How to Inspire the Next Generation of Ocean Superheroes by Treading Lighter

How to Inspire the Next Generation of Ocean Superheroes by Treading Lighter

How to inspire the next ocean superhero – ya know, the ones who have to pick up the pieces of our mistakes!

A conversation with ocean superhero Libby Bowles aka Tread Lighter Lib. 

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead

The quote by Margaret Mead is one of Libby’s favourites so it seems fitting to start with it.  If that isnt a reason to start your ocean superhero today then I dont know what is!

This episode is for you if:

  • You want to inspire the next generation of ocean super heroes.
  • You have children, are a teacher or just want to inspire them to become guardians of their own future planet.
  • You love Manta Rays or Whalesharks of diving or the Ocean
  • You like cycle touring
  • You are interested in bamboo bikes
  • You like hearing stories from ordinary people who have decided to do something positive to change the world

tread lighter 

Who is Tread Lighter Lib?

I met Libby on the very first #PaddleCleanup expedition that I took part in.  We instantly connected over our passion for the oceans creatures, diving and rubbish.  We spent the rest of our week  paddling together canoodling in the ‘dumpster’ canoe and planning world rubbish domination.

It was just before Libby took off on her bike made of grass to cycle the length of New Zealand.  Then accross Africa (on a different bike)! We could have done a whole other podcast about Sunny her amazing bamboo bike and her cycle touring trips! 

ocean superheroes

Treading Lighter

Libby is a primary school teacher by profession although she quit her teaching job after one of her students set her a challenge to walk her talk.  She is a walking example of how following your passions creates opportunitites that you otherwise might not have seen.

Since she quit her teaching job in October 2017 she has spoken to over 9,000 school children and 2,000 adults, cleaned more than a few beaches, got better at cycling up hills and met some of my own conservation heroes along the way!  Including oceanography legend Dr Sylvia Earle, South African freediver Hanli Prinsloo, Jack Johnson, Ingrid Visser the orca scientist (just a litttle bit envious of this one!), Marcus and Anna from the 5Gyres Institute, and environmental campaigner Natalie Fee, founder of City To Sea.

She is based in Bristol and available to talk at your school or event so do get in touch if you have a collective of next generation ambassadors waiting to happen!


ocean superhero

She mentions:

Global Vision International

Dr Andrea Marshall

Dr Simon Pierce

Bamboo Bicycle Club 

Jane Goodall

Roots and Shoots

Wonder by R J Palacio: 


Libby also talks about Eco-Anxiety which is a term that keeps coming up in the circles I spend my time in.  It is touch to stay positive in the face of so much environmental crisis sometimes, however as the Margaret Mead quote suggests change is possible and we are the people who can facilitate that change.  One of the best ways to overcmoe overwhelm or procrastination is to break down the issues and set smaller realistic goals for yourself, your business or project.  I can help you to overcome eco-anxiety and please get in touch via my coaching pages for a free chat to see how I can help you.  You never know, maybe you will become the next ocean superhero!

ocean superhero

Find Libby:

Tread Lighter Website



Libby doesnt mention her own mini super hero Pip the Wonder Pup but you can follow him here.

Podcast edited by the wonderful Chloe Aust

Please do comment and review as it helps to spread the word of positive change.

Thank you!

Podcast available on Stitcher, Spotify, Podbean and Apple Podcast.



bamboo bike 

ocean superhero

ocean superhero

Make Eco-Anxiety a thing of the past

By breaking down the issues that you are facing in your own life and in the greater world, I can help you navigate onto a better path.  We need to invest in ourselves to be able to step up and do what is needed to protect our natural world.  Clarity on your values and clear steps forward help to clear the overwhelm and the procrastination! Get in touch to see how I can help you.

E9: Atlanta Cook: How To Be An Effective Ocean Activist

E9: Atlanta Cook: How To Be An Effective Ocean Activist

How to be an effective ocean activist – a question on many people’s mind at the moment.  

Surfers Against Sewage

Atlanta Cook has been campaigning for the ocean for a very long time and has not only set up several grass roots projects herself, she was also there at the start of Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) and is the only Honorary Life Member of SAS.

ocean activist

Atlanta is a surfer, a boogie boarder and has some very beautiful things to say about the ocean.  We talk about how its majesty and power get under your skin and bring tears to your eyes when you befriend it as much as surfers do.


Atlanta first came under my radar when Incredible Oceans Event Manager, Grace Walker and I two handedly pulled off a huge outdoor event with mermaids, sea shanties and a giant inflatable Orca.  Atlanta is a regular at the same Brighton Annual March of the Mermaids, usually accompanied by her daughter.  I’m sure Atlanta is part mermaid for real!

Global Activist

Atlanta has worked on ocean issues at a global level with the Seas At Risk Federation and was able to give Surfers Against Sewage a voice on an international stage.  But it all started with raves at the Zap in Brighton and boogie boarding with world class boogie boarder Jago Eliot who has now sadly passed away.

ocean activist

Ocean Activist

Back in the early 90s while surfing in Cornwall, Atlanta became aware of the water quality issues and joined forces with SAS bringing their first outpost to Brighton in 1991.  Spurred on by the death of 8 year old Heather Preen they successfully campaigned to improve water quality and prevent as much raw effluent being discharged into our seas.  The Safer Seas programme is the legacy of that campaign.

Not happy with that, Atlanta took over a local community centre and campaigned to prevent a local nature reserve from becoming a commercial enterprise and has now secured a chunk of funding to turn that into a community classroom that will enable her team and others to run workshops for school groups, working alongside Living Coasts.

I learnt so much from this conversation, about so many different environmental issues that I only knew about from a surface level..  If you want to know more about how to campaign effectively using simple messaging then you will love listening to Atlanta’s story.  Her determination is totally awe inspiring.

Learn More:

Atlanta Cook Marine Environment Consultancy Website


Support the Beacon Hub Crowd Fund

Photo by Mi Elverson for Ruby Moon Swimwear

More from Atlanta on this Q&A Blog

From Atlanta:

Correction: I’m not the only Honorary Life Member of @surfersagainstsewage there are other former directors, campaign executives and strategists that are lucky enough to have had this wonderful title bestowed on them. I wear this hat with respect and honour for the Cornish surfing families that launched the Surfers Against Sewage Campaign For Clean Seas in 1990.

Correction: I was a bit nervous and mistakenly said that HIV can live for up to 100 days in the marine environment, it’s actually Hepatitis A that can do that.

Podcast edited by the wonderful Chloe Aust

Please do comment and review as it helps to spread the word of positive change.

Thank you!

oceans 8 ocean activist

Podcast available on Stitcher, Spotify, Podbean and Apple Podcast.


Follow socials to get the next episode as it is released.

Wasteland & the true cost of Convenience. E8: Louise McCurdy

Wasteland & the true cost of Convenience. E8: Louise McCurdy

‘Purveyors of Found and Vintage Plastic Goods’

The sign on the shopfront of the True Cost of Con-Venience store in the Forest of Dean. An awesome play of words and perceptions by Dirty Beach collaborators Louise McCurdy and Chloe Hanks.  Louise is a fellow Oceans 8 Brighton consultant and has been creating informative environmental art from waste plastic since 2006. Her recent work Wasteland and Planet Care are the result of a new collaboration with photographer Alex Bamford.

Dirty Beach

As one half of “Dirty Beach” with Chloe Hanks, they created immersive, fully fitted supermarket installations that mimicked the visual language of large modern retailers but stocked only plastic waste recovered from the environment. Dirty Beach built nine installations in the U.K., Netherlands and Belgium including the Trucost of Con-Venience ‘Purveyors of Found and Vintage Plastics’.

dirty beach


Lou is now working with photographer Alex Bamford and can often been found in the environment with piles of plastic and every day items like a shopping trolley, washing machines and hoovers.  Wasteland is the result of this project and more information can be found on their websites in the links below.

Lou writes “My art delves deep into the damaging mind boggling environmental consequences of the plastic pandemic. We have created a series of striking photographs of a rusty shopping trolley found buried on Brighton beach, filled with plastic waste. The trolley and I have been photographed on beaches, hills, rivers and forests. 

It’s a powerful engaging visual comment on waste plastic highlighting the harmful effects on the environment, society’s rampant consumerism and our addiction to plastic. Plastic lasts forever: it’s not inert, it leaches into our food, drinking water, the soil, it’s in the air we breathe and it is in us.”


I love the humour and fun that Lou brings into her work. I wish there were more people using humour in their environmental messaging as I believe it really does have an impact.

Planet Care

In this episode I talk to Louise about the shell of a washing machine that she has in her front room. Since recording it, Alex Bamford and her have launched their Planet Care collection.

planet care

“Following on from our Wasteland project, Alex Bamford and I were asked to create visuals for PlanetCare, who’s filters capture the thousands of microfibres that leach from your laundry every time you use your washing machine.”

Louise and Alex were also part of our Big Pride Beach Clean and were there with me at 5.30am and with their hoover!

louise Mccurdy

Alex helped to document to huge amount of wate collected by Oceans 8 Brighton and the volunteers.  Louise then made this blanket of all the balloons we found!

louise Mccurdy

Sorry about the sound quality on this episode, it was one of my earlier recordings before I worked out how to get the levels right!  Or perhaps we were recording it from the depths of Wasteland!  I know you will love hearing about Louise’s journey, the other super interesting and amusing items she has found and how she has used her fun sense of humour to get environmental messages out there.

You can find more about Louise here:



Alex Bamford Photography

Podcast edited by the wonderful Chloe Aust

Next episode in 2 weeks.  Please do comment and review (ideally in itunes) as it helps to spread the word of positive change.

Thank you!

Podcast available on Stitcher, Spotify, Podbean and Apple Podcast.


Follow socials to get the next episode as it is released.

E7: Setting Up The Country’s 1st Community Recycling Hub & Stories About Stuff

E7: Setting Up The Country’s 1st Community Recycling Hub & Stories About Stuff

Brighton Recycling Unpicked with Green Centre Founder Melanie Rees

It is VERY important that you follow instructions for your recycling as contamination causes HUGE problems….. “ Says Melanie. 

Brighton Recycling

Brighton Recycling is a hot topic.  I often hear ‘rants’ about the bins overflowing and complaints about what is or isn’t recycled in our city.  What is often overlooked is that in Brighton and Hove we have more options to recycle than anywhere else I know of.  We also have more zero waste shops per head in our city, so we arent doing too badly really!

Indeed accross the Green Centre, Magpie and City Clean over 60 different materials are recycled! I am also not aware of any other city that has a community recycling centre like the Green Centre.  Nor have I ever met anyone else who has dedicated 2 days a week for 13 years of their life to the community in quite a spectacular way as Melanie Rees has.

Who is Melanie Rees?

I recently caught up with Melanie in her home in Hove. An ex Head Teacher in special needs schools who I believe was also responsible for opening a chain of schools to support such needs.  An Asian Tsunami survivor and founder of the Brighton Green Centre, Oceans 8 Brighton and numerous other grass roots projects.  If that isn’t enough, Melanie also founded Day For Change, a national non-uniform day which is now run by UNICEF and is their most successful fundraiser to date.  In its first year, Melanie raised £57,000.00 for water pumps in Sudan with just the help of her student volunteers. All while also battling the incurable immune system illness, Lupus.

The Green Centre Brighton

The Green Centre is a grass roots environmental project focused on activities centered around One Planet Living which Melanie still runs along with a dedicated team of volunteers.  It will soon be on the move as the Green Centre Bus will launch this year (hopefully!).

Melanie is one of those humble yet uber inspiring people that just quietly gets on with changing the world one step at a time.  I feel totally honoured to be in the Oceans 8 group founded by her.   Melanie is an expert in facilitating groups of diverse people and gives up her time to help the planet asking for nothing in return. 

I am learning from her daily and hope to continue to do so.  We all have things to learn from all the people around us and by working together we can do so humbly.

You can find my interview blog with more tips from melanie here

Podcast edited by the wonderful Chloe Aust

Find more about Melanie’s projects here:

The Green Centre Brighton

Oceans 8 Brighton

Podcast available on Stitcher, Spotify, Podbean and Apple Podcast.


Zero Waste Maman aka Claire Sumners – Podcast Episode 6: On Zero Waste Parenting

Zero Waste Maman aka Claire Sumners – Podcast Episode 6: On Zero Waste Parenting

Podcast Episode 6: Claire Summners aka Zero Waste Maman shares her top tips on parenting with less waste


Claire has two small children and yet still manages to produce very little waste and especially plastic waste.  I am not a parent but I know that parenting is a tough enough job in itself so Claire puts me to shame really with my struggles to reduce my plastic footprint. 


Like most of the people I talk to though, she is not superwoman, non-judgemental and certainly not perfect.  I love her upfront ‘say it as it is’ attitude and her passion for creating a better world for her children to grow up in.


I love the fact that her son says “the ocean has got a tummy ache”!  It is very cute but also a shocking sign of the times.  Claire was inspired by some old ‘make do and mend’ style books her mum had.  Despite no longer being with her, Claire is determined to make her Maman proud by doing what she can in her sphere of influence.  Inspired by Bea Johnson and the Zero Waste movement, Claire wants her children to grow up to be kind, wise and honest.


Claire’s energy and enthusiasm is infectious and I know you will love this episode.  Please share to any parents who are wanting to reduce their impact of the environment.  Then follow Claire to find out more tips and tricks from her journey. 


You can find my tips for living with less waste here.

Podcast edited by the wonderful Chloe Aust

Kittie Kipper aka Caroline Bond – Podcast Episode 5: On how beach cleaning changed her life

Kittie Kipper aka Caroline Bond – Podcast Episode 5: On how beach cleaning changed her life

Podcast Episode 5: Caroline Bond aka Kittie Kipper talks about how beach cleaning has changed her life

Kittie Kipper aka Caroline Bond is a fibre artist beach comber and gardener.  Join me in a beautiful garden in Seaford where Caroline works and listen out for the birds signing in the background!

Caroline talks to me about how she got into beach cleaning and became one of the first to help spread the #2minutebeachclean campaign.  Her journey from gardening to becoming a fibre artist creating amazing creatures from a bunch of old rope.

We talk about how the ocean has helped her mental health which is a powerful story and I am an avid believer in this.  The ocean and indeed nature connection are vital parts of our DNA and connecting with it is an essential part of our survival and that of the natural world.

She tells me about getting on with her beach cleaning while her husband catches the surf.  How we need to connect with the waste that we produce and how beach cleaning has changed her diet and her whole life.

We talk about the people who inspire her including Sylvia Earle and Cal Major who are also a huge inspiration to me.

I brought Caroline a big bag of old rope back from my paddle in Scotland after recording this episode and I for one will be avidly watching to see what she creates with it.

Catch up on previous podcast episodes

I am having conversations with people who are pioneering positive change for the environment.  Every day heroes who have decided to take action.  People who are challenging the status quo and redifining whats possible.