Archive for June, 2013

Roz Savage – Award

Roz Savage, an StFF beneficiary, has been recognised in the 2013 Queen’s Birthday Honours with an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire)  for services to environmental awareness and fundraising.

I sometimes feel like a bit of a fraud calling myself a “solo” rower. Sure, when I’m out on the water, with a satellite phone my only connection to dry land, I do feel very alone. But in truth, I am the tip of a very big iceberg, the visible bit of a huge human endeavour that encompasses everybody who has helped to get me out there, and who motivates me along my way, and who celebrates with me when/after I arrive.

For this I thank you.

Roz Savage, 16 June 2013

British Couple First in World to Run Length of Bolivia

Richard Branson

British adventure-running couple, Katharine and David Lowrie, are hoping to run into the record books after completing an unsupported and gruelling 1,187 mile run across Bolivia, a country four times the size of Great Britain. This is the first time this feat has ever been attempted.

Due to the vast wild areas the pair had to run through, they pulled all their equipment, plus food and water supplies behind them in a trailer they made from recycled materials.

“It’s a love-hate relationship with the trailer”, said Katharine, “At times I wanted to throw it into the caiman-filled creeks! It was like pulling a plough, especially through the mud, sand and pot holes of the 40% of the route on dirt roads. On the other-hand, it was our life-line, allowing us to survive in really remote stretches of the Amazon basin, with temperatures soaring to 40 degrees Celsius and near 100% humidity.”

The run across Bolivia is part of a larger expedition for the pair, who are seeking to be the first to run the length of South America unsupported.

David explains, “It’s a dream expedition; to run through some of the most biodiverse and climatically challenging areas on earth. And it’s been amazing to run in the company of river dolphins, capybaras, howler monkeys and fireflies. But we also want to remind people about how much of South America’s incredible wild lands and wildlife are threatened and that there are small steps we can all take to conserve them”.

In addition to running and recording the wildlife they observe along the route, David and Katharine are raising money for Asociacion Armonia and their partner Birdlife International, who are conserving habitat for the critically endangered Bolivian blue-throated macaw. There are only believed to be 300-400 individuals left in the wild, due to habitat loss from cattle ranching and the illegal pet trade. Protection of the parrot’s seasonally flooded savanna homes in the north of the country also ensures habitat for other threatened wildlife including maned wolves and giant anteaters.

Every day, the couple chatted to ever curious passers by, schools and local communities, “After overcoming the general shock of two strangers running down the road with a trolley behind them, the local people were extremely warm; plying us with maize cider and filling our bags with oranges and grapefruits. Aside from asking where we had come from and how many children we had, they were incredulous to learn that we slept in the forest, constantly asking us were we not afraid of venomous snakes and jaguars?!”.

Indeed, not all their wildlife encounters were positive. Much of the territory the couple ran through harbour tropical diseases and it was a constant battle to keep the mosquitoes at bay. Ants raided their food supplies, cut holes in their equipment, while wasps and bees repeatedly stung them.

“We’ve learnt a lot about running big distances day-on -day in tropical climates and the challenges of staying healthy whilst living by the roadside with no shower or bed. We suffered from prickly heat, gastro-intestinal infections, flu and I had a particularly delicate case of crotch rot!”, said David

Now the husband and wife team are setting their sights on Brazil and Venezuela in order to complete their 6,500 mile running challenge.

Richard Branson

-To find out more about the world first run and arrange an interview with Katharine and David, visit and 5000mileproject @facebook and @twitter.

-For additional photos see or get in touch.

-Follow: for a 3 minute video about the run so far.

-Katharine and David Lowrie set off from the southerly most point of continental South America, Cabo Froward, on the first day of the London Olympics, 28 July 2012. They have now run 4,487 miles and aim to have run 5,000 miles by Manaus, Brazil, less than a year after starting the expedition. They will then continue north through Venezuela to the Caribbean Sea, the finishing line of their epic run, which they intend to reach by the end of October.

-David 34, grew up in Northumberland and Katharine 35, in Devon. The couple first met running in the river valleys at Sheffield University.

-An Early Day Motion by the House of Commons has recognized their challenge.

-Their project is supported by Sculpt the Future Foundation, Transglobe Expedition Trust and John Muir Trust. Sponsors include Swarovski Optiks, Inov-8 and Berghaus among others.

-The couple started training in earnest for the expedition in Uruguay, three months before starting the expedition, including “learning how to run” using the bare-foot running technique.

-As well as being keen runners, the couple are also Ecologists, writing the, “Seabird Breeding Atlas of the Lesser Antilles”, after extensive surveys and a marine-ecology education programme on the Eastern Caribbean islands before beginning the expedition.

See the press release on the 5000 Mile Project page, here.

Climate Change Summit – Exeter, UK


The Met Office ran a workshop yesterday (18 June 2013) to bring together climate experts from across the UK to look at our unusual seasons, the possible causes behind them, and how more can be learned about the drivers of our weather.

The meeting sought to assess the research done so far and discuss what needs to be studied in the future to get a better idea of what could be causing the weather extremes.

Earlier this month the Met Office said below average temperatures through March, April and May made it the fifth coldest spring in national records dating back to 1910 and the coldest spring since 1962.

Provisional findings show the UK’s mean temperature for the season was just 6C (42.8F), while March was “exceptionally” cold, averaging 2.2C (36F).

At the end of the summit, they said that UK’s weather was being influenced by a number of factors, including long term Atlantic currents which occur in 10-20 year cycles.

This in turn is believed to be one of the factors affecting the jet stream – the column of air 10km up in the sky, which drives the UK’s weather.

Plastic in our Oceans

This film has been commissioned by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to raise awareness of plastic in our oceans and inspire us all to help reduce the waste.  Beautifully done and worth a look.

The Great Plastic Purge from leftchannel on Vimeo.

Sir Richard Branson and Jochen Zeitz launch ‘Plan B’

A new initiative launched today, founded by Sir Richard Branson and Jochen Zeitz to galvanize the business community to ‘prioritise people and planet alongside profit’.

“As business leaders, we know that what we’re proposing will be a challenge, or even an affront, to many of our colleagues and competitors,” they said. “But we’re confident that those who choose to work with us will see that in the long run what’s better for the planet and its people is also better for business.”

Read about The B Team

Atossa Soltani – Hillary Laureate 2013

Richard Branson

Friend of the Foundation, Atossa Soltani, Founder and leader of the charity Amazon Watch has been awarded the Hillary Laureate for exceptional leadership in the field of climate equity.

The Institute, which was launched by Sir Edmund Hillary in 2007, will be working with Atossa over the next year to enhance her work globally, and they have invited her to lead the Institute’s 6th Annual Hillary Leadership Symposium in November.

For more information: Sun, Wind Power Crucial to Planet’s Heart Opinion, The Press, June 5

and from Amazon Watch: Atossa Soltani’s Award

The Face of Climate Change

Richard Branson

On 22 April 22 2013 more than one billion people around the world took part in the 43rd anniversary of Earth Day.

Earth Day Network asked its supporters to become ‘climate reporters’ by sending in their pictures and stories to show ‘The Face of Climate Chance’.  They collected some great pictures and associated stories from people around the world – take a look at what was sent in:

Roz Savage – TED Talk at Yale and Australian Feature


Roz Savage visits TED Yale to explain her motivations to row – adventure and the environment.

Also, ‘Stop Drifting, Start Rowing’



Village at the End of the World

Founded in 2004, UK film distributer, Dogwoof, has released award-winning independent films from around the world.  Its main focus is documentaries that, in some way, inspire creativity, thought and change – about communities, individuals, the environment or social issues.

Dogwoof has asked us to draw your attention to Village at the End of the World, which is in cinemas now.   This is a new film about a remote village in Greenland where thinning ice sheets are interrupting their traditional way of life.

Picturehouse operates 21 Picturehouse cinemas and has chosen the film for their Picturehouse Docs Discover Tuesday event for June – so on Tuesday 4th June, the film will screen at every Picturehouse cinema. For more information click here.

To help you make sure you catch this remarkable and beautifully shot film by UK Director, Sarah Gavron, Dogwoof is giving away 2 tickets to each screening – email to enter the draw.

Good luck.