My name is Jonathan and I founded Earth People after a life-changing event in 2018 while staying in Kho Phangan, Thailand. I guess we all have those “road to Damascus” moments once or twice in a lifetime and I knew that this was one of mine. The moment was simple and unexpected, as these things often are. I was in a small workshop with others looking at what truly inspires us in life and we were encouraged to think big! We told our idea to two people and then had to listen as they related it back to us as if it had already happened. I will remember that moment all my life.
Like many ideas, however, it didn’t really start their, some seeds have to wait a long time to germinate. Nature has always been important to me since childhood growing up in Africa and surrounded by her rich wildlife. Birds in particular have always held a special significance for me and I could fairly attribute the first steps towards Earth People to my own path of self-discovery through my relationship with them.
For 27 years I work as a senior executive for a multinational corporation, balancing the demands of professional life with raising a family and embracing the roles of father and husband. In this world, nature kept me sane; it gave me a means of coming back to the real me and it was while on an expedition watching birds in Ecuador in 2010 that I got the first whisper of this idea. On two separate occasions I met people doing amazing conservation work in this fabulous country you each told me that critical to their success was directly acquiring the land that they were trying to protect. Only then could they ensure the long-term viability of their conservation efforts.
In the eight years which followed, a voice was never far away. Whether spending time with the many wonderful people working to combat the consequences of human activity on the earth, or simply witnessing the benefits of combining my experience with yoga and mediation with time spent in nature, I realised the huge potential of creating a movement to connect people and nature on a massive scale. It is after all the collective impact of billions of individuals that is causing the environmental problems that we face today so my attitude is simple; turn it around. Mobilise millions each making small contributions which collectively can bring about massive change.
Sometimes it takes quite a while to develop the courage to take action and equally to allow the ideas to form into something which feels right. So it was with me. It took nearly 7 years for me to find the courage to leave a lucrative job and a little over a year for the idea to form. Still I resisted, preferring to pretend that this could be something small scale. So fast forward to Thailand and the Damascus moment which inspired me to finally take action and like many things when we finally take the first step, the second and third steps are somewhat easier, and the response so far has been amazing.
Finally, I’d like to thank you for engaging with Earth People and for considering accompanying us on this world-changing journey.