About Jason Lewis

First human-powered circumnavigation of the globe. Low carbon lifestyle. Exploring sustainable living solutions.

Moksha Gets a Makeover

Some of you might remember Moksha’s high vis orange paint job for Expedition 360, and the names of hundreds of individual supporters printed either side of the hull.

That was then. Now for our #GB360 series of expeditions officially starting around Wales next week, we’ll be working with artists we meet along the way on a graphic series entitled “Fading from View.” The project aims to highlight lesser known animal and plant species indigenous to the UK that are literally fading from existence due to the overbearing pressure of just one species – our own.

We’ll be discussing why these organisms are important, both to overall biodiversity and our own ability to survive longterm as a species. Ultimately it is the little things that run the world, fragile lifeforms to which our own fate is inextricably linked. 

Over the last week we got to work with wildlife artist @Eilbhe Donovan from @sevenheadsstudio on the first round of threatened species celebrated on Moksha’s hull. 

The Grey Long-Eared Bat (Plecotus austriacus) is one of the UK’s rarest mammals. They are intelligent animals that hunt for moths and other insects by night over wildflower meadows along the south coast of England. They are long-lived and social, the females giving birth to their single babies in maternity roosts. But there could be as few as 1,000 of these bats left, and we know their numbers are still falling.

Why are they endangered?

Due to industrial farming practises, the grassland these bats need has been lost from most of our countryside in the last century, making it difficult for them to find safe routes between their roosts and the places where they can find food.

Why are they important?

Bats eat flies, moths and other insects and thereby control insect populations very effectively. Some bats also serve as pollinators and help distribute the seeds of important plants, so they can reproduce and create more fruit for us humans to eat and enjoy. Without pollinating and seed-dispersing bats, many ecosystems would gradually die.

Want to help?

The Back from the Brink project, led by the Bat Conservation Trust, is working with landowners to retain precious habitat. You can volunteer to help monitor the Grey Long-eared Bats in your local area to ensure they have the habitat they desperately need.






Back to the Future of Sustainable Food

How do we build a sustainable food future, especially in light of supply chain weaknesses exposed by Covid?

For the last 30 years, former dairy farmer Gerald Miles and his family have pioneered an alternative way of producing food, one centred around organic, community-based agriculture that is good for the farmer, good for the customer, and good for the planet.

Back to the future of sustainable food

“There’s no food miles, no packaging, it’s local, and you’re supporting your local growing farmer,” Gerald told us. “It ticks all the boxes.”

Ten years ago, Gerald formed Wales’ first CSA* at Caerhys Farm and now supplies organic veg to over 60 local families.

“Industrial farming has been driven because the price per unit of milk or vegetables being produced doesn’t justify the time spent and the cost of growing it. How we live now is not sustainable.”

Gerald showed us how he collects his own seed during harvesting, a response to GM crops, which he campaigns against. “It takes more time [to collect, sort, and plant], but these ancient grains are more resilient to disease, and they’re healthier for us humans.”

“We can help to stop climate change … We need to bring respect back to farmers, and bring respect back to food.”

Gerald exemplifies our belief that transition to a sustainable future starts with ordinary people taking local action and driving change from the bottom up.

One Person. One Action.

* Community Support Agriculture (CSA) is a partnership between farmers and consumers in which the responsibilities, risks and rewards of farming are shared.

All Rights Reserved © 2021

Seagrass Superheroes

Seagrass. Grass that grows in the sea. Doesn’t sound particularly impressive, does it? And yet this innocuous looking plant possesses superpowers that can help humanity fight climate breakdown and reach global sustainability before we pass the point of no return.

seagrass restoration

Marine biologists Evie Furness and Sam Rees inspect their seagrass plantings

On climate change alone, seagrass can absorb and store carbon 35x faster than a tropical rainforest. Moreover, it protects coastlines and homes from storm damage and the effects of rising sea levels. For the fishing industry and biodiversity in general, healthy seagrass meadows act as nurseries for myriad species of fish, crustaceans, and even marine mammals, helping support our vital food systems and secure local jobs, including tourism. Then there’s nutrient cycling, improved water quality, stabilisation of sediment. The list goes on…

All told, seagrass meadows along with mangroves and coral reefs are estimated to be worth $125 trillion per year in ecosystem services to humanity*. This figure represents the cost of manmade solutions performing equivalent tasks, such as sucking carbon from the atmosphere through direct capture or building coastal fortifications out of concrete. 

But there’s a problem. Due to a variety of pressures over the last century, including nutrient pollution from sewage discharges, agricultural run off, and boat traffic, we’ve lost around 92 percent of seagrass meadows worldwide. As we discovered in our films on illegal river pollution by water companies and rubbish dumped in coastal waters, these issues are all interconnected. A sustainable future requires a holistic plan of action tackling problems in concert, not in isolation.

Enter seagrass champion Evie Furness and her team of superhero marine biologists from Project Seagrass out of the University of Swansea, who are spearheading the UK’s first seagrass restoration site on the Pembrokeshire coast. Tammie and I pedalled Moksha down to their planting site in Dale Bay, where volunteers have already planted 750,000 seedlings out of a total of 1m. The plan is to use Dale as a showcase to elicit funding from both government and the private sector to scale up seagrass restoration nationally to help the country meet its carbon reduction targets for 2030 and 2050. 

Evie and her crew of seagrass champions exemplify our belief that transition to a sustainable future starts with ordinary people taking local action and driving change from the bottom up. Like Evie says, “[seagrass] is something that needs shouting about. This is something everybody should know about.” 

So let’s get the word out there. Please comment and share!

One Person. One Action.

* Living Planet Report 2018 by the Zoological Society of London and the WWF.

In partnership with: Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum, the Crown EstateVisit Wales, Port of Milford HavenSky Ocean Rescue, and the WWF.

All Rights Reserved © 2021

Our Diving is Rubbish

You’ve heard of ocean plastics, but the grim reality is our seas are being used to dump many other forms of non-biodegradable waste. Fishing equipment, electrical goods, vehicle tyres, shopping trolleys – you name it. Even entire cars wind up being ditched into the briny.

It’s part of the “out of sight, out of mind” mindset that typifies our unsustainable, disposable culture.

Refuse such as electronics causes toxic pollution, leaching dangerous chemicals into the water. Larger items trap fish and other marine organisms, leading to needless suffering and death.

Frustrated by government inaction, local plumber and part-time dive instructor David Kennard set up the UK’s first underwater clean-up group in 2005. Neptune’s Army of Rubbish Cleaners (NARC) has since carried out over 2,000 underwater clean-ups and inspired other dive groups in the UK and abroad to take action.

Once salvaged, the rubbish is sorted for recycling or even up-cycling into new products.

“As much as governments are the key to these problems, we can’t wait for them to sit down and make an agreement.” —David Kennard, NARC

David and his team of volunteers exemplify our belief that transition to a sustainable future starts with ordinary people taking local action and driving change from the bottom up.

One Person. One Action

All Rights Reserved © 2021

The Great English Sewage Scandal

Ever heard of “sewage fungus”? Probably not. But it’s something to be aware of next time you feel like taking a dip in an English river.

Chances are you’ll be swimming in a toxic soup of untreated sewage that includes human excrement, condoms, sanitary pads, and toilet paper, not to mention microplastics and antibiotic resistant bacteria.

This according to The Guardian newspaper, who recently revealed that England’s nine water companies dumped raw sewage into rivers and watercourses on 204,134 occasions in 2019, totalling 1.53m hours. The discharges caused widespread fish kills, habitat destruction, and endangered human health with deadly diseases such as leptospirosis. Continue reading

Wales Expedition Launch

Pedal boat Moksha
A new look for pedal boat Moksha following an extensive refit

Thirteen years ago, pedal boat Moksha and I arrived back at Greenwich after completing the first human-powered circumnavigation of the planet – without using fossil fuels. A week ago, following an extensive refit, Moksha and I set off on a new journey, this time with actress, animal rescuer, and first-time adventurer Tammie Stevens, who also happens to be my wife.

As a proof of concept for #GB360 (postponed until next year), the aim over the next seven weeks is to complete a 750 mile, zero carbon trip around Wales via river, canal, and ocean, documenting examples of sustainable living along the way. In partnership with Squire Studio and director producer Astrid Edwards, we’ll be exploring how coastal communities on the frontline of climate change are transitioning to the UK’s net zero carbon targets for 2050.

Explorer Jason  Lewis and Tammie Stevens

There is, however, one slight problem. Tammie can barely swim and is terrified of water.

Our route around Wales

Follow the journey via Instagram or #GB360:

@explorer_jason or @therealtammiestevens

Dark Waters adapted for Young Adults

It’s 10 pages lighter without the coarse language and bad behaviour, but the trade-off is we now have a version of the Expedition 360 story suitable for Young Adults, published June 1 by BillyFish Books. Supplemented with an educator discussion guide, the first volume in The Expedition trilogy is aimed at 13 through 18-year-olds (although there’s no reason why anyone of any age can’t enjoy it, including grandparents).

Young Adult version of Dark Waters by Jason Lewis

Inevitably, this meant the Plumb Line story from day 92 of the Atlantic crossing (think pus thirsty maggots and sensitive body parts) had to be axed, along with several other anecdotes likely to raise the eyebrows on a concerned parent or teacher. But there’s still enough raw adventure in there to (hopefully) hold the attention of the average fifteen-year-old.

Dark Waters (adapted for Young Adults) is available worldwide through local bookstores and online retail outlets. Here’s a list, or search under ISBN 9780984915576.

* * *

All Rights Reserved – © 2017 Jason Lewis

Micro Earths – Exploring Skills Opportunity

“We live in a disposable society. It’s easier to throw things out than to fix them. We even give it a name – we call it recycling.”―NEIL LABUTE

One of the biggest obstacles to global sustainability is the rapid extraction of raw materials to produce the stuff we consume (and ultimately throw away in a traditional linear economy).

Skills Opportunity - relearning the lost art of how to mend things

A few innovators are beginning to design goods with a circular lifecycle, meaning the items can either be disassembled at the end of their service life and returned to the Earth or the constituent materials be endlessly recycled and made into other products. However, we’re still decades away from such products being the norm. Continue reading

Micro Earths – Exploring Clean Mobility

“Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike.”―JOHN F KENNEDY

If current trends continue, private car ownership worldwide will triple to 2 billion vehicles by 2050, increasing road emissions by 80%.

Micro Earths - exploring clean mobility

As it is, transport is responsible for 22% of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions, pumping 8.07 billion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere in 2015—cars being the worst offenders. To prevent the Earth’s climate warming beyond 2°C, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has stated that global CO2 emissions must be cut by at least 50% by 2050.

With a business-as-usual mind-set, there’s little hope of this happening.
Continue reading