Lewis Pugh Pushed, The World Is Responding

Lewis Pugh Pushed, The World Is Responding

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Lewis Pugh was appointed as the United Nations Patrons of the Oceans due to his consistent messaging about how mankind can help preserve the marine environment.

Since he became the first and remains the only person to swim across the North Pole in 2007 (swimming 1 kilometer in -1.6°C water in 18 minutes 50 seconds), every swim he has done to date has been to highlight the crises Planet Earth has with its oceans. As he recalls, “The swim across the North Pole is a swim one that I shouldn’t have been able to do at all. It was a stark demonstration of what global warming was doing to our planet. And I knew it was only going to get worse.”

Since that day, his message and his swims always highlight the marine environment issues that range from plastic pollution to overfishing and climate change. He does through dramatically difficult swims in cold water in extreme condition while negotiating with government leaders and waxing diplomatically and eloquently:

  • No message, no swim.
  • When you have a purpose, everything becomes possible.
  • We have failed our children if we hand them an unsustainable planet.
  • The moments that challenge us the most, define us.
  • To find lasting peace between people, we must first make peace with nature.
  • The power to make a difference comes in believing in something greater than yourself.
  • A negotiation should never become a battle, it’s an exploration.
  • Nothing ever happens if you don’t visualize it first.
  • The boldest measures are always the safest.
  • We’re in a race against time to save our oceans.

Pugh’s efforts recently resulted in the British government initiative called the Global Ocean Alliance 30by30. The UK-led plan is to protect at least 30% of the global ocean as Marine Protected Areas by 2030.

What Pugh started in the UK is now sweeping the globe. His work helped influence the Japanese government to aim for carbon neutrality by 2050, a goal that is the core of Japan’s Green Growth strategy. The new Japanese industrial policy is a comprehensive plan to create a positive cycle of economic growth and environmental protection, together with the business community, with ambitious goals and full support the private sector’s efforts toward carbon neutrality.

The Japanese government plan includes a massive Green Innovation Fund of 2 trillion yen, tax incentives, and regulatory reform in areas from hydrogen and offshore wind power to batteries.

Michael Miller, a lifelong marathon swimmer who swam across the Molokai Channel and achieved the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming, is a Senior Vice President – Wealth Management at UBS Financial Services. He gives another global perspective, “The Environmental, Social and Governance movement is a tectonic shift of capital unlike ever before.  Regardless of skepticism or denial, the shift of global capital, focus and energy a win-win for all.”

His UBS colleagues in the world of global finance understand markets and sustainable investing are undergoing a profound transformation. They report, “Investors factor in climate change and other sustainable themes with regard to investment risk and return. They have broadly added to sustainable investing strategies, with fastest growth around funds focusing on energy transition.”

The environment portion of the Environmental, Social and Governance movement includes issues that Pugh and other marine environmentalists know will help protect the oceans:

  • Biodiversity/land use
  • Carbon emissions
  • Climate change risks
  • Energy usage
  • Raw material sourcing
  • Regulatory/legal risks
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Waste and recycling
  • Water management
  • Weather events

For more information about Lewis Pugh’s initiatives and swims, visit lewispugh.com.

What started with his North Pole swim, and continued with The Long Swim, a 560 km stage swim across the British coast of the English Channel that he finished after 49 days, has resulted in plenty of global awareness, a massive shift in capital and investment strategies, and different government actions from Europe to Asia that will, hopefully, have an increasing cumulative and positive impact on the Earth and its oceans,” said Steven Munatones.

Lewis Pugh’s Ice Sheet Swim in January 2020 in East Antarctica

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Steven Munatones