Last week I asked a friend to translate 'Crazy about Water' into Burmese, and he came up with something special (see below). He added 'People' into the translation.
I believe the only way we can solve water mis-management challenges is to invest and inspire the future generation of leaders. Personally I have always been intrigued by the people element of working together. It's not easy to work-together especially if you would like to change something.
Friends suggested me to share the first, and unofficial, top 25 list of 'Crazy about Water' inspirators. This (evolving) list hopefully encourages more (young) people to be a bit 'crazy', and decide to raise the bar for water. This pragmatic list consists of 25 people who inspire and motivate me and energise me. They are all unique, and we can all be one too!
Please enjoy the read and be inspired by these 'crazy' water people (note: in no specific order). I believe we need more people that are passionate, motivated and crazy about water. I am looking forward to expand this list into top 40-100.
Mina Guli, CEO & Founder, Thirst - Young Global Leader. #RUN4WATER
Mina Guli is more aware than most how important water really is - after all she run more than 1,400km through deserts all across the globe in the past two months. The 45-year-old Australian is one leg away from completing an amazing challenge to jog through seven deserts on seven continents in just seven weeks. The project is designed to raise awareness of worldwide water shortages and Mina has already covered the equivalent of 34 marathons while running in Spain, Jordan, Antarctica, Australia, South Africa and Chile. Mina was told she would never run again after breaking her back in 1992, but defied the odds to recover fully and has also previously completed six ironman triathlons.
Jim Norton, River Guide, Expedition Leader and Film Producer - Leaping Tiger, Drowning River
The world's greatest communist super-economy needs all the power it can get. The devil's choice: Keep burning dirty coal, or tap into Yunnan's crashing rivers for clean, cheap electricity. With dams rising up all around, Patrick joins a team of Chinese and American rafters as they outrun the concrete on a wild descent of the Yangtze. Clean-shaven and with the rounded shoulders of a longtime river guide, Jim Norton, 34, molds and lectures, hurrying through Tibetan geology, Sichuan morphology, Burmese hydrology, and the human and biological diversity that has arisen over millennia in this crenellated, inaccessible region.
Sylvia Earle, Mission Blue.
Sylvia is a fearless 78-year-old woman. In the new documentary Mission Blue, she dives with sharks in the deep blue sea and fearlessly dodge fishing nets as she swims through the middle of a major fishing operation. With icon status as a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, Earle was a female biologist in “a time of bearded scientists,” one whose ongoing efforts to save the ocean have been recognized by presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Meanwhile, her sweeping romantic history offers human interest.
Alexandra Cousteau, Blue Legacy.
An iconic global water ambassador and explorer – who continues the storytelling legacy of her renowned grandfather Jacques-Yves Cousteau. Through strategic collaborations, Blue Legacy infuses environmental science, technology, and exploration into digital media and storytelling assets to build public awareness of the interconnectivity and importance of local watersheds and global water resources, and to inspire more sustainable water management actions by business leaders, elected officials, communities, and citizens.
Lee Kuan Yew. First Prime Minister of Singapore.
“Mr Lee Kuan Yew has left behind a great legacy. He was a visionary leader and the architect of the Singapore Water Story.”
Lee famously declared, at a 2008 water event in Singapore, that “every other policy has to bend at the knees for our water survival”. “I never believed it would be impossible forever; I thought sometime, some place, technology will be found that would make it nearly possible.” Lee Kuan Yew, former Prime Minister of Singapore, on the prospect of Singapore achieving water self-sufficiency.
Johanna Nordblad. Women's record - 50 M swimming under the ice wearing only swimming suit.
Arctic Free Diving Helped Save Her Leg. Now She Has a World Record [National Geographic]. We are sisters and we live on our island, Lauttasaari, in Helsinki. Element water is a passion for both of us. Elina is a professional photographer and Johanna has a long history in advertising. We are a good team to work together. In Elina's world "life is a beautiful journey and an adventure" and Johanna says "Let's go. Adventure time is right now". So - we go for adventures, see the world together and create our beautiful picture books. GREEN WATER PRODUCTION is a company specialized in underwater productions:
Lewis William Gordon Pugh, OIG is a British endurance swimmer and ocean advocate.
Ap Verheggen, Founder Sunglacier - Dessert twin in the dessert.
The Dutch Ministry of Defense invited the SunGlacier team to Mali, where they were able to test their idea – making water out of thin air – in the middle of the Sahara desert, the driest, hottest place on earth. It was a success! With the SunGlacier project, they demonstrate that it is possible to harvest water from air, using only solar energy – making SunGlacier probably the world’s first artificial water well to work entirely off the grid. The SunGlacier team has designed a solar-powered, water maker based on Peltier technology that operates without needing batteries or a current inverter. By employing a photovoltaic panel, the X-model generates power for an 18W Peltier element, which cools an aluminum block to below the ambient dew point.
Henk Ovink, first Special Envoy for International Water Affairs for the Kingdom of the Netherlands
As the Ambassador for Water Ovink is responsible for maintaining good relations with foreign governments, knowledge institutions, umbrella organizations, coordinating and representative bodies, the business community and civil society organizations around the world. Henk is also Sherpa to the High Level Panel on Water (HLPW).
Henk Ovink, a former Dutch water-management official, worked on the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, serving as Special Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. “It's not easy,” Ovink told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. “It's very hard. It is a change between your ears and eyes. It is a change of culture and therefore a change of the heart, which is always harder than an engineering change, or harder than an investment decision. You really have to change the way we go about water.”
Dorian Rijsselbergen, Olympic RS:X Sailor - Plastic Soup Foundation
Dorian reflects on the feeling of winning the gold and achieving his goal after years of hard work. Reaching an accomplishment can take a matter of days, months or even years but many know what it takes. Tying your shoe laces for the first time as a young child is an achievement, playing your first note on a guitar, getting those grades to get into college or delivering a knockout presentation to seal a deal. We’ve all been there. Many perceive picking up an Olympic gold medal as the ultimate achievement, but for Dorian van Rijsselberge of the Netherlands, we’ve all achieved something great. http://www.lifeofdorian.com/
The ‘Clean Rivers’ initiative is a collaboration between IVN, Plastic Soup Foundation and Stichting De Noordzee to stop the flow of plastic through rivers at the source. The goal of Clean Rivers is to gain more insight into the amounts, composition and source of the waste along rivers. The Netherlands has never seen such a large research into river waste with the help of ‘citizen science’: data collection for research purposes by volunteers.
Prigi Arisandi. Eco-Hero.
Initiated a local movement to stop industrial pollution from flowing into Surabaya’s river that provides drinking water to 3 million people. Indonesia’s rivers are becoming more and more polluted with industrial waste, but most Indonesians are unaware of this destruction to their environment. Prigi trains children and adults to become amateur “environmental detectives,” conducting their own scientific research and publicizing it in the media.
Gerhard van den Top. Chairman Regional Water Authority Amsterdam. #Rainproof
Gerard is (another) yearly participant of the Amsterdam City Swim and definitely my tri-sector water champion (inspiration). His experience in the field of integrated water management spans over 25 years, and includes extensive working experience in the private sector, civil society, the academe and government. In 2006, the Regional Water Authority and the water departments of the City of Amsterdam merged to form Waternet, the first integrated watercycle utility in the Netherlands. Before joining the Water Authority, he served as Managing Director of Vitens Evides International (VEI), an international partner utility in the field of urban services, and Executive Strategy Consultant for Shell Global Solutions, as well as executive roles at the WWF College for Conservation Leadership and World Wide Fund for Nature. He also held a University Lecturer position at Leiden University in the Netherlands.
U Khin Latt. Director and Senior Engineer - National Engineering & Planning Services (NEPS) in Myanmar
‘We were closed to the rest of the world for around 30 years, so we’re missing a whole generation of professional engineers in Myanmar, which means we have to learn much faster and then pass that knowledge on to the next generation. And that’s what I’m doing now at Yangon University: I’m teaching ‘learning by doing’, so taking students into the field and getting them to write reports on site.’ (interview Myanmar - The Netherlands magazine)
Collin West, Neal Mueller, Paul Ridley & Scott Mortensen, Artic Row
We were four explorers raising awareness about the Arctic Ocean by issues that effect us all: climate change, energy innovation & environmental protection. “The Arctic Ocean is the only ocean that has never been rowed across. August 28th, 2012, a team of four young explorers completed an unsupported, non-stop, record-setting voyage in one of the exploration world’s last great firsts. After 40 days and 1000 miles, Collin West, Neal Mueller, Paul Ridley & Scott Mortensen powered their way along a dangerous section of the fabled Northwest Passage. Their “survival story for the ages” was also an attempt to understand climate change in the Arctic region.” http://www.arcticrow.com/
Dennis Karpes, Founder - Just Digg-it. Peter Westerveld, Corridor Project. #Rainmakers
Ever since the year 2000 I committed myself to change the world for the better. One of the best decisions in my life. In those years I co-created sustainable jeans brand Kuyichi, founded Dance4Life and in 2010 I was in for a new challenge. That’s when I met Peter Westerveld and came to know about land degradation and it’s solution. From then on I have been committed to this green revolution!
Peter Westerveld (1951 - 2014). “The beginning comes as the end”. Peter’s life and work is anchored in his one deep vision of the world: water is the basis of life as it evolves in space and time. How man relates to these three elements determines the fate of the environment, the fate of earth and ultimately the fate of man itself. Whether we look at “The First Moment” in the 1980’s or at the “Corridor Project” created in the 2000's, these works are bound together by Peter’s deep fascination and concern for water as the precondition for life: “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, water to water. Water housing the eternal spirit of our ancestors and our future.*” https://twitter.com/Frodo1977/status/677177941483249664
Yvon Chouinard. Founder Patagonia.
Turned his eco-conscious, anti-corporate ideals into the credo of a successful clothing company. He has frequently disappeared for months, sometimes for half the year, to fish, climb, kayak, surf, ski—and preserve—the planet’s untamed precincts.
Ma Jun. Data Eco Warrior
Ma Jun developed an online database and digital map that show which factories are violating environmental regulations across China. To date, Ma Jun and his team at IPE have exposed over 90,000 air and water violations by local and multinational companies operating in China. Chinese citizens, for the first time in history, have at their fingertips information that reveals which companies are violating environmental regulations across China’s 31 provinces—and with it, the power to demand justice.
Willie Cheng. Former Singapore managing partner of Accenture, a global management consulting and technology services firm. He writes extensively on corporate governance and nonprofit issues.
Boyan Slat, Founder and CEO - The Ocean CleanUp.
Boyan Slat (1994) is a Dutch inventor and entrepreneur who creates technologies to solve societal problems. He is the founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup, which develops advanced systems to rid world’s oceans of plastic. Boyan Slat has been recognized as one of the 20 Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs Worldwide (Intel EYE50), and is the youngest-ever recipient of the UN’s highest environmental accolade; Champion of the Earth. In 2015, HM King Harald of Norway awarded Boyan the maritime industry's Young Entrepreneur Award. Foreign Policy included Boyan in their 2015 list of Global Thinkers, Forbes included him in their 30 under 30 edition in 2016, and Reader’s Digest chose him as the European of the Year in 2017. Boyan is a member of the Thiel Fellowship.
Maarten van der Weijden, Dutch Long Distance Swimmer #SwimToFightCancer
"It taught me to think step by step and be patient. When you are in so much pain lying in a hospital bed you aren't thinking about the next month, but the next hour. This is the same strategy I use in the pack when we are racing and waiting my chance. "Seven and a half years ago I was fighting leukaemia. Because of the stem cell transplant I received I had the luck to recover. So everyone who has donated money to cancer research in the past, I am extremely grateful to them. Maybe I wouldn't be here otherwise.
OLEGAS TRUCHANAS. PEDDER DREAMING AND A LOST TASMANIAN WILDERNESS.
In 1972, the pristine Lake Pedder in Tasmania's untamed south-west was flooded to build a dam. Wilderness photographer Olegas Truchanas, who had spent years campaigning passionately to save the magnificent freshwater lake, had lost his battle. But the campaign, the first of its kind in Australia, paved the way for later conservation successes, and turned Truchanas into a Tasmanian legend.
James Bowden, To the North.
“We’re fleeing north to just below the Arctic. We’re in need of adventure. It’s been a hot summer, but it’s the winter storms that captivate us and they’re flooding in now. Our team has come together organically, under a shared lust for adventure. If the attraction of the unpredictable nature of the north connects us all, then surfing is the glue that binds us.” – James Bowden
Ellen MacArthur. Sailor. Ellen MacArthur Foundation - Circular Economy
MacArthur first came to general prominence in 2001 when she came second in the Vendée Globe solo round-the-world sailing race in her Owen Clarke/Rob Humphreys designed Kingfisher (named after her sponsors, Kingfisher plc), and subsequently MacArthur was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to sport. At 24, she was the youngest competitor to complete the voyage. MacArthur is a successful solo long-distance yachtswoman. On 7 February 2005 she broke the world record for the fastest solo circumnavigation of the globe, a feat which gained her international renown.
The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust is a national organisation that takes young people aged between 8-24 sailing to help them regain confidence, on their way to recovery from cancer, leukaemia and other serious illness.
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation works through education, business innovation and thought leadership to accelerate the transition to a regenerative, circular economy.
Florentijn Hofman, Dutch artist. Rubber Duck.
He is known for playful urban installations such as the Rubber Duck, and the 2014 installation in London UK, the HippopoThames. Florentijn Hofman was born on 16 April 1977 in Delfzijl in the Netherlands.
Looking forward to expand the top 25 list of 'Crazy about Water' inspirators.
Please share your comments or suggestions: Frodo@CrazyAboutWater.com.