We recently caught up with Lizzi Larbalestier and her husband Julian at their home in the charming town of Perranporth on the western coast of Cornwall, one of England’s most scenic areas. Lizzi is a highly successful business coach with a packed schedule of senior executives and Olympians who she dunks in the ocean to expand their possibilities and disrupt old patterns (a blue mind business model). It was an honor to have her carve a few days out of her intense schedule to share her blue mind world with us.
Lizzi lives in stunning Poldark country. For those not familiar with Poldark, he is the lead character in a PBS Masterpiece series that is set on the craggy cliffs overlooking this rugged Atlantic coastline.
Poldark is set in the late 1700’s while Lizzi is firmly in today’s world. But, she obviously shares something with Poldark, a love of the sea, and she uses the same beaches to test and expand the ocean awareness of her clients.
Being surrounded by this spectacular coastline and close to its beaches allows Lizzie plenty of opportunity to both enjoy the ocean and share that passion with her community.
A Playful Approach
As a professional executive coach, mBIT and NLP trainer, Lizzi Larbalestier is sought after for her playful yet proactive approach to leadership facilitation. Who wouldn’t want to choose Cornwall over a board room to get out of ruts, and find inspiring ways forward? As Lizzi is an ocean advocate and environmental activist, many of her corporate client organizations are involved in conservation, sustainability and renewable energy. Working with these organizations has become a natural extension of her work and lifestyle.
Lizzi’s profession was partly the theme of her interview during our 2016 Blue Ocean Summit. However, now that we had Lizzi in person we wanted to find out more about her ocean activities beyond executive coaching. Somehow Lizzi has created a blue mind lifestyle where she has become a leader on a number of conservation initiatives in Cornwall.
Organizing Community Beach Cleanups
Lizzi is a volunteer with SAS, that’s the Surfers Against Sewage, a marine conservation charity that operates out of near-by St. Agnes. Last June, in recognition of World Environment Day, Lizzi Larbalestier and her husband led a beach cleanup where they live, in a very beautiful but popular holiday beach town.
For the cleanup, Lizzi and her volunteer team rallied more than 150 townsfolks, beachgoers and SAS volunteers on Perranporth beach as Lizzi gave a briefing. Explaining that although they would collect all the rubbish. They should separate the “avoidable’ single-use plastic, like bottles, cups, bags and food packaging from the other waste. Separating the garbage allows the organization to better assess the amount of what SAS describes as the “scourge of the sea.”
Several hours later volunteers returned and added up what had been collected. One day’s take on this single beach was 350kg of rubbish, of which 50% was “avoidable” plastic junk. While the cleanup brought in a big take, it was disheartening to realize that there is so much waste washing ashore along this single stretch of coast. (photo – The Telegraph)
The beach clean-up at Perranporth was just one of a number of SAS events countrywide, that in total, engaged 35,000 volunteers and collected 63 tons of plastic and other waste.
“Every single piece of plastic removed is a victory for our oceans but they also signal an urgent need for society to reinvent its relationship with plastics,” said Hugo Tagholm, CEO of SAS. Adding that, “we can’t just pick our way out of the plastic pollution problem.”
SAS has created an immensely successful Plastic Free Communities campaign and the response has been phenomenal with towns even outside the UK signing up. Anyone (that means you) can help to spread the geographical impact of PFC and get more communities to join in. Find details of the SAS campaign here.
The Plastic Free Communities facebook page is creating a platform for sharing ideas…here. Everyone is welcome to join this group whether they live in Perranporth or not.
For all these activities SAS recently received the Royal seal of approval after Meghan Markle and Prince Harry named it as one of just seven charities to benefit from donations to mark their wedding in May. Read more in the Telegraph.
Beach Litter Becomes Community Art
Lizzie has been working with Chris Easton a local artist to create a marine mural out of plastic waste from the ocean.
Now tourists approaching Perranporth beach will pass the “wave of plastic.” A colorful mural composed of discarded fishing lines, nets, buoys and children’s plastic beach toys. It’s intended to raise awareness of the toll that plastic waste exacts from the ocean.
Every piece of the plastic was found by Chris Easton, a lifelong beachcomber, and then assembled with help from his friends.
As Lizzi said, “its been great fun, and its about creating something beautiful out of something not very beautiful and it will raise massive awareness.”
Plastic Free Perrranporth
All of these actions have made Perranporth a model for other communities across England and beyond. Perranporth has become the 5th Approved Plastic Free Community in the UK. An award given to locations with a clear and coherent strategy and actions in place to reduce single use plastics across homes, businesses, social groups and institutions.
Lizzi stresses that these accolades are “a celebration of action and inspiring change through positive reinforcement rather than traditional guilt led activism”. Join Lizzi on her facebook page.
Marine Mammal Medic
To fill her spare time Lizzi has become a qualified marine mammal medic.
“Last winter we saw a huge increase in seals being washed ashore during storms and some caught in fishing nets.” British Divers Marine Life Rescue or BDMLR is a charity that works to rescue and rehabilitate injured marine mammals.
“Spending so much time on the beach I often come across seals in need of rescue… As an avid freediver it’s a joy to spend time in the water with these creatures and I was keen to become equipped to play a more active role in promoting their health.” The link to BDMLR is here.
Life is a Beach and a January surf with Lizzi and Julian
Surfing, Swimming with Seals and Free Diving
Lizzi has also taken up free diving. Free diving is known to bring people into the zen state: With all that Lizzi is involved in, free diving allows her take a deep breath, create space and spend quiet time connected to the sea.
“I recently took up Free-diving in a more consistent and deliberate way. I thought it would be wise to gain some training to increase the amount of time I could spend exploring the underwater world.”
“For me one thing Free-diving offers is a sense of “connected solitude.” As an activity this submergence is almost meditative and certainly requires a degree of coherence to observe your surroundings with peace and awe.” Read more about Lizzi’s freediving experience.
Lizzi Larbalestier lives a Blue Mind Lifestyle
Even with her involvement in so many community activities, Lizzi still maintains her full-time professional career. Lizzi has just returned from Wallace J. Nichols Blue Mind Summit in Miami. Next up, Lizzi will be keynoting at a chartered management institute event about applied blue health in the coaching area, and is setting up to run blue health / littoral wisdom workshops at several music and surf festivals as she has done this year.
Lizzi Larbalestier personifies the teachings of the New York Times bestseller, Blue Mind. She is connected to nature, her community. She maintains her personal health and well-being by daily connection with water. She inspires her community to do the same, and she uses her skills as an executive coach to inspire leaders to tap into their own blue minds and make healthy decisions that have a positive impact for us all.
By Blue Ocean
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