The Eden Project has appointed four world-renowned leaders as its first-ever Eden Ambassadors.
Eden co-founder Sir Tim Smit said the quartet of Dr Easkey Britton as Marine Ambassador, Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim as Communities Ambassador, William McDonough as Ecology Ambassador and Sir Ken Robinson as Education Ambassador make up “the coolest band of four on the planet since Abba”.
Sir Tim assembled the team as part of a bold new plan for an Eden Life Systems Academy on the outer estate at the project’s home in Cornwall.
This will be designed to provide a unique place of learning and to engage with massive global challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss and soil degradation.
The potential for the ground-breaking academy will be unlocked by the establishment of a pioneering geothermal power plant on land nearby, just beyond the biomes.
Sir Tim said: “If you were putting a fantasy team together to represent all that is best in thought leadership to champion Eden’s next ten years, you’d be hard pressed to match the four we are lucky enough to have persuaded to join us.”
Marine social scientist and big-wave surfer, Dr Easkey Britton is, said Sir Tim, the outstanding choice as Marine Ambassador.
He said: “Easkey is an incredibly fearless and talented champion surfer. She is also a brilliant scientist whose deep knowledge and bond with the water makes her a world leader in the connection between people, nature and wellbeing.”
She is working with Sir Tim and team on Eden Project Foyle, a tourism and heritage-led regeneration project in Northern Ireland, opening access to 225 acres garden that in 2023 will unlock the landscape along the River Foyle for 400,000 visitors each year.
Sir Tim said that Communities Ambassador Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim is one of the great emerging voices advocating for indigenous peoples and the protection of nature.
He said: “Hindou embraces our common humanity, connects us with each other and our natural world and is a fearless champion for climate justice introduced to us by the former President of Ireland Mary Robinson as the brightest star of this generation.”
Hindou is helping the Eden Project with its work in Chad where Eden is partnering UNESCO and the University of N’Djamena in implementing ecological restoration programmes on three pilot sites in the Chadian area of Lake Chad.
Sir Tim said that William ‘Bill’ McDonough is one of the most influential architects and authors of this or any other age: “The book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things shaped the opinions of a generation of architects, designers, businesses and policymakers with its challenge to look at the biological and technical cycles of materials. Here the notions of closed-loop systems and the circular economy came to public attention.
“In 2019, Bill was named by Fortune Magazine as one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders. Time Magazine named him a ‘hero of the planet’. We are delighted to have him as our guide to materials and approaches to the ecology of construction and are discussing making the Eden Life Systems Academy a global leadership centre for advancing Cradle to Cradle Design thinking and action.”
Sir Tim said that Sir Ken Robinson, non-executive board director of Eden Project International Limited, is probably the most famous educationalist in the world.
“His inspiring books and Ted Lectures promoting creativity in education are at once funny and deeply humane and focus on education as a means for young people to find their element,” he said.
“His passion is to make education a journey of curiosity that leads not only to fulfilment but also to the start of a lifelong interest in the getting of knowledge. Ken will be championing Eden’s approaches to education to enable us to be of service to the world of teaching and inspiring curiosity, both at Eden Projects and more generally. The Eden Life Systems Academy will provide the centre for this.”
The appointment of the first Eden Ambassadors comes at the start of an exciting new decade for the Eden Project, which on March 17, 2021, will reach its 20th anniversary of opening. In that time, it has welcomed more than 22 million visitors, won multiple awards and generated more than £2 billion for the regional economy.