Water Security

Food Sustainability

Waste Matters

Energy Efficiency

Clean Mobility

Skills Opportunity

Sharing Solutions


Me. My planet. My life support.

7 Expeditions7 Communities7 Principles

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How do you live your life so you’re part of the solution to a sustainable future, not part of the problem?

Our home is a solitary one, isolated by the watery darkness of space. We have no way to evacuate people to relieve rising world population. Nor can we import resources to avoid the decimation of habitat we depend upon for future survival. The window is narrowing for humanity to find a way to live within the Earth’s capacity to regenerate its natural capital (just one generation, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), a daunting task given the scale and complexity of the issues involved.

But what if the solutions are hidden in plain view? What if the key to global sustainability is under our noses, available to learn from and assimilate into our lives right now?

Following a pioneering circumnavigation of the globe using only human power, a 13-year journey that required self-sufficiency aboard a 26-foot pedal-powered boat crossing the world’s oceans, explorer Jason Lewis will lead a series of expeditions to similar Micro Earths—small, isolated societies that have learned to not only survive but thrive within the constraints of a closed system.

We will unearth timeless knowledge and share it online using a variety of distribution platforms and strategic partnerships. This universal wisdom will centre around 7 principles for a sustainable future.

"I cannot save water for myself while knowing that my neighbour has no water."―Woman from Konso, Southern Ethiopia

Water security is one of the biggest challenges (and therefore opportunities) for global sustainability as aquifers continue to be over pumped, rivers dry up, and wetlands disappear to development.

The demand for water has been growing at twice the rate of population increase over the last 100 years, a rate that is set to accelerate in the next decade by 50% in developing countries and 18% in developed countries. By 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in areas of absolute water scarcity and population growth alone will account for the consumption of 70% of all available fresh water.

Clearly, we cannot continue down this unsustainable path.

As well as industry initiatives in water treatment, re-use, and desalination, we can examine our own individual consumption patterns. Those of us living in affluent countries use between 30 and 100 gallons a day, well above the global average. Compare this with desert Micro Earths communities where people live comfortably on just a few gallons of water a day.

What can we learn from these communities to reduce household costs and guarantee future water security for our own families?

"Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet."―Albert Einstein

What you choose to put in your mouth can change the world.

The world’s growing appetite for meat and dairy products is now the leading driver of biodiversity loss and a major contributor to climate change and pollution. An average of 22.6kg of CO2 is emitted to produce just 1kg of beef, compared with 0.9kg of CO2 for the same amount of lentils. This and the release of methane and nitrous oxide has made the livestock sector one of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases: 18% of the global total, more than all cars, trains, planes and ships combined.

Scientists also warn the Earth’s sixth mass extinction, the man-induced Holocene extinction event, is already underway with a projected loss of over 75% of the world’s species—caused in large part by the clearing of habitat for livestock. In Central America alone, 40% of all rainforests have been cleared in the last 40 years for cattle pasture.

Depressing figures. So what’s the good news?

There are isolated communities where for centuries people have used sustainable diets that deter disease and ensure the security of the biosphere they depend upon for survival. Eating sustainably can mean better tasting food with fewer pesticides and unhealthy food additives.

We will visit these Micro Earths in the hope of discovering their secret to longevity.

"Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans."―Jacques Yves Cousteau

Those of us living in affluent countries discard an average of 4.3 pounds of waste a day, enough to fill a 3,100-mile-long column of refuse trucks bumper-to-bumper from New York to San Francisco.

This contributes to a global annual total of three trillion tonnes, the vast majority of which either ends up in methane-emitting landfills or is burnt, producing toxic chemicals known as dioxins. Two thirds of our waste is organic (mainly food, a quarter of which is never eaten), and a third of it paper and plastic.

But, you may say, if I'm not personally affected by any of these things, why should I care

To start with, we can save a lot of money—over £700 annually per household in the UK. We’ll be targeting remote Micro Earths where people use imaginative ways to produce near zero waste and also maintain a high standard of living. What are they doing right that we can translate to in our own lives and draw benefit from?

"We simply must balance our demand for energy with our rapidly shrinking resources. By acting now we can control our future instead of letting the future control us."―Jimmy Carter

Most of our household electricity still comes from burning fossil fuels—gas and coal accounts for 60% of total UK usage, for example. The typical North American uses 4,629 kWh of electricity each year, six times the global average of 731 kWh. Europeans use around 1,996 kWh.

To become part of the solution to a sustainable energy future, we each need to take a look at where our electricity comes from, how much we use, and decide what to do different.

Fortunately, there are some excellent models to guide us.

Some Micro Earths have reached 100% energy self-sufficiency by combining efficiency measures with renewable options. We’ll be travelling to these secluded communities to investigate how the residents not only save on their electricity bill but also earn residual income, experience fewer power outages, and enjoy greater energy security by making use of local resources rather than relying on imported fuels.

"Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike."―John F Kennedy

If current trends continue, private car ownership worldwide will triple to 2 billion vehicles by 2050, increasing road emissions by 80%.

As it is, transport is responsible for 22% of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions, pumping 8.07 billion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere in 2015—cars being the worst offenders. To prevent the Earth’s climate warming beyond 2°C, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has stated that global CO2 emissions must be cut by at least 50% by 2050.

With a business-as-usual mind-set, there’s little hope of this happening.

Or we can choose a different future for ourselves. The average personal vehicle emits around 5.23 tonnes of CO2 each year, enough to fill 2 hot air balloons. While the commercial sector catches up with cleaner and more efficient fuels and technologies, each of us can make a difference by modifying how we get around.

Human power is a common theme throughout all thriving Micro Earths. We’ll explore how this simple, low-stress mode of propulsion can improve health, quality of living, and keep money in a person’s pocket.

"We live in a disposable society. It’s easier to throw things out than to fix them. We even give it a name - we call it recycling."―Neil LaBute

One of the biggest obstacles to global sustainability is the rapid extraction of raw materials to produce the stuff we consume (and ultimately throw away in a traditional linear economy).

A few innovators are beginning to design goods with a circular lifecycle, meaning the items can either be disassembled at the end of their service life and returned to the Earth or the constituent materials be endlessly recycled and made into other products. However, we’re still decades away from such products being the norm.

In the meantime, until the business world catches up, we end consumers can take matters into our own hands by keeping our belongings in use for as long as possible, which means learning how to repair them when they break or stop working. This is a skill that Micro Earths inhabitants, being cut off from the outside world, have refined out of necessity.

We will relearn from these people the lost art of mending our own stuff.

"There is no delight in owning anything unshared."―Seneca, 1st century AD

"I need… You have…"

Imagine a world where possessions are shared instead of being individually owned.

That was the way the world worked until yesterday. As we’ve become wealthier, though, this economy has largely gone by the wayside, and we now spend long hours earning money to accumulate things that lie idle for much of the time. Resource-consuming property now represents a quarter of household expenditure and a third of all our waste. The average 10-year-old in the West, for example, owns 238 toys but plays with just 12 daily.

It’s time to resurrect the old sharing knowledge and reintroduce it to the 21st century.

Cut off from global trade networks by oceans, deserts, and mountain ranges, Micro Earth inhabitants sustain themselves by sharing their finite resources. Common to all Micro Earths are codes of conduct that foster cooperation and equitable consumption. We will unearth these timeless principles and present them as a better way to live.