It is an absolute must to begin with Sir Richard Branson in our salute to the most dashing, daring and innovative gentlemen that we have the honor to know. He is the very definition of a Jet Setter; famous for his Virgin Group of over 400 companies including Virgin Records, Virgin America, Virgin Atlantic, and Virgin Galactic. What stands out most to Coco Eco is that throughout his career, Branson has sought to conduct business in an altruistically avant-garde manner.
In late June, Sir Richard joined dozens of celebrities such as Paul McCartney, Penelope Cruz, Robert Redford, Javier Bardem and Pedro Almodovar at Rio de Janeiro’s ‘Rio Earth Summit’, to launch a bid for a global sanctuary in the Arctic. By signing their names on an Arctic Scroll, they have symbolically ignited an effort by Greenpeace that demands oil drilling and industrial fishing to be banned from the North Pole and Arctic waters.
Currently, the huge expanse around the pole belongs to all of us because it’s defined in international law as the high seas, and underneath it is the deep seabed which is the common heritage of all mankind. But as temperatures rise and the ice melts the Arctic states are making territorial claims on the seabed so they can open the door to the oil giants. Without these disturbances, the region is already vulnerable to climate change with the polar ice cap shrinking by 9 percent each decade. Branson has signed on to help spread the word in deterring plans to begin drilling in the region this summer.
Branson has also issued a very public call for Rhino Cruelty Action. Through his work with the group WildAid, significant effort has been made in regions where rhino horn attracts overzealous poachers who can move them on the black market at high prices. As a result, more than 90% of our rhinos have been lost in the past 40 years. Through public awareness and education people can learn about the illegal procedure of rhino poaching and help dismantle black market demands.
“WildAid has created PSAs featuring leading Asian figures in sports, entertainment, and business to generate social pressure against rhino horn consumption. Particular attention is paid to developing government support for the campaign. Also, Peabody-Award winning director Deborah Scranton has worked on a feature-length documentary about the rhino poaching crisis, as seen through the eyes of China’s biggest star (and long-time WildAid Ambassador) Yao Ming,” says Branson.
He added, “The group has previously conducted similar public awareness campaigns in China, using star power from Chinese celebrities such as Yao Ming and Jackie Chan to educate the public about shark finning, tiger poaching, and other devastating effects of the unsustainable wildlife trade. ‘When the buying stops, the killing can too’ is their campaign slogan – and absolutely true.”
SAVE THE ARCTIC
Nikki Lin and Erica J. Eddings
With a Special Tribute by Anna Griffin
Courtesy of Virgin America