Sally Lands, Sustainability Champion
In March 2022, Colt’s Sustainability Champions travelled to the Antarctic with polar explorer Robert Swan and his environmental foundation ClimateForce 2041 to learn how we can build a sustainable future for our planet.
We caught up with Sally Lands to ask her about what she saw, what she learned and how the experience has changed her life.
What motivates your passion for the environment?
I grew up in a family where we practised sustainability, but it wasn’t called that back then. We recycled rainwater and had a large allotment in our garden, where we still grow our own food. I have seen the benefits first-hand of sustainable practices in the home, especially with attitudes towards food and clothing.
I am motivated by encouraging people – especially young people – to practice sustainability because it can produce ‘feel good’, habit-forming wins. People say that individuals cannot make much of a difference on their own, but I disagree. Even minor changes count, and every piece of plastic collected from a beach is one less piece in the sea that minimises the impact made by humans.
How did you feel participating in the ClimateForce 2041 trip?
When I finally stopped pinching myself and realised that I had been chosen to be a Sustainability Champion, I was delighted to have the opportunity. I thought it would be my first sighting of an iceberg that would be the highlight for me, but in all honesty, I found it was the fantastic people I met on the trip and the relationships that were created during those three weeks in such an awe-inspiring environment. The memories will last a lifetime.
What did you learn on the expedition that has stuck with you?
The presentations from David Hone, namely ‘Climate Change – Impacts and Adaptation’ and ‘Technologies for Change’. He is the Chief Climate Change Advisor at Shell and has kindly agreed to come into Colt and present to us. He has produced a tremendous amount on the subject, from climate change, carbon pricing and energy economics.
Now that you’re home, have any of your daily habits changed?
Along with Sunny Gurule – an activist I met on my trip – we created a group in my community called the Big Global Beach Clean-Up. The next beach cleans are taking place in June and September this year. Feel free to join us!
Now I’m back, everything from how I use my car to what I eat is under careful scrutiny. I now reflect on every aspect of my lifestyle and how making slight changes can benefit the environment. My life is now filled with micro-questions and subtle changes in my behaviour.
What role can telcos play in minimising climate change?
Connectivity is now an essential for daily life, and networks need to be powered by renewable energy. As individuals, we can reduce energy usage by downloading photos and videos we want to keep onto our own memory banks, or make sure we delete things like emails we no longer need. The less we store online, the less energy a connectivity provider has to use to store it.
What message do you most want people to take away from your expedition?
We have a wonderful world, and it is worth protecting. It is easy to get caught up in our own micro-world and not realise that there are unique places on our planet to be explored and protected. We can – and should – protect what’s beyond our back garden.
What is one small change people can make to be more sustainable?
We are all part of the problem, but if we all took a step back and asked ourselves, ‘how can I preserve this landscape?’, we can all make a difference. Taking part in a litter pick, beach clean, signing a petition, changing the way we use water, using the car less, or even investing in a bicycle will all make a difference.
Read more about Colt’s sustainability commitments.