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

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.

#GB360
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.

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All Rights Reserved – © 2017 Jason Lewis

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

To the Brink ebook available

To the Brink is now available for Kindle, iPad, Nook and Kobo. If you can’t find a link for your country or device listed below, cut and paste the book’s ISBN into your browser: 9780984915552. Happy e-reading!

To the Brink now available as an ebook

BILLYFISH BOOKS STORE
Master List

USA
KindleiTunesNookKoboGoogle PlayGoogle Books

UK
KindleiTunesGoogle PlayGoogle Books

CANADA
Kindle, iTunes

AUSTRALIA
Kindle, iTunes

INDIA
Kindle

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All Rights Reserved – © 2016 Jason Lewis

To the Brink published & New Expedition Project announced

May 1, 2016. To the Brink, the last instalment of the Expedition 360 circumnavigation trilogy, is finally available. You can follow this link to place an order wherever you are (including signed copies) or search online referencing ISBN 0984915524. For those of you in the US, Amazon.com is the cheapest option with an impressive 40% discount (which is actually good for us). Ebook formats will be out in a week.

Now to the future! Today we announce an exciting new expedition project…

Micro Earths - 7 expeditions to 7 communities to explore 7 principles for a sustainable future

7 expeditions to 7 communities to explore 7 principles for a sustainable future.

More at microearths.com

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All Rights Reserved – © 2016 Jason Lewis

To the Brink – Countdown to Book Launch

I’m sure you all thought I’d either died or given up trying to finish The Expedition story.

A year ago it was finished – or so I thought. I remember taking one last look at the manuscript before sending it off and realizing it needed another pass. Twelve months on, I have a physical copy in my hand.

To The Brink book available soon

To the Brink will be officially launched the end of next week.

Continue reading

Expedition Base Camp Darwin Style

Expedition base camps are usually unremarkable places dedicated to the utility of adventure. Not so the Dinah Beach Cruising Yacht Association in Darwin, Australia with it’s overabundance of rare and exotic characters. For those waiting patiently for book 3 to be published, this excerpt is for you.

Expedition 360 expedition base camp. Darwin, Australia

“How long have you been in Australia, Andy?”

Trimmed white beard, jug handle ears, and a gammy leg, the old Glaswegian had his shirt off, sporting a barrel stomach covered in a thick fleece of chest hair.

“Thirrrty-six years,” he replied happily.

“You’ve kept your accent well.”

“Och aye. Too tight even tae give that away!”

Belly shaking with laughter, he turned to climb the ladder to his single hull sailing boat, one of forty or so dilapidated vessels propped up on stilts in the Dinah Beach car park. Having been recently laid off and given the heave-ho by his wife of twenty-six years, Andy had split from Freemantle and made the club his home. Like Alcoholic Rodney in the catamaran opposite, he had absolutely no intention of going anywhere. Rent was cheap. The bar was within teetering distance, and sold the cheapest and coldest beer in town. It was the ideal retirement set-up. When I’d asked how much longer he thought it would be before his boat was ready to launch, Andy had pressed his whiskery face to mine, and hissed “Yearrrs!” with hearty optimism. Continue reading

Lake Nasser Arrest – Part 5

Concluding excerpt from To the Brink. Read part onetwothree, and four.

Of course, I wasn’t out of the woods yet. Entering Egypt illegally was still a serious enough offence to get me slung out of the country, but at least the paperwork miraculously catching up to me staved off the grim possibility of rotting away in an Egyptian cell. And with the arrival of the fax, Major Hassan was a changed man—perhaps because his own neck was also off the block. Gone was the icy demeanour. He began laughing and joking, asking me about my family, and telling me about his:

“Eef you come Cairo, ees my mobile number. You meet my wife and cheeldren!”

Felucca on River Nile. Continue reading

Lake Nasser Arrest – part 4

Part four of a five-part excerpt taken from To the Brink, the concluding volume of my circumnavigation trilogy, published August of this year. Read part one, two, and three.

It was time to come clean about my intent to cross the border illegally. I explained about the expedition, and my plan to kayak Lake Nasser at night. At the end of the confession, I motioned to the map case on the major’s desk, and said, “Can I show you something?”

UNESCO temple relocated to Abu Simbel

I pulled out a laminated letter and offered it to him. Glancing at the letterhead, Major Hassan grunted, “Ah, the UNESCO.” Written in 1994 by the then Director General, Frederico Mayor, the letter appealed for people, organizations, and governments to assist the expedition on its way around the world. This was my ace in the hole, the ultimate Get Out of Jail Free card. UNESCO had been instrumental in saving two temples built in thirteenth century BCE by Ramses II, relocating them stone by stone to Abu Simbel, before the Nile was flooded to form Lake Nasser.

“But dis name.” The major pointed to the first paragraph. “Pe-dal-for-the-Pla-net­­. Is not the name you say.”

This was true. I’d given name Expedition 360. “But I can explain,” I pleaded. “You see, we changed the name of the expedition in 1999—”

But the major wasn’t listening. He was back to yelling at his phones. Continue reading