Ah Rgs oral Geographical Society I can't remember what the event was but um. You seem to remember it quite well we were we I think we were in an everest Vr ah room and we were sitting on the floor eating lunch is that? Ah ah I'm I think I'm right saying that.

Libby

It it? Yeah, it was the explore weekend and if you don't know the explore weekend at the ah rgs I thoroughly recommend looking it up. It's 1 of the most mindblowing inspiring weekends where. You have a series of lectures in the main lecture theater that kind of soup you up for the weekend. Get you all ready for it and then there are many different rooms that you can choose from and go to various kind of workshops and panels and things and listen to people who have. Done field work in various places around the world who um, have kind of sailed the oceans cycled the world and done all sorts of amazing things and you can go along and listen to them and ask some questions and we met at explore in 2000 16 and I remember distinctly sitting. On the floor in this room kind of eating our lunch because there was no space to sit down and we were excitedly swapping plans and stories about our adventures that were about to kick off and it was just a really? um, wonderful time to meet someone who was doing the same kind of thing and yeah. Getting souped up about an adventure when you hear about other people's adventures is 1 thing but getting souped up knowing that you're about to embark on 1 is is another level of excitement isn't it.

calltoadventure

Yeah I think we're both totally frothing at the idea of getting away on bike trips and and doing some big old adventures. So yeah, it's really really good to. We talked about I really wanted to get you on the podcast and 5 years later ah we've finally done it. So that's awesome. Let's let's kick off with some quick fire questions. So um, you ready for the first 1 what was the first cd you ever bought.

Libby

Okay I think so. Oh can I do first vinyl first vinyl I have hanging on my wall upstairs and it was past the duchy by musical youth and that's showing my age but I remember saving up my pocket money for it.

calltoadventure

Um, yeah.

Libby

And going to buy it in woolworths and it's 12 inch vinyl.

calltoadventure

But everything about that story So old school woolworths vinyl. Ah.

Libby

Wellworth I don't I mean my mom had a record player I think I've actually listened to it very back twice on that record player. But um, and then my first tape and I really am showing my age Michael jackson bad I don't think those are bad or bad ones I think um.

calltoadventure

Um, I mean that's the. Ah, yeah, quality selections there and try ah right I do I even know what mine was my 1 my first tape was a really weird 1 um I didn't even really like the song I just bought it because I wanted to like buy a tape and just see what it was like.

Libby

I'm proud of these.

calltoadventure

It was p p k resurrection. Do you remember that song it was is it's kind of a little bit. Ah no, it goes like that. It's it like I can't even really remember um, but my first cd.

Libby

No, can you sing it for me. And.

calltoadventure

I think was the offspring conspiracy of 1 that was like right around the right time and um, yeah I think there I mean we actually ah kind of you know when you like have your trip down memory lane for your guilty pleasures. We did have the offspring. On the way down to cornwall for ah for a trip a few weeks ago and it was amazing. Just like reminds you of the amazing days when life was just so simple. Um, but yeah I thought I think that was I'm pretty sure. That's my first 1 okay number 2 oh.

Libby

And oh I do know what my ed was my first cd was pump up the Jam. My tech note was it techno jelly that's um, a damn pump it up. Geez.

calltoadventure

Damn, but the dan dead and da but ah had pump the Jad and did that yeah I right I remember that 1 Ah okay number 2 Um, now that we've done our karaoke obviously other than this 1

Libby

Moving on.

calltoadventure

Um, do you have a favorite podcast.

Libby

And obviously yours is my favorite I do like Adam buxton you can't beat a bit of Adam buxton yeah have you heard if you listened to his podcast. Oh.

calltoadventure

Um, Adam buxton feel like the name rings a bell but I don't think I've listen to it. What's what's he up to.

Libby

So Adam buxton is ah mates with Louis thoo and there are several episodes where he's talking to louis th through and there's 1 episode where Louis busts into some acapella singing and it's the arts.

calltoadventure

Ah, yeah.

Libby

Just had a total mental block about what song it is oh I can yes I can boogie and it is possibly 1 of the funniest things I've ever listened to I I really recommend it. In fact, you can look it up. You can just look it up on youtube loie through a cappella. Oh yes, so I can Boogie. And and they're mates and they just there's and he Adam buxton used to do um, a television series with Joe cornish and the 3 of them have very similar kind of really funny banter and um and I I do really like his podcast. He talks to lots of really cool, interesting people. Not all of them who he's kind of um. Big fans of or whatever like he I listened to 1 the other day where he was talking to robbie williams he was like I used to really dislike you but and you know against my best judgment I urge you think you are right now. Um I really like him and he does the intro and outtro when he's on a walk with his dog so you get. All the sounds of him walking his dog in in Norfolk countryside and it's really fun and he does like this great voice for his dog who talks to him in a dog voice because she's a dog. Um, yes so I do I do like Adam buxton he makes me laugh. What are your favorite podcasts to listen to.

calltoadventure

I like I like the sound of that I'm going to listen to it I just remembered somebody was telling me last week about that and um and I couldn't quite remember his name. It did ring a bell. Ah but I do like Louis thru especially as he's he's able to like on his on his shows. He's able to get away with things that other people wouldn't because he's kind of so unassuming and unthreatening as a man like glasses very lanky like tall and skinny and so he he has this ability to like ask things and go places that others wouldn't so I do like his his stuff. He did some. Fascinating ones I some really good ones where he went to go and stay with Neo -nazis he's done ones on all sorts of stuff hasn't he I ah really like his shows.

Libby

So yeah, his programs are amazing, but he's yeah, he's really interesting. He's done quite a few episodes on the Adam buckson 1 I I recommend them for a listen. They're really good and there's also the joy of sup.

calltoadventure

Yeah I have to take listen.

Libby

Podcast which I do really love as well because Joe mosley who is the first lady to um stand up padddleboard coast to coast. Ah she she? Um, she's really cool and she just is so excited and full of the joys of everything of life. But you know she gets a lot of people on her podcast who just. Kind of you listen to them and it's really inspiring and they just you know just have this love of the outdoors and just being in nature and how good it is for your mental health and everything so her her podcast is also wonderful.

calltoadventure

Awesome I'll have to check that out have to have a chat with Joe at some point that sounds really good I'll I'll add it to the list okie doaks. Let's kick off and get into conservations that's kind of your big thing.

Libby

Yeah, yeah.

calltoadventure

Ocean and Marine conservation. So how how did that all start. How did you get into it.

Libby

So I got into it through a love of diving which I didn't expect because I you know grew up with my dad telling me that he you know he dived when he was young and he didn't enjoy it because he got claustrophobic and I thought I would be exactly the same because I was quite badly claustrophobic when when I was little. And then when I finally started diving which was kind of you know in my twenty s so it wasn't straight out the gates I just felt like I'd gone into this magical world and you know any of the movies that you see whatever they can dream up. Never match up to the wonder of all these cool little critters and things that you find underwater and I just wanted to be underwater all the time and then as kind of happens when you're out in Nature. You start seeing kind of man's effect on nature. Um I worked on Marine conservation expeditions for a couple of years I worked as an underwater videographer for um, a season which was really great, fun and I just loved it and wanted to be under the water more I then spent 3 years working in a marine and.

calltoadventure

Are you.

Libby

Um, research center in Southern mozambique and I worked for the world's leading experts in Manta rays and whale sharks and did all of this amazing research um into mantors and whale sharks and other endangered species that that were there and our work was great. We were getting papers published in. Amazing journals you know as serious science and the I u cn looked to our research for listing mantors and whale sharks on their red list and so we were working in you know and in quite an important place really in terms of marine conservation and. Our work was helping to get these animals legally protected but I started seeing you know, just so much plastic and rubbish in the ocean and so much effect of man just you know they're kind of byproducts of things that we do in our everyday lives and. Although the science really kind of lit up a passion inside me I decided that actually I need to go back to teaching and and really kind of um, let people know what was going on under the surface of the water because I think it's really easy if you don't. Live underwater and you don't have a good view of what is going on underneath the surface then you don't really know you just kind of see this big blue thing. You know the ocean looks amazing. It's so big. It covers so much of our planet. Must be clean and it must be healthy, but when you start to kind of see what is going on under underneath the surface. You just want to help other people to see what's there and to see what's happening in terms of you know, kind of anchoring lines damaging corals in terms of um. Ghost nets damaging all sorts of the reef but also all sorts of creatures that are in the sea fishing lines wrapped around um various animals and strangling various animals and animals just eating all of this plastic that's in the ocean you know we we did Necrosis on various animals. Cutting open dead turtles or seabirds in in different projects that I've worked on and just seeing these animals just literally full of cigarette butts and plastic and all sorts of stuff that they shouldn't be and it just really bothered me because I thought actually if this was on land. Everyone would be absolutely horrified and it's only because it's. Ah, kind of really alien thing to people. It's it's so far removed from our Everyday experiences. So I really wanted to work in in a realm where I was um, able to educate people about what was going on and and just helped to make a connection between not only the land and what's going on then.

Libby

Reaches into the ocean but our everyday actions and how they affect nature as a whole but also the ocean because the ocean provides over half the oxygen that we breathe. So even if you don't have a kind of love affair with what's going on under the water and you don't really care. We all have to care because it's producing half the oxygen we breathe so we need it to be in good shape. So um I took a really hard decision to leave my amazing life living in a little garden shed um in Southern mozambique I lived behind the secondary June so I could hear. The the beach I could hear the the sea lapping up on the shore from my bed I could hear when it was a good surf day and when it was a flat surf day from in my bed and I surfed every day and dived lots of days and did you know evening talks on these amazing creatures to tourists. Um, and it was really pretty idyllic but I decided that actually my passion for it and my want to change things and make it better meant that I had to leave the ocean and um, come and visit people where they are. Talk to them in the headspace where they're at and and try and educate people about what's going on so that we can try and make a positive difference.

calltoadventure

Well I'm luckily that we've got people like you I think we all have to be very grateful that there's people who are willing to step up and make the sacrifice and turn away from what can be an idyllic life to something that ah needs to be done. So um, so I think that's I think that's really really cool and very inspiring thing that you that you chose to do you talked a bit about single use plastics and um and that some people aren't so aware of I Guess the situation. So. Tell us a bit more about like the life cycle of single use plastics what happens along the way and how do they end up in the oceans and why does that matter.

Libby

Right? So so so single use plastic is it's a real hot topic. We've been talking about it. You know for a good few years now and I think people are familiar with the concept of single-use plastic you know something that we use once is a bit of a rubbish idea because we shouldn't have such a throwa away society. Um, in the in the fifty s it was basically plugged for the purpose of you know of selling this amazing new substance that we could just have this throwaway lifestyle. There was um, a um, an article in. Um, 1 of the biggest magazines in the world and it was entitled throw away living and there was a picture of a family throwing all of this plastic up into the air and great isn't that fantastic because you don't have to worry about it anymore. You don't have to clean it. You just throw it away but we now know that there is no away. So what happens with plastic is where you know if you if you explain it to a child or you know to someone who doesn't know what it is it just sounds completely insane. We um, take oil. We ship it around the world and we spill some on the way. Um, you know we kill various animals and all sorts. When we spill it we um, ship it over the other side of the world. It gets changed into this material. That's so durable. So um, long-lasting that it will take hundreds and hundreds of if not thousands of years to break down. And then we ship it around the world to more some more get spilled into the sea causing more issues and we ship it to somewhere and it arrives in a shop and eventually you have it in your hand this thing that has had so much resources going into creating it and you use it once and then you throw it away. And that just you know resource-wise that doesn't make any sense but it it gets worse because that's just the beginning of the story for single use plastic and unfortunately unlike glass and aluminium that can be recycled pretty much infinitely plastic can only be recycled a few times and we were kind of. Pushed ah you know on the back of this story in the fifty s of this throwaway living just use single use plastics is you know it's going to solve all your problems of clearing up etc then that was followed. You know some decades later by oh you need to recycle it and then everything's going to be okay because it's all recycled. And that's kind of still the message that a lot of people are stuck on so when I arrived in new zealand doing school talks a lot of schools just didn't really understand why I would want to come and talk to them or they would say things like oh you can come and talk to us. But we already do recycling.

Libby

As if recycling was this kind of magical answer and I think for a lot of people that is still the message that they have understood from. You know all the kind of back education that they've received telling us all to recycle. But. Recycling with plastic should actually probably be better described as downcycling because what happens is when you recycle a plastic like an ice clean virgin plastic like a see through water bottle or something it doesn't come back as that. Clear lovely plastic. It gets downgraded it probably comes back as a translucent or an opaque plastic then it might get recycled. You know a couple of times more and then it comes back usually as polystyrene which is air rated plastic and then that can't be recycled so then that's rubbish. So. You know when we start to think about circular economies. What can we do? How can we keep this loop going rather than a linear kind of we make something we use it. We throw it away. How can we make that um into a circular situation and with. Recycling plastic that doesn't really happen. It kind of happens a couple of times and then it falls out of um, out of the system into landfill and as as we know we we don't really want to carry on building more landfills having more stuff stuck underground. Um, it causes all sorts of problems for the ground that it's in and that's just not really a sustainable way of of going about dealing with our waste. So um, really recycling is not the answer. Um the. The 3 r's reduce reuse recycle. There's a reason that recycles at the bottom of that list and actually what we should be doing is first off putting a fourth r at the beginning of that and with single use plastics. We should be thinking about refusing and the reason that I go around mainly talking to um. Schoolchilren about this is as having a background of primary school educating myself. Um I spent 6 years teaching in London I um, really kind of know that kids if you tell them something and they get really fired up they will will do something about it and they've got this wonderful. Kind of pupil power where they'll go home and they'll get all fired up and they'll tell their families and and they'll you know have a go at Mom. Um, lots of people came up to me particularly when I was traveling around new zealand and this lady said you're that lady on the bamboo bike my son's making my life a misery and I can't.

Libby

Go and buy whatever in the supermarkets anymore and I was like oh okay, have you, you know if you got a couple of Minutes for a chat? Yes, you've made my life really difficult and I was like oh right I'm really sorry. So can you tell me a bit more about it and she was like oh yeah, my son is giving me such a hard time now and. We don't eat processed food anymore because it all comes wrapped in plastic and I was like okay so you know what are you doing is an alternative. Well now we go and buy you know stuff in the Farmer's market and I was like okay so you're eating healthier food. Yeah, and it's you know, actually we spend more time together making that food and I was like okay so you're eating better food. And you're spending time together making that food and she was like yeah and as as she was kind of saying it. You could kind of see the cogs turning and she was like actually this is pretty cool and I said oh you must be so proud of your son for wanting to really make a difference you know for you and for the rest of your family and she was like yeah actually. Ah, yeah I kind of am and it was It was great and I've had so many conversations like that with people and it's you know it's um, it's always the the conversations that start off with someone wanting to tell you that they can't do something that I think lead to the most interesting chats. And also lead to chats where you can kind of help people to slightly reframe their thinking um does that answer the question I can't of remember what the question was um, but yeah I thought I really think yeah.

calltoadventure

Now it it it it definite got got good. Go ahead, Go ahead.

Libby

Um, no I just think um, you know that kids have kids have such a power and there's a um, a little boy who was at 1 of my um workshops in sydney and later that day he. Went into a cafe and he was five and really cute as well and I think you know a lot of people look at kids in a very different way than they do to adults. So um, if this story had happened with an adult I don't believe the outcome probably would have been the same so he marched into this cafe. And there was a bit of a cue and by the time he got to the front. Um, he felt really you know empowered from from our workshop about making a difference so he got up to the front and he said ah I'd like an orange juice. But I don't want a straw in mind because I really like turtles and I don't want my straw to end up in the sea byw mistake and get eaten by turtle and and he said it really loudly and his mum was like kind of a little bit embarrassed because everyone could hear in the cafe and he was being quite loud and then he kind of said oh um. And can I speak to the manager please and this you know the person waiting went off and got the manager and the manager said oh you know hi how's it going. He's like yeah I was wondering if you can just use paper straws instead of plastic straws because then. Nobody who comes in here is going to use a plastic straw and imagine how good that would be like that kind of thing and because he was five and super cute I feel like he had a lot more clouts than you know, an adult saying the same thing and the people in the cue behind him all asked for their drinks with no straws. And I just think in ten seconds without trying to tell anyone else what to do by just being. You know the bestest version of himself and by just trying to do the right thing he had a really you know, really great impact and there was another um, a town in new zealand um I spoken in in Nelson and Nelson is a very very forward thinking very environmentally friendly switched on um eco kind of place but there was this group of young ladies from this school and they called themselves the Green queens and they um. We're already a thing and you know, kind of working in that sphere and learning a lot more about it and I gave um ah a presentation to them and after that they said oh you know we're really fired up and we've got a lot of stats and understanding and um, solid science from.

Libby

Your presentation and they went to the local council and have persuaded the local council that you know this town should be single use plastic free within the next couple of years. So I I think there's a real power to you know, firing. Young people up and pointing them in the right direction with a solid understanding with good education about why these things are bad. You know these why we need to move away from single use plastics and um and I but by the same. Token I don't think as adults we can rest on our laurels and allow you know, young people to try and and sweep up our problems. You know I think with um, amazing people like greta tuneburg and whatever we get very used to these young people coming through and and making a difference but we all need to be doing. What we can so in in my presentation I talk about finding your superpower. So once you realize that you care about a cause enough to make a difference then you kind of have to have a really good honest moment of introspection and think what is it that I can offer so. You might have a degree in law and you might be able to help with systemic change trying to drive kind of top-down change. You might be an amazing artist and you can help people through your art to understand what's going on for me as an educator. My kind of superpower as it were is is helping people to understand the problem helping people to um, see the problem the issue and understand the issue and then hopefully get fired up and and want to go make a difference in their own way. Um I think. What I didn't answer from your question was you kind of why this stuff is bad. So obviously if it's ending up in in landfill after being um, recycled a couple of times that's not a great scenario but the problem is when single-use plastics get in the sea and I think. There was a newspaper article that I was reading and it was the times or maybe the telegraph and 1 of the people who'd commented on this article and it had a picture of a fish that had been caught and it had a belly full of plastic and 1 of the comments that someone had put. Was something along the lines of well what does it matter? Is you just empty the plastic out of the fish. You're not going to eat that plastic and I thought gosh if someone who reads that paper is not understanding the problem of the plastic apart from the actual physical presence of the plastic.

Libby

Then there's going to be a lot of people out there who don't really understand so just to clarify. Um, the problem with plastic being in the ocean and getting into the the stomachs of sea creatures. Especially if we're eating those sea creatures and they're getting into our food. Um. Food webs is that um when plastics are in the ocean because they're an oil-based material. They will often bond very readily and attract chemicals which are in the sea so things like Pcbs ddt lots of nasty chemicals and um things that are spilt in the sea. These plastics kind of become like a sponge and they soak all of these chemicals and um, nasty things up and so they kind of become a little trap for all of these chemicals. In fact, they can hold up to a million times. The amount of toxins and chemicals. As the sea water that they're sitting in so they become like this little ticking time. Bomb full of nasty stuff and when they get into the body of an animal the fat in the body of the animal is um more likely to bond with those chemicals than the plastics. So what happens is. That gets into the body of an animal and then it unleashes this toxic payload of all sorts of nasty chemicals that you don't want getting into the body of a fish and then getting into the body of us when we're eating it so we might be familiar with various species of fish. Have a warning on saying you shouldn't eat this more and than a couple of times a week because of high mercury levels other heavy metals. Um trace elements or chemicals. In fact, so when you're getting a warning. On a food telling you that you shouldn't be eating it more than a couple of times a week because it might have too much of something horrible in it then I think we need to start learning about that and understanding that really as part of our kind of wiser knowledge. That we should be gaining about what's going on in the environment.

calltoadventure

Yeah I think that was that was a great explanation. Really really good and links it all together nicely I think so in in view of that.

Libby

But not really what you want if you eat fish. Is it.

calltoadventure

No, it's not and I and I do eat a little bit of fish kind. Ah so um, yeah, it certainly makes me think a lot about it. Ah, and there's there's also I mean the problem of ah microfibers and plastics getting in as well. So that guy who was like oh we'll just take them the plastics out. Doesn't really work like that a lot of them are tiny as well and there's all sorts of health implications that you'll know far more than I do but things like being ah carcinogenic or links to ah being carcinogenic and also there's a lot to do with. Lowering sperm counts and changing sex hormone ratios and all that kind of stuff. So um, yeah, lots of good reasons to make sure that we do a better job of getting ah less plastic into the ocean and even just using less so on that um there are lots of What what we want to do is walk away from this feeling empowered and feel like right I know plastic is bad so what are the couple of things that were or I should say single use plastic if not is is bad because. Sometimes plus there's there's obviously nuance to every argument and sometimes it makes sense with medical supplies or whatever but generally in everyday life. What are the things that we can do ah that move the needle that make the difference. Um, yeah, what? what are your thoughts on that. What should we be doing.

Libby

And I feel for a long time that we've been talking about things like convenience food and drinks because that's that's a kind of large proportion of of single use plastic is really related to um, convenience food and drink. So. You know, carrying your own reusable water bottle having a lunch box that you use instead of always buying stuff in packaging. You know you can even go into supermarket like you know the counter where you are. You're buying meat or whatever and in most places now they're really open to taking in your own container in Takeaways, you know if you have a takeaway you can often take away into the into the um takeaway place you can take your own container and ask them to put a takeaway into your container rather than. Giving you more plastic takeaway containers. So I think those ones are those kinds of solutions are just about getting into a habit you know getting into the habit of ordering a drink and saying no straw thanks and just putting that on the end of of your drinks order I think those are the kind of easy ones which. You know and and also taking a bag with you when you go shopping I feel like those are fairly simple things that most people have got their head around now. Um, so there's you know, then the next level of that kind of thing I always describe rather than saying go and do these 3 things um, having you know. Just said carry around your own reusable bottle a container carry around your own cutlery. So you know you can have a bag that you have that stuff in that you carry around with you and that makes life easier and you know when when we're cycle touring you've got all that stuff with you anyway, haven't you so you get into a kind of a good habit. Of carrying around those items that make it much easier for you to use less single use plastic but I would say rather you know beyond that rather than me giving you another list of things is firstly pretend that the single use plastic isn't an option and secondly. Um, then just start to have a look around other areas of your life and think about how you could cut that single use plastic out so a lot of kids again I go back to kind of talking to children and I think they're just brilliant at just saying well. I'm not going to have a plastic bag if I just pretend the plastic bag isn't there I'm not going to take the plastic bag. So for example in the supermarket I had a kid come running up to me after I'd been speaking at his school. Um, also in new zealand I think that was and he's like ah Miss miss miss.

Libby

I did this great thing I thought of you Yesterday I was in the shop and I didn't have you know didn't take a bag with me had just gone in after school. So I took off my jumper and I tight the sleeves and then not and I used my jumper as a bag and then I just put on my shopping and my jumper and ticket home and that kind of thing I think really illustrates. Ah, fun way of dealing with it but also a way of just thinking if that wasn't an option if the bag wasn't there I would still be able to get my stuff home or if you know if I didn't if I can't if I just say to myself that I can't. Buy that single use plastic water bottle I will come up with another solution. Um I went into a Superf market 1 morning and I'd done a talk the night before and I have a t-shirt that I think you know if. Kids stop listening or they focusing on the pictures of whatever hopefully they'll take 1 message way and it says say no to single use plastic. So I have this t-shirt that literally says say no to single use plastic and I got up in the morning chucked my t-shirt on kind of ran down to the shop to go and get some stuff and I was about to pick up something with single use plastic. Wrapping and then I looked down at the t-shirt I was wearing and I looked up and I was like ah I can't go to the till wearing this single use plastic say no to single use plastic t-shirt carrying this item of single use plastic. So I was like ah okay, but I kind of in a hurry and I've got to get some stuff. And um, and I just ran out of that shop and went down the road and there was a green grocer and just bought something completely different without packaging. So I think if you just change your mindset into thinking I'm a I'm a solution thinking we do solution thinking all the time you know we are problem solving. We're creating really innovative. Solutions to a myriad of things in our work lives so we can do it in our you know in our personal lives as well. So I think first of all changing a mindset and thinking if this didn't exist I would have to find another way of doing it. Um that that can happen and you know in. New zealand I I used a jam jars an awful lot like I used jam jars for getting hot drinks and cafes for putting food in for you know for doing whatever so I think it's also about not buying more stuff. Um. You know it's very easy to go out. Oh I need to get this steel bottle I need to get this deal. Um, you know lunch box I need to get this deal. Whatever but just use stuff that you've really got you can you know you can make beeswax wraps with 1 ah hundred percent cost and t-shirt. So if you've got an old t-shirt.

Libby

You don't mind um, getting rid of obviously wash it First. You can get bees wax pellets. You can put other sorts of waxes and there's there's good recipes for making up the the wax stuff and then you can iron it on and you can make your own bees wax wrap. So you don't have to go out and spend you know lots of money on a designer 1 you can use jam jars so use. Whatever is at your disposal rather than kind of thinking about buying about buying more stuff and then um, the second strand to that as I was saying is you know if once you start thinking of the easy single use things that are big on the hit list. Then just start looking at different areas of your life so look around your kitchen. Okay, when this thing comes to an end you know, no 1 ne's saying you should chuck stuff out so you've got you know your bottle of cleaning stuff. Don't chuck it out use it. But then when you're finished with 1 product try and upgrade it the next time to a better product. So if you've got a cleaning spray thing. Why not make your own spray thing with with vinegar and lemon juice or you know, whatever recipe that you can find online that you want to use why not look around your basroom and think okay finish my toothpaste tube and there are places that um you know now claim to recycle clue. Toothpaste tubes but they're very very complex and difficult like tetrapacks and they're very complex and difficult to actually recycle so it's it's much better not to use them in the first place so you know why not try toothpaste tablets you can get toothpaste in glass Jars. There's all sorts of different options. So don't try and change everything at once. Because that's really overwhelming, but just as something runs out just think what could I replace that with that's probably a better option I think that's a kind of good a good mindset to get into.

calltoadventure

Yeah, yeah, the highest level the first and most important thing is consuming less like you say and then that makes everything else a lot easier and the the other stuff is really important too. But um, it's so easy to instead of thinking about well. Should I get this this option or this option is this 1 more sustainable like oh I'm buying clothes. Well cotton organic cotton's better, but it uses more water and what about the dying process in Bamboo. But then you can ask yourself? Well do I really need this at all and that's ultimately the kind of best. Best option and we've talked a lot about buying secondhand and all the good stuff that that goes along with that. But I do want to give a shout out to the new deodorant that I've been using because it's awesome. So I bought it from Jarvis. It Jarvis is ah we had jarvis on the podcast Jarvis smith a little while ago bought it from my green pod.

Libby

Oh tell me.

calltoadventure

And it's called. We love the planet and the mint flavor I guess is it is it flavor. The mint variety is amazing comes in paper kind of wrapping lasts forever and it's very natural but normally I've tried quite few of them normally natural deodorants. You just kind of then smell Sweaty. With a bit of a different smell as well whereas this 1 it's your your golden like it like it actually works it works like a proper deodre. It doesn't stop. You. It's not like antiperspirant doesn't stop you sweating which I'm sure must be terrible for you but no heavy metals. No plastic wrapping and it's awesome. So we love the planet.

Libby

Get.

calltoadventure

It's they're a little bit pricey but it lasts for ages. So um, yeah, big shout out to we love the planet love that love that deodrant. Okay, awesome. Let's yeah, yeah, take a look the mint 1 is definitely my favorite have a look let me know what you think.

Libby

Yay! That sounds awesome I'm gonna look it up.

calltoadventure

So I mean I could I think I could do it a bit more in here in this studio. It's about 500 degrees and I am just roasting I've got a fairly little light on me, but ah it it's it is. It's so so hot I'm not sure the guy will agree. When I finished in the recording studio that um, my deodrant's been that effective but we'll we'll see ah okay, let's bring it home with a little bit of adventure stuff so you talked earlier about um some cycle touring that you did so tell us about building your bamboo bike.

Libby

I.

Libby

I had met I think it was at that first explore weekend I went to in 2000 16 I Met Dr. Kate rules who has also made herself bamboo bike and I talked to her about it and I've been looking at either there's a few places that do wooden bikes. In kind of various ply and bits of bobs and and bamboo and I'd seen that she was speaking at the ah rgs and really was just so keen to see her and see her bike and kind of see and feel it in real life and um, she told me about the bamboo bicycle club which is where i. Made my bike in 2017? Um, so you know it's it's I really took them at their word when they said yeah rock up, you don't need to know how to make a bike. We're going to help you do it. So it's like great I don't know how to make a bike I know just about how to you know change a puncture. Change the chain. Um that kind of basic level thing and then I rocked up and everyone else pretty much in my workshop was a professional bike Maker. So I felt quite intimidated but it was such an amazing experience. You walk in. Ah, jigs already set up for you with your measurements and you just start literally within five minutes you're there picking up sticks of bamboo and deciding you know which size you want what kind of color you want how close the nodes are which is like the Joins all along the stems and it was just. Ah, really really enjoyable experience I love making stuff so for me just having you know just being able to create create ah a bicycle yourself let alone 1 that you're going to be riding around with um, a real pleasure and for anyone who loves riding a bike I thoroughly recommend. Making your own because it gives you another level of joy when you're riding it around and I think for the mission that I was after and going on um, having ah a bike firstly that you've made yourself and secondly that's compostable. Um is a really powerful message and it. It obviously looks quite different and is a great icebreaker when you're kind of traveling around and also going into schools and you know to to rock up on a bike that's made of grass and that is compostable and you've made yourself is already a really good message. To bring to pupils I think and when I started out on that that kind of conservation education journey I came home got ah a job in a school in london and um had kind of real life superhero chats with my pupils where I just kind of said to them. You know.

Libby

Don't listen to anyone telling you that you can't change the world to your grownup just go and get on with it now and you know do something about what you really believe in and it was 1 of those pupils a 10 year old who challenged me and said you know if you really love the Sea miss. Why aren't you doing something more to save it. And it was that kind of genuine sitting right on the cusp between being as cheeky as possible and and really not understanding and just thinking you know why aren't you doing something more go and do something really big. So we came up together with this. You know, great plan and part of that plan was you know having. Ah, really cool um mode of transport that you can get around the world on that's um, you know that's accessible and you know you know if you rock up somewhere in a Ferrari you're completely sealed off physically but also. It's so inaccessible. But if you rock up on a bicycle. Everyone you know most people in the world can relate to a bicycle or even have 1 or can ride 1 and so to arrive somewhere in the open air feeling all the elements for good. For bad, you know the the burning sun or the or the. Driving rain or whatever. It's you're just so much part of of the environment that you're in and it's just you know it's such a fun way of of having an adventure and bringing attention to a cause that you really care about. And then more recently I've I've done lots of paddle boarding. So I bought a paddle board about 6 years ago from an awesome company fatstick paddle boards and they're really great because they've tried to eliminate single use plastic and they've got it out of their supply chain like right back to. You know all the way through their supply chain and whilst they're you know the the first people to put up their hands and say you know we're creating things that are made with plastics and they're not going to last forever and ever actually they make very good quality boards and I think especially since lockdown and covid. Lot of people have got into sports and bought cheap cheap gear and you know when you buy a cheap bike or a cheap paddle board. There's a cost to that. Yes, you're getting you know people say why would you spend 600 pounds or you know you can buy paddle boards for 1000 pounds. Why would you do that when I can just get 1 that's just as you know, just as good in inverted commas for 2 or 3 hundred quit but those are going to be the ones that that break easily and don't last very long and will end up in landfill within a couple of years so I've got a really good board the you know great make of board.

Libby

And um, as sustainable as paddle boards can be and um, recently I've been doing a few journeys on that as well and that you know again is a great way of finding out more about nature. You're kind of paddling down these rivers where you're seeing. Sewage outlets pouring into rivers and it's a great way of getting a lot of understanding and education about what's going on in our Waterway. So I've done the whole sea thing being you know, really enveloped in that world underwater seeing what's happening with all sea creatures and I'm really enjoying. Getting to know a lot more about what's happening in our in our rivers and waterways around the yeah uk um, so yeah, Adventure is a great way of you know passing the time but it's ah also a really magnificent way of getting to learn more about our planet. So I think it's. You know it's it's really wonderful if. You can also link that with an environmental interest.

calltoadventure

Yeah I think that's a ah ah great way of looking at it and it's really good to hear you say that you still bought your paddle board even though you know that it kind of has you know it's made of plastic and yet. But you're still so devoted to the cause of cleaning up the oceans and I think. Um, we just need to be honest about the fact that every now you you had that really good jane goodall quote on your side. Every individual makes a difference you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make and um. And I think that's that's so true like and every life is always going to have some impact on the planet. It's just that we have to be thoughtful. Ah and it's not about not enjoying yourself never doing anything that you want to do and being this kind of abstinent monk of modernity. Ah we we live in the world that we live in. Ah, but we can do a lot of good by just changing some things that are not particularly difficult. Ah so we we should feel upbeat and positive about doing these things as opposed to feeling like queer missing out and not able to do the things that we want to do so. So yeah I think that's that's a really encouraging message and I haven't done loads of stunup paddleboarding but definitely like to get into it so we'll we'll have to go out for a Standnup paddleboard sometime.

Libby

I would love that they would be so fun I started doing it because I had neck problems and I couldn't you know I got told that if I was going to carry on surfing that was going to do my neck a lot of damage so I started paddleboarding criking in about 2014 Thirteen and it's just it's Great. It's such a nice peaceful way of being out. Um you know, being out in nature but they're hard to surf on like I found them much harder than a surfboard to start with.

calltoadventure

Yeah, there was a guy going back to the opening. There was a guy out and these waves that we were in who was on a standup paddle board and it was like probably 10 or eleven feet then and he was just a. Nutter. It was amazing to watch though who's just paddling into everything and just go and it was just going so high on the back of this wave and I was like this guy is insane but he was a super skilled waterman and obviously like from there. He must have spent a lot of time in the water. But I was doing my best to like get out of the way of these giant waves and he was doing his best to get on every single 1 and I thought wow doing that on ah on a standup paddle board with the with like um, what the the sheer size of it and immovability. But um, he was he was. He was pretty good on it. So yeah, well maybe. Maybe we'll start with some like rivers canals and and then we'll work up to the waves I've tried it a couple of times in the sea but not in anything big. Yeah, that sounds great. Well live.

Libby

That would be really cool that would be amazing I would love that and it's so nice hear you sorry if I can just say it's so nice to hear you talking about safety and just being really switched on because I think it's very easy to see. Adventure type things on Instagram you see it on social Media. You're flooded with it and you see all these beautiful images and I think it's really important to remember that actually behind all of those pictures for responsible adventurers. There's a lot of planning and a lot of awareness about safety gear safety. Checks that you want to do before you go out. So I it's yeah It's George it's so lovely to chat to you again, but also really amazing to hear you talking in a you know, really responsible sensible way about how we can all look after ourselves and each other.

calltoadventure

Yeah, olivy. It's been awesome to chat? It's definitely been too long and I'm glad that we finally managed to catch up So I know that you have a lot more insightful stuff to say and messages to spread so where is good for people to find out a little bit more about. Levy bowls and treadlighter.

Libby

Um I have a website treadlighter dot org I am fairly lazy on much of the social media but I am pretty ah probably most active on Instagram so Treadlighter lib. And I've got some exciting stuff coming up. Actually I've got a few exciting announcements which should be done by the time this comes out so I've got an ambassador ship that I'm going to be announcing and soon which is very exciting and some. Plans for 202045 as well. I've got some really big plans. So exciting stuff and I will try to kind of pepper little bits of information that can help people in. You know, kind of. Education and also about stuff that we can all do.

calltoadventure

Very cool. That's awesome and there's also a ted talk that you guys can go and check out. So Highly recommend that you go and take a look at that right? then Libby. It's been. Great. Its been so so good to chat. So Thanks for coming on again and listeners and watches. Thanks for listening and tuning in so until next time Bye bye.

Libby

Thank you.

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