A galaxy of superstars and celebrities made up of actors, entrepreneurs, peace-makers, environmentalists and a president dubbed as the rock-star of climate change, converged at a exotic resort in the Maldives at the weekend in the hope of charting a new course for sustainable tourism across the world.
In an initiative driven by Sonu Shivdasani, the Chief Executive and Founder of Six Senses, which hosted the event at the group’s Soneva Fushi resort on October 7-9, the third annual Six Senses SLOW LIFE Symposium drew personalities like Britain’s Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson and actor/environmentalists - Daryl Hannah and Edward Norton.
Others included Eric Scotto, Chairman and Co-Founder, Akuo Energy Group - developer, investor and operator of renewable energy plants across the world; Fabien Cousteau, an ocean explorer and documentary film-maker; Hiu Ng - a social entrepreneur; Jakob von Uexkull - Founder, World Future Council Foundation and a writer, lecturer, philanthropist and activist; Jean Ballandras, Secretary General, Reunion Island; Jeremy Leggett - Founder and Chairman of Solarcentury, one of the UK's fastest growing private energy company; Jon Bowermaster - writer, filmmaker and adventurer; Jonathon Porritt -Founder Director, Forum for the Future; Jose Mariano Lopez-Urdiales - Founder and CEO, zero2infinity, the company developing bloon, the first zero emissions near-space vehicle; Mark Lynas - Author and Climate Change Advisor to the President of the Maldives; and Tim Smit - Chief Executive and Co-Founder, The Eden Project Tim Smit, one of the UK’s most successful tourist attractions in which a disused clay mine was transfored into a rich, global garden where people can learn about nature and be inspired about the world around them.
Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed who has played a vital role in driving the climate change debate across the world using his country’s example of a nation that would sink if no swift action is taken for all low-lying island states, also spoke and was an active participant.
Perhaps the biggest warning against environmental degradation, climate change, reducing carbon in the atmosphere and tackling sea level rise, came from Sir Richard Branson, founder and Chairman of the Virgin Group, who told a distinguished but relaxed audience – listening to words of wisdom amidst the soothing sounds of the waves – that the world was facing “the mother of all recessions” unless much more is done to encourage the development of renewable energy.