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تكريماً لليوم العالمي لمكافحة التلوث البلاستيكي في 7 يونيو، يتحاور اختصاصي البيئة الغني عن التعريف ديفيد دي روتشيلد David de Rothschild، الذي شارك أيضاً في حملة Off The Grid، مع المدافعة عن حقوق ذوي الإرادة الصلبة سيناد بورك Sinéad Burke في حلقة بودكاست خاصة من غوتشي تم تسجيلها عن بُعد من بقعتَين متقابلتَين في العالم وهي متوفرة هنا. يتوفر نص الحوار أدناه.

Gucci Podcast
Sinéad Burke:
Today's guest once said, "In times of chaos, there is nothing more grounding than taking off your shoes, so you can feel the earth under your feet." In the midst of a pandemic, these words translate to a mantra, and should your quest for solid ground be a physical or a symbolic act, finding quiet in chaos, is one of the themes for today's conversation. My name is Sinead Burke. I am a teacher, a writer, and a disability advocate. I'm interested in how we can redesign systems and cultures to ensure that everyone feels included and has agency to participate.
Sinéad Burke:
I'm so honored to be facilitating this conversation on the Gucci podcast. I'm joined today by the extraordinary David de Rothschild, known also as the lost explorer. David is an environmentalist and an explorer, continuously curious about how we can care for and contribute to the world around us. David is one of the protagonist leading Gucci's off the grid campaign, a collection that uses recycled, organic, bio-based and sustainably sourced materials. Plus, I'm speaking to David just before June 7th, the International Beat Plastic Pollution day. David, thank you so much for joining me.
David de Rothschild:
Well, thank you for having me on the show. This is an amazing honor and it's quite fortuitous, because I'm looking at my clock, where I am, and it's actually 11:11, which is quite an auspicious number for me. So this means that this is a very good connection that we're having here. Someone said to me once, whenever you see 11:11, it's a sign that there's something out there that's bigger than us. In essence the ethical realm. And I was like, really? And then from that moment onwards, I kept on seeing 11:11. So for all those listening, I hope that now you will see 11:11 as well and have a moment to reflect on the fact that there is this ethical layer to our universe, that is the unexplained, where the infinite possibility of mystery lies. There you go.
Sinéad Burke:
Gorgeous way to begin an episode of this podcast. But David, I have attempted to introduce you and probably haven't done a very good job, how do you describe yourself personally and professionally?
David de Rothschild:
It's a very hard one. I remember, actually, I guess I'm a Jack of all trades and a master of none, as once someone said to me and I said, is that a bad thing? I'm trying to figure out if you've just insulted me. Well, that's actually quite a good thing. I like said, I'm just passionately curious. And I think in the world that I've carved out for myself, which is really trying to spend as much time in the natural world as possible, people tend to try and throw you into either one of two buckets, one, either you're an adventurer or you're an explorer. And I've noticed that when you say, you're an explorer, there's a lot of, funny looking face comes back at you or some cold lip from someone who says, "Well, is there anything to explore? Haven't we done that before? What are you exploring?"
David de Rothschild:
And I would say that, actually yes, as explorers today, the difference between us and adventurers, and we can either are adventurous explorers, but to me, an explorer is pushing the limits of your curiosity. And the world today that we live in, we have tools that allow us to view and understand the planet like never before, understand nature like never before. And that's probably one of the most important things we can be doing today, it's trying to get our heads around how this system has evolved over the four and a half billion years to support life on this planet, because without that knowledge, our ability to continue to live on this planet is limited. So as explorers we are passionate and curious about discovering and unlearning and relearning.
David de Rothschild:
And I would say that adventurers, which is the other bucket that people often put me in, which I would say I probably don't really live in, because I can't do one arm pushup and I'm not really a big fan of Gore-Tex. To me, adventure are, pushing human potential to the limits, there are extreme athletes who are, I'm in aura, who are, jumping up mountains or going to the deepest, the highest, the fastest, the quickest route around the planet. And for me, I want to spend my time slowly, sauntering through nature as much as I can, really just to soak it in and understand it.
David de Rothschild:
So, to say I'm an explorer, it sounds a little bit stuck up in some way. But it really just means, you're just curious, and that's really been my mantra ever since I was told don't touch that, it's always been my stubbornness to touch it and taste it and try it and figure out what it does and how I can interact with it.
Sinéad Burke:
Moving from this childhood behaviors of not touching those things that you were told to, to now being an explorer, how over your life have you cultivated and invested in curiosity as a skill?
David de Rothschild:
It's a really good question actually, because I think the way that you phrase that, curiosity is a skill. It is a skill, it's actually a human emotion. It's fundamental to all of us, it's fundamental to humanity, it's fundamental to how humanity's evolved. Whether you think about the early hunter gatherers, who were curious to know what was on the other side of the horizon, what was over there? I always imagine, the very early Homo erectus coming out of East Africa and imagining these early Neanderthal plucking a berry from a tree and looking at their partner or their friend or whoever next to them and go, what do you reckon? Should we eat it? What do you think? You go fast, or I go first.
David de Rothschild:
Imagine the first person who ate an oyster? What an extraordinary. You have to be so curious, right. Or the first person to pick up a pineapple, or an egg, or whatever, none of those things would exist today, none of those pathways would have happened if it wasn't for being curious. I'm sure we probably lost a lot of people along the way, I know, don't, too late, he ate it or she ate it. But I think that it's a skill that is almost harder to keep hold of today, because we ultimately have devices to answer a lot of the questions for us. It can stimulate a lot of the curiosity that we all have inside of us.
David de Rothschild:
And that's great, but it doesn't give us the skills to retain our own curiosity. Sometimes we just flick on a device and ask it something, or we just go in a direction and we just accept that as the way it is. We don't necessarily challenge, well, is that the right way? And I think that leads into curiosity, to me it leads into a methodology of learning. And I think about it as two parts. The first part is, learning is just as important as unlearning, right? So we're always taught to learn. We go through this process from a very early age, where someone says, here is an injection of information, and that will serve you for the rest of your life, off you go.
David de Rothschild:
And as we become adults, we tend not to ask as many questions, maybe because our ego gets in the way, and we start to question whether or not it's actually okay to answer that question, because for fear of looking stupid or not knowing, so sometimes we internalize it and we just go, well, that's the way it is. I don't really want to ask, I don't want to stand out right. We get embarrassed, because we don't know. And as an adult, you should know everything, which is completely insane. So we start to lose that curiosity. You just have to walk into a group of children and ask them a question or say something, and everyone's got their hands up. You do the same to a group of students at the university, most people won't put their hands up, and actually realize that the education system often teaches us not to think outside of the box, it homogenizes how we think, sadly.
Sinéad Burke:
Such a huge, too.
David de Rothschild:
Yeah-
Sinéad Burke:
To underline that point. I'm a disabled person. I am a little person. I stand at the height is "three feet, five inches tall." And often I forget that I'm a little person, until I'm in a public space and somebody reminds me. And often that person is a child, and the child's natural curiosity allows them or permits them or encourages them to point me out. And if it happens in a store, in a grocery store or a supermarket, I'll be just shopping in the aisle and a child will point to me and loudly say something like, there's a little woman and the adults immediate reaction, the adult who was with them, their immediate reaction is to shush them, to move them out of the space, to ignore what it is that they have said. And it is out of fear and embarrassment and shame.
Sinéad Burke:
They can't believe that they raised their child with empathy and yet this is how their parenting has reflected on them, instead of actually realizing that curiosity is something to be encouraged. And what would ameliorate that entire scenario is just saying to that child. Yes. That is a little woman, a little person. Why don't you say hello? And we make situations so much about ourselves, even when we're not the protagonist, that actually we stifle any possibility of learning or encouraging difficult conversations with people who are different to us, just because we have lost that scale of curiosity or out of fear, we diminish it.
David de Rothschild:
I couldn't agree more. It's a classic case of not breaking the cycle and that child then repeats the same thing to its child and so on and so on. And that's where we see the division in society. The prejudice is the fear. We see the fragmentation, rather than looking and saying, the beauty inside of nature is its diversity. And yet we try so hard to homogenize society into this one size fits all. And actually it doesn't serve us, because we all have something to add. Our beauty is in our differences. Our beauty is how we can all support each other through these different lenses, through these different stories, through these different perspectives, how boring, if you are only accustomed to one lens and one narrative, it doesn't give you the tapestry of colors and the richness that comes from that diversity.
David de Rothschild:
And it's so true. We are, again, as we grow older, we retreat, we become very stuck in our ways. And I think for me, one of the challenges is always, and I'm sure that people can empathize with this. We all get into our routines of what's comfortable. We all sit within inside of our comfort zones. And only when we actually leave our comfort zones, do we really truly learn something different, something new. And one of the fastest ways to do that for me, has always been through the very fortunate access I've had to travel, through the work that I've done, going and visiting different cultures, spending time in different environments that are outside of my comfort zone, that allow me to let go of all of my own preconceived ideas and immerse myself into the richness of something new that leaves me changed forever.
David de Rothschild:
I think that has been one of the most, my greatest mentor has always been spending time in nature and spending time with people outside of my bubble, because it's so easy just to sit around at an event or a dinner or in a lecture, and go to the same place and tell the same conversation and just have people to agree with you. And then you're not really learning. So for me, again, coming back to that concept of curiosity and exploring, the moment you feel a little bit of uncomfortableness, you are an explorer, because you're actually going outside of your comfort zone to find a new pathway. You're setting a new pathway, a neuro-linguistic pathway, right.
David de Rothschild:
You're actually doing something that you might breaking a habit. And so I challenge people, myself and in my community always to say, let's not just have the same conversations, let's not just agree with each other, let's go and find the person who doesn't agree with us and understand their standpoint, because if we only sitting here, rubber stamping everything for ourselves, then we're never really learning, or we're never really exploring a new way. So it's important to remain curious. And then that leads into a single... Sorry, go, go.
Sinéad Burke:
No, I was just going to say that, moving from that position, it allows you to be vulnerable and actually vulnerability and curiosity, and perhaps even kindness are not traits that we have historically valued in the way that we have encouraged other skills and people. And moving into that space of vulnerability and admitting to yourself and to the world that there are pockets that you do not understand and may never will, it actually takes huge courage and confidence to be able to put yourself in a position where you are deliberately uncomfortable.
David de Rothschild:
Exactly. It's so true. It's such an interesting, I think that sort of, we run away from the uncomfortableness and actually what we do is, then we run away from breaking our shell. There's a Sufi saying that says, "All pain is the breaking of the shell that encompasses our understanding." So we are creatures of habits, and we do stay with inside of that shell. And actually the most interesting place to operate and learn, is when you are out of your comfort zone. And I guess, again, as I was younger, when I was younger, I should say, I can see now, I reflect, in my 20s, I remember my first trip when I went to cross Antarctica with a group, I was invited on this thing, initially as a support team member.
David de Rothschild:
And I lied my way onto this trip, I probably shouldn't say that, but they were like, how many mountains have you climbed? And how many knots can you tie? And how strong are you? I just made it all up as I went along and I was like, it's walking on skis, it can't be that hard. I'll just read some books. But there was so much sort of, I think in my head, I had so much energy and I'll just make it happen. And then as you get a little older, fear kicks in, and I think now if someone came to me and said, go do that, and I'd never done it before, I'd probably be much more reserved and probably much more cautious and probably missed an opportunity.
David de Rothschild:
And it's not to say that, as you get older, you don't jump into things, but it means that we retreat into our shells. And I think that's why if we're not looking to the youth, and I say that, in our great youth, I sound like it's a middle aged man that I am. But if we're not looking to that source of clean energy, everyone talks about clean energy, well, clean energy starts, as soon as that little face lights up and sees nature for the first time or expresses and eats food for the first time, that moment, that energy that comes all the way through, as you were saying, from that little child in the aisle, that imprint at that early age, that's where it will start.
David de Rothschild:
And that's where we can really, I think, that's the momentum and that's what's interesting about our society, is, we take the elderly and we package them off to homes and we take the youth and we ignore them and say, you have no value, that's because in the West we only value that part of the society that contributes to the financial economic model. And so if you go into any indigenous culture, the youth are revered for their energy and that they are the next generation and their vitality and the continuation, and our elders are recognized for their wisdom. And they are really this connection to the stories of where we've come from.
David de Rothschild:
And if you don't understand where we've come from, then you don't really understand where we should be going. And so I think it's interesting that I hope, one of the tragedies about what's been happening, not to bring that into the conversation, but with COVID-19, as you look at all this wisdom, that's been unnecessarily lost, it's like libraries of information just gone unnecessarily. And I think we have to really start to realign society and say, just because you aren't contributing maybe into this economic middle part of society, the working part of society and contributing, doesn't mean that you're not valuable, because knowledge is infinitely valuable and irreplaceable and it's not passed on.
David de Rothschild:
We all need to realign our relationship with those younger than us and those older than us. And I think spending time with those elders and with that wisdom and with that naivety and that brashness, our ability to jump into things, we need that sometimes, because as you get older, you procrastinate. And a lot of the issues that I deal with, or many people in my space deal with, we haven't got time for procrastination. We're running against a very, very tight timeline to try and mobilize some sense into those who have the ability to make decisions that will really change our ability to live on this planet or not.
David de Rothschild:
And we have to recognize that even though we've been in lockdown for the last three to four months, depending on where you are in the world, or less, but you've got to realize that you can't lock down from a collapsing nature, because you can't look down from that system, this disappearing or overwhelming you, because it doesn't have the ability to just suddenly, you can't just bail it out, is what I should say. And so we have to make those choices very, very soon. And so, we need everybody, it's everybody or nobody is, as the great Buckminster Fuller said in 1963 when he coined the phrase “Spaceship Earth.”
Sinéad Burke:
Exactly as you said, I think so much of what we've learned in this moment, is the categorization of different groups of people, that if you were to be considered vulnerable in this moment, you were to isolate yourself further and that definition of value and what a person is or can do to be valuable or of service, I think is so important that we critique it, not just from an economic lens, but just by existing alone, we are each having an impact. We have an impact on those who have lived with us, those who love us, the environment, whether that's positive or negative and refracting that lens could not be more important then in this moment right now, because we each have a responsibility to look after ourselves, the next generation and the planet most essentially. But David, you speak so beautifully about nature. I would love for you to describe for me the scene of your favorite moment, surrounded by nature.
David de Rothschild:
I say that I'm very biased towards the ocean. And I think it's one of those places that the mystery is this other world. So I would say that to me, the moment that you roll off the back of a boat, and you find yourself facing down almost as if you're flying into this blue yonder, and that takes you into this world and you see these other worldly creatures, and these are underwater cities that are built around these coal reefs and all the different lifeforms. They're really where life started on this planet. And so for me, I think to have the opportunity to go under the water, to spend, not often more than, because your tanks will only allow you a glimpse, but to be able to go and have that brief glimpse in this other world that we've very rarely explore.
David de Rothschild:
We know so little about our ocean. We know so little about the species in our ocean, there's libraries and libraries and libraries of information in our ocean that we take for granted. I think basically, and when you think about it, all of that diversity, essentially is massive library of solutions and through billions of years of evolution, these incredible systems have thrived, survive, evolved, and have produced the unimaginable. When you look at really our planet in this black void of space, and you think, how have we ended up with this incredible balance, where we're just close enough to this fire ball, that we can pan ourselves gently from a style that is burning thousands of thousands and millions of degrees, that if we would touch closer, we would all explode into flame, if we touch further away, we would just ice over and everything would be frozen into oblivion.
David de Rothschild:
And we have this moon, that we think was a planet the size of Mars, it's smacked into us, bounced off us and then created essentially an anchor, right. That we then are controlling, is controlling our days and it gives us stability in our rotation. It gives us the perfect, again, balance and that connection to the mother moon connects to our ocean that then gives us all beautiful title, currents, then push all our climate around the planet, so on and so on. And you start to look at all of this, the interconnectedness, you start to look at this knowledge, you start to look at all of these pieces together and you have to start to think, why don't we have the same amount of respect for these libraries of nature, this information, nature as we do for our own work, as our own literary greats? We create these huge museums and we put books and art and all these things, our work of arts and our knowledge.
David de Rothschild:
But we sort of ignore this other library, this library of nature. And so for me to dive under the ocean and to peel back and be a spectator, and you see all these different interactions and you see all these different moments happening and there's all these fascinations. I mean, to me, you look at something like an Octopi, the thing that we still haven't figured out, many things we haven't figured out, but one of them is that, they can change color to their surroundings, but yet, they're color blind, so how do they do that? How do they know what color? And one theory is that they feel color through their arms, through the wavelengths of color, every color has a different wavelength, and they can feel that color. And that is how they respond when in danger or when trying to hide and hunt.
David de Rothschild:
But they've evolved, over millions and millions of years to figure this out. And we come along and we go, I'll just take that from the ocean and I'll chuck it into bit of oil. And dip in some spicy sauce, not taking into consideration that that has got superior intelligence of consciousness, has got, millions of years of evolving to play a part in this incredible system. And I think that's the thing that I'm constantly trying to, I guess, packer, that's the essence of my own curiosity, is how do we try and reimagine ourselves with inside of this web of life? How do we try and close the gap on that narrative to say that we are all part of nature and nature is us?
David de Rothschild:
And I was thinking about this the other day, our home is planet earth and it was born in this black void. It was a great struggle between gravity and mass. And somehow we survived against all the odds and then our planet started to evolve, and then we had these miraculous events that happened over billions of years, that allowed life to flourish. And the same is really, if you make the comparison to a child in the womb, in this black void, all of a sudden against all the odds, the struggle between life and death occurs, and life is born and you start inside of the womb and then you're born.
Sinéad Burke:
It underlines your thesis of the power of connection, but also the importance of balance and how everything is within that circular ecological economy in a sense. But one of the things I'm really curious about David is, so much of your early interest within the environment was rooted in your curiosity, but very quickly, you moved to leverage that curiosity into advocacy and into work. And I'm really intrigued by what you're doing with the Plastiki. And I wonder, what was the turning point for you? What was the catalyst by which it was not just about learning and having access to the encyclopedia of the world around you, but actually being motivated to be a change maker and to bring other people with you?
David de Rothschild:
I think that the Plastiki, was one of these, it's been such an incredible journey, which continues and continues, and actually this year is the 10th anniversary of the Plastiki. So we would've left Samoa by now and we were on our way towards, what we aiming for, New Caledonia about this point in our journey 10 years ago, it was bobbing around on the ocean. But the Plastiki started as a response to my time I'd spent in the Arctic in 2006, I'd finished a project where I was trying to ski from Russia to Canada and spend 110 days on the Arctic ocean. And it was really encapsulating this conversation around climate change. And the fact that the Arctic and Antarctica are the canaries in the coal mine, and what's happening that we should be very concerned about, because of the melting sea ice and the change that would have on our global weather systems.
David de Rothschild:
I came back and I started to have these conversations, and I was always met with this response why our climates always changed. There was always a debate, whenever you see the word climate change as a debate, it always elicits a certain tension with people. It's odd. It just has this way. I mean, if you called it pollution, and said, we've just got a global pollution problem., people are going to go to, okay, cool. Yeah, I can empathize. And one of the pollution issues that we face and we've become much more aware of, because it's really caught up with us, is our addiction to plastic, has created these human fingerprints all over our planet. And so I started reading about this back in 2006 and this very nondescript report in the UN, this little line about the biodiversity of our oceans and started mentioning plastic in our ocean.
David de Rothschild:
And I was like, wow, there's 46,000 items of plastic [inaudible 00:28:11], who was convinced, it was a typo, I was like, UNEP has got this wrong, it must be 4,000 pieces. It can't be 46,000. And then I started to dig a little and I found out that actually it was an estimate and there was really no knowledge of how much plastic was accumulating in our ocean. And the stats were basically very early, no one really knew, it was a very nascent area, these plastics in the natural environment. So the question was, well, how do you get interest? How do you start to spot activism? How do you drag people along into a journey? If I start saying, Hey guys, I've got this really exciting thing, I want you to get involved with it. It's called recycling.
David de Rothschild:
You're probably like, all right, this dude needs to get out more, there's something wrong with him. Recycling is not that fun. But if I tell you, I'm going to build a boat made in tiny plastic bottles to sail across the Pacific, instantly, you're enamored by the adventure. Instantly, you want to know why the hell would you do that? And by that, I've started the Trojan horse of education and information. And you yourself, by being curious become an activist, because you can't switch off that curiosity now, now you want to know, how's the boat built? Where are you going to sell to? Who's on your crew? What were you eating? How did you travel? What's the ocean like? What's in the ocean? Did he see anything in the ocean? All of a sudden, you've become a reporter.
David de Rothschild:
You've become a curiosity center and you start to amass all these questions, that hopefully through all the different levels and layering of stories, whether you're a sailor, a biologist, an oceanographer, whether you're a poet, whether you're a photographer, whether you're a filmmaker, whether you're into engineering, whether you're into plastics, there was a story for you and you could layer in that entry point and all those experiences. And all of a sudden you've got this 360 degree view of how we use plastic, how we don't dispose of it correctly and how it then ends up in our natural environment. And then through the design element of the project, we started to create this like, well, anything's possible. And in a way, the Plastiki became an anything is possible mantra. To me, it was a very crazy idea which started with a simple premise of can we build a boat, made entire plastic bottles to sail across the Pacific.
David de Rothschild:
By asking that question, I realized that there was no stupid questions. So everybody could come in and say, well, what about this? What about that? And we had this really, really vibrant curiosity circus around Plastiki. It was just like every type of question, every type of possibility, nothing was off the table, everything was tried out until it didn't work out. It was this really beautiful mix. And that's why it took us three to four years to figure out how to build this thing. And then the adventure begins. And then we set sail from San Francisco and we set off on this journey with all these different systems in place, on the boat. And we were ethernauts. You know what I mean? When you sail on this ocean, which covers, the Pacific makes up 28% of our planet, ocean makes 2% of our planet.
David de Rothschild:
We were really ocean. But when you really set off, you feel like you are on this kind of, you're an astronauts heading off into space. The stars are so bright in the Pacific that they glow on the ocean. You don't know if you're sailing on the stars or you're in the sky, or if you're in the ocean or on the sky, I should say. You really are enveloped in this cosmic experience as you drift away, and we were literally drifting away across a message on a bottle. And to me the message, even today, is anything is possible if you dream big enough. And I think that's such an important mantra today, more than ever. And so that's why 10 years on, we said, look, 10 years ago, there really wasn't much of a conversation, today there is a conversation.
David de Rothschild:
The conversation is still focusing a little bit too much for my liking on what's wrong. We always have these pictures of turtles and whales on beaches all covered in plastic, and it's always like, look another turtle has died or look, another whale has died, or look how much plastic there is, rather than, what is the possibility to live in harmony with the material that if you use correctly is a very smart material, but our addiction to convenience and disposability has made it absolutely tragic response to the human condition of consumption. It's something that we have to get a handle on. So what we decided was 10th anniversary, let's bring the Plastiki back to life, taking on a tour through the UK. We're going to launch in early June physically, and then work our way up to the cop meetings.
David de Rothschild:
But as everybody knows, 2020 has being canceled and it's going to come back next year in 2021, I think we just rename it 2020. So we decided to make everything digital. So we've developed a new site which will be launching around the 1st of June, in time for World Environment Day. And then 7th of June is International Beat Plastic Pollution, which is just a day for me, not just to focus on what's wrong, but to focus on what's right, and to use the Plastiki as a platform for that, leading into World Oceans Day, which is the 8th of June. So it becomes a real festival, I think of nature with World Environment Day on the 5th, International Beat Plastic Pollution Day on the 7th, then World Oceans Day on the 8th, you have a real chance. I think, as an individual just to say, Hey, what can I do?
David de Rothschild:
How can I be involved? How can I start something? How can I support something? And I would say order starts ultimately with being curious, don't just accept that's the way we've done it mentality. Don't just say, well, that's just the way it is. because at the end of the day, there is so many different pathways to living on this planet. And the one that we've chosen is way too linear, way too destructive, way too fragmenting, and actually we have the opportunity to work much better, together. It's everybody or nobody. It's not my issue. It's not my problem. It's all of ours. If I thrive, you thrive. If I am interconnected to you in a positive way, then we have that ripple effect. If it becomes negative, then we're falling apart.
Sinéad Burke:
Absolutely. And I think something like a 10 year anniversary, an anniversary at all, is a really important time to reflect on where we've come from, the progress that we've achieved and what's next. And I think exactly, as you said, we must refocus this within a lens of positivity, but also within one of intersectionality, I think there has been friction between so many of the sustainability conversations with the activist community, specifically in relation to disabled people and accessibility. That's how often, even as you said, David, there are important uses for plastic and it's not one or the other, but looking at how collectively we can each make a difference and realizing that the environment is impacted and impacts different people in different ways. And what's important is to be curious and open to learning and unlearning those important different pockets of conversations.
David de Rothschild:
And also recognizing the nature is an incredible magician and who doesn't love magic. Right? You know what I mean? You meet a magician, right? And you're like, okay, here's a magician. And that isn't, there's a lot of variability in magicians, there's good magicians and bad magicians, but we all love magic. We know it's a trick, but if you allow yourself to suspend that preconditioned idea of, well, it's a trick, and just allow yourself to go to that childlike state of curiosity, where you go, wow, how did you do that? Nature is like that, it elicits the same response. It does the most incredible things. Just the idea of the sunrise and the sunset and the moon rise and the moon set, that is incredible, and it leaves you feeling invigorated.
David de Rothschild:
And I do think that we have to, sometimes just take stock of the message, as you say, make it much more accessible, less exclusive, less fragmented. It's not one size fits all. It's just not, and it shouldn't be, it should be embracing diversity. It should be embracing different methodologies, because everybody has their own stories, everybody has their own value set, everybody has their own way of operating that suits them. And we need to embrace that and learn from, not run away from the point, not say you're different from me, because we're not, we're the same, we're all the same.
David de Rothschild:
And I think that unified front across any issue, whether it be environment, whether it be gender equality or whether be accessibility, I just said, people would say, that's a disabled person. I said, no, they can do many, many other things that I can't do. So why is it different? It's actually an ability, not a disability that we need to focus on. And those are the things that I think we need to reframe, be so careful with the words, because a lot of the narratives and the words that we use today are taking us down a very dangerous path, and that's a whole another podcast, right-
Sinéad Burke:
Yeah, and the importance of language is more like whatever, as somebody who describes themselves as a little person or a person with dwarfism, I choose to use the word disability and disabled, and it comes from a sense of reclaiming words. So looking at a word that, I grew up in an era where, education was still segregated. If you were disabled, you went to special education and perhaps didn't go to mainstream and actually feeling a sense of pride in the word. But I think what we have learned from this conversation alone, is that, we need to give people agency and choice, about things that they choose, how they choose to be defined, what they choose to be and do, whether that's an explorer like you or a teacher like me, but actually creating that space and opportunity for so many is incredibly important.
Sinéad Burke:
But David, you said something really fascinating earlier on in this conversation about, how so much of your work is not just focused on educating individuals or encouraging individuals to find their space in the world and to use their voice, but actually in order to create systemic sustainable change, that is long lasting, that will succeed you and succeed me, is that you have to speak to people with power, or companies and organizations with power and collaborate with them and make a difference that will be a measurable in many ways.
Sinéad Burke:
And that will create change overnight that you couldn't work on for decades. And I know one of the ways that you have done this and perhaps done this in previous ways before is, collaborating with different organizations. And when I heard that you were going to be part of Gucci's campaign for off the grid, my immediate instinct was that's really smart, both of them and of you. And I just wondered if you could describe that to me, what it is and why you thought this was something valuable for you to participate in?
David de Rothschild:
It's such an interesting brand and you look at its admin club, and you look at its trajectory and you look at the momentum it has, and you look at the voice it has, and you look at the power it has to convene. And as you're saying, it's like, we can sail on the outside and point at what's wrong, or we can look at the other side of the coin, which is what people are trying to do to make things better. Right? No one's perfect, myself included. And I think when I started to really... I had an opportunity to go and speak at your Gucci's headquarters about a year ago. It was the end of my talk and I was wrapping up and I'm just being a little bit cheeky. There was a question asked about the influence on corporations and how they can affect a more sustainable way of living.
David de Rothschild:
And since what you just asked me, I've always believed that, there's a system that was created and now there's a chance to recreate and to unlearn and relearn. Brands are communities, and they have an ability to guide and shepherd narratives, much more quickly sometimes. And we can as environmentalist, who are sort of, maybe in our silo, they have a much broader reach, a much broader following and a much more passionate following. And I think we're getting to the point where individuals want to wear or feel or engage with something, that is more than just a product experience. It's more than just profit, it's planet, it's people, it's got substance, it's got some depth in it. I was finishing up my talk and I was sitting on the stage at Gucci headquarters in Milan.
David de Rothschild:
And I was looking out at this room of beautiful people, all wearing Gucci. I've always been talking about this idea, when you see brands using images of nature or having prints and nature on their products and their clothing, which Gucci obviously has a lot of, why don't we pay our royalty back to nature? And it's an idea I've being thinking and talking about for many years. I said, through this hour, I saw the CEO Marco Bizzarri in the front row, and I threw it at him and said, put him on the spot. I said, Marco, why doesn't Gucci pay royalty to nature? As soon as the talk finished, I came on stage. He said, well, actually, I want to tell you about what we're doing, the lion share came up and the fact that they are actually donating capital from their advertising campaigns, when nature is involved, it's the lion share which goes to the UNDP.
David de Rothschild:
And then we started to really dig in and the challenge, Marco is not one to shy away from the challenge nor is Alessandro. And you start to dig into the brand and you start to look at the group, look at the caring group, and you look at that environmental P&L that they've applied across the group and how that's being engaged specifically inside the Gucci. And you start to look at the material choices made inside of the shoes. You start looking at the materials and for sure people say, well, still a big company, still has disposability, still has seasons, still has all these things. But again, you're looking at the negative. There's a ton of positivity around the moves that are made.
David de Rothschild:
If you remove a certain material, the impact is enormous. If you start to have a conversation, the impact is enormous. And so I got really sucked into seeing what they were doing and digging and going, okay, what about this? And then all of a sudden I find the whole equilibrium platform. And then what about that? And then I find out that planting and restoring, or protecting old growth rainforests, and I'm like, okay, I'm throwing out, just testing and then, okay, there's an answer there. What about plastic? Why have we started to remove it in supply chain and across the group and we're using recycled material. It became this back and forth, and I'm only very early into this Gucci conversation in terms of, this is a very old company that is leading the way in terms of, taking its infrastructure and pushing it into the planet 0.2, zero way of thinking.
David de Rothschild:
And that's really exciting, for me to be able to come in and not look at it and go, there's a whole, there's a whole, there's a whole, but go, wow, they've actually started that conversation and are growing it and are evolving it into something really powerful. And then to be asked to be part of the campaign, obviously if you're honoring something that you go, okay, that's cool, but what does that mean behind it? And then to look at the material choices, the recyclability that was used, the eco nylon that was used in the production of some of the bags and the shoes, and that ties in very closely with Plastiki and what we were looking at about recyclability and about recycling the economy. So there's these really nice touch points that start to make sense. You look at it as a whole and you go here is a corporation that is a shining star with inside of the group that has many other brands that people know very, very well.
David de Rothschild:
And if they can do it right and lead the way, that ripple effect inside the group, that ripple effect across the customer base, that ripple effect across the supply chain has huge impact. And I think we've seen more than any other industry in the last couple of years, fashion has been on the frontline of change. They have to change. People are starting to recognize, well, hang on, that disposability or that material choice or that dye, or that labor behind the label, what is the impact? And if you don't start to shift your model to a more sustainable model and start to have conversations that are more than conversations, but are actions within side of the business, then you're going to be left flat footed.
David de Rothschild:
And we do live in a trends and consumer society, where brands have to evolve. Otherwise, the consumer will walk away and find a new environment. And I think Gucci is doing an incredible job at actually capturing that sentiment of, what do you stand for more than? And this is a great testament to that. So, it's really exciting to be part of it, and I'm excited to keep on pushing and nudging and being that annoying explorer inside of the Gucci family, that tries to say, Hey, come on, let's do more, let's push this and that, anything is possible. So I'm just excited to learn, an honor to be alongside great people in the campaign. It's really exciting.
Sinéad Burke:
It's brilliant, and more than anything as an educators and as a teacher, one of the things that I'm really hopeful for about this campaign is that, when it lands on the social media timeline of a teenager, maybe it's the first time they've had to think about, or they will think about a conversation around sustainability or their use of plastic, or maybe they'll even ask for the first time, what their clothes are made of. Because Gucci has over 14 million Instagram followers alone, singularly on that platform. And who knows who it will reach, who it will influence, who knows what conversations it will instigate around a dining room table or in a WhatsApp group chat, and that is important and interesting, even if the individual is an aspirational customer and not somebody who's going to be wearing these garments, but the use of it as a tool and as a catalyst in terms of education, I think is incredibly important.
David de Rothschild:
I couldn't agree more. I had an email to that end the other day I got, and this to me, I could die a happy man now, but I got through LinkedIn. I got a note the other day, it says, "Hey, my name is Christian. I'm a 19 year old college student, sailor and ocean conservationist. I'm blushing now, but you've been my idol since I can remember. I got my star in activism off the scene of Plastiki launched in Sausalito when I was nine years old, I recently started a non-profit, called Generation Blue, and I'm currently developing an activism app called, Pick It." Right. Fill in the blank. I mean, so this kid was nine years old, saw Plastiki and 10 years later, at 19, he describes himself as an activist, as an ocean conservationist.
David de Rothschild:
That is the ripple effect. When people said to me, well, you finished, you landed on the shores of Sydney. Well done. I was like, the work is just beginning. We have no idea what's going to come out of this, how it's going to ripple down the line. And I think the same applies for Gucci, they have an audience I can never reach, and as you say, there's 40 million people on just one social media platform. There's all the different touch points of this brand. And inside of that, there's a kid somewhere who's watching someone wear a pair of shoes that are made of recycled material, who might grow up and be the designer of the next cool brand in 10 years time. And that brand is made totally from closed loop materials, totally sustainably. I was inspired by a conversation that happened today.
David de Rothschild:
And that to me is the beauty of this interconnectedness. I couldn't write that, literally the other day when it arrived, I was just like, wow, it's 10 years that ripple went out. I threw the Plastiki into the ocean, it created those waves and now those waves are coming back. And that to me is like, that's why I do what I do, the same is probably why you do what you do as a teacher, because you plant those seeds and then you see something magical grow. And that's what the cyclicality of life is all about. Right? It's about dreaming bigger than yourself. Planting seeds about how to live in harmony with each other and harmony with nature. Living in this symbiotic relationship with each other, where we all value that interconnectivity, that diversity and the magic then starts to happen. Right? The moment we try and exclude and dislocate and fragment and put fear of a curiosity, we fall into a rabbit hole of despair and we'll fall into the rabbit hole of all the things that we should avoid at all costs.
Sinéad Burke:
David, for anybody who was listening to this, who is not as courageous and being curious as you are, or as I am, I fundamentally believe that the things we believe that are impossible, are only so, because the antithesis hasn't yet had time to flourish or exist, or we haven't thought about it. But for those who are listening, who haven't had the privilege or the fortune to be in an environment surrounded by people to encourage them to be curious, what advice would you give them? What toolkit or framework would you provide, to help them maintain whatever ends or grain of curiosity that they have, and to allow it to grow further?
David de Rothschild:
I would say that all the tools and all the potential that you have is inside of you. And I think we have to double down on ourselves and believe in ourselves. And there's so much noise, no matter what world you come from, no matter where you live, how you live, what part of society, there is so much noise. And actually we all have to bring it back to that. Animalistic intuition, back to that being that we are all very intuitive creatures, we all have inside us exactly what we need to unlock our human potential. And so resilience to yourself belief, tapping into that and saying, listen, I may not have the confidence, but if I can continue and be single-minded in my belief in myself, just to really trust me, trust that I have the tools, trust that they will flourish, trust in the vision that I can get to the place that I want to be.
David de Rothschild:
And project that and put that vision up in front of you, maybe physically, maybe print that vision, write that vision or whatever it is that you're trying to strive to do, you have it in you, but we live in such a society where we're told we can't, we're told we're not good enough. I would honestly say the biggest driver for me is when someone says you can't, I will go and do it, just to prove them wrong and to prove to myself that I can. That's stubbornness, every single time. David won't do this. He won't do it. I remember the first time I mentioned about the Plastiki, I'm going to build a boat of plastic bottles, everyone was like, you're an idiot. That's the most stupid thing I've ever heard. That's never going to work. That's all I needed.
David de Rothschild:
I've been working on another project for eight years. Every time I got to a point where I thought I could get somewhere, it would close down and close down and close down, but I'm still persevering. I'm still going to keep going. And I think if you put in the hours and the hours into yourself and into your vision and cut out all the chatter, cut out all the noise, because everybody else has criticism of your ability to achieve the thing that you want to achieve is based on fear. And if you can just recognize that it's their fear, that it's not your fear, and you can remove that voice and that noise and believe in yourself, you can conquer anything, because the human condition and the human potential is infinite, we are only bound by our own ability to stop.
David de Rothschild:
We're only bound by the noises that tell us that we can't and our imaginations, and we have to unlock our imaginations, cut out the noise and listen to that inner child and that inner voice. Because if you go in to that inner voice of being a child, again, anything is possible.
Sinéad Burke:
David, it has been such a genuine thrill to speak with you. And as somebody who believed that they were curious, I think I still have quite a bit of practice left to go, but I cannot thank you enough. Thank you.
David de Rothschild:
Thank you so much. It's been a real, real honor. And thank you for inspiring me to keep on thinking and drive my own curiosity. So I look forward to the next time, reporting back with some more stories.

اقرأ المزيد ^
في حلقة البودكاست الجديدة من غوتشي، يتحاور اختصاصي البيئة ديفيد دي روتشيلد David de Rothschild مع الناشطة سيناد بورك Sinéad Burke حول موضوع الاستدامة وأهمية تغذية الفضول وتنميته.الفضول جزء من المشاعر الإنسانية
 

في حلقة البودكاست الجديدة من غوتشي، يتحاور اختصاصي البيئة ديفيد دي روتشيلد David de Rothschild مع الناشطة سيناد بورك Sinéad Burke حول موضوع الاستدامة وأهمية تغذية الفضول وتنميته.الفضول جزء من المشاعر الإنسانية
في حلقة البودكاست الجديدة من غوتشي، يتحاور اختصاصي البيئة ديفيد دي روتشيلد David de Rothschild مع الناشطة سيناد بورك Sinéad Burke حول موضوع الاستدامة وأهمية تغذية الفضول وتنميته.الفضول جزء من المشاعر الإنسانية
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