Through the Sense and Sustainability column, Jess McDonald sheds some light on the complexities of climate change and what it means for the world around us. From lessons on sustainable living to informative insights on emissions and renewable energy, she’ll keep us all up to date on this increasingly hot topic.
Knowing where to start when you want to educate yourself about the current environmental situation can feel like an immeasurable task. Sure, a quick Ecosia search or YouTube scroll might get you some results, but how do you know who to trust? In a world steeped in advertising opportunity and product placement, is what you’re being told online about an environmental issue entirely true, or just a route into a marketing ploy?
This autumn, all this is set to change. WaterBear, a new (and free to use!) interactive video and digital platform, is hoping to launch its streaming service, dedicated to showcasing the most important and inspiring stories about our planet. The platform, already supported by 70 NGO partners, will provide access to original and curated content shaped around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Their aim is to facilitate awareness and action on the climate crisis through their content on a global scale, and therefore keep the momentum behind the drive for a greener planet.
CEO Ellen Windemuth, formerly CEO of social development project ‘Off the Fence’, leads the recently announced team of top industry talent ahead of the autumn launch. Her success with the aforementioned Brighton and Hove-based project—having acquired, produced and co-produced over 6,000 hours of content—indicates this new WaterBear venture will also flourish.
Also from ‘Off the Fence’ is Managing Director Victor Eckard, who will be responsible for the overall management and strategic direction of WaterBear, and Pierre Le Gaudu, announced as WaterBear’s Head of Technical Operations. They will work alongside conservationist and former General Manager of The European Nature Trust Sam Sutaria. Sutaria has a long history of working in the non-profit and media sectors, and will head WaterBear’s strategy and business development, including its collaboration with the Resilient Foundation. Head of Finance Louis Botha will bring his expertise in media and financial services to the team from South Africa, where he was the Chief Financial Officer for Marche Media.
Andrea Walji, former lead of production company Triangle Monday which is renowned for its impact films, will be WaterBear’s Head of Content & Production. Driving the impact aspect of the platform through partnerships with nonprofits and campaigns is Head of Impact Lisa Rose, bringing her extensive NGO network and expertise in campaign strategy. Head of Marketing & Publicity Poppy Mason-Watts brings her ten years experience as a global industry communications specialist to the team, with former senior roles at Insight TV, FOX Networks Group and National Geographic. With twenty years experience in broadcast with some high profile names like Bloomberg News, Justin Steel will join the team as Head of Planning & Distribution to create and maintain a strong programming schedule for WaterBear. Finally, Bracken Hollings will be responsible for creating inspiring short films with WaterBear’s NGO partners as the project’s Head of Partnership content.
This highly skilled and experienced team excites even more enthusiasm for WaterBear and its prospects going forward this year. Dedicated services like this are exactly what is needed to extend knowledge and educate more people about what is happening to our planet and what we can do to help. The fact that this proposed service will be free also helps to bridge the accessibility gap on sustainability-focussed content. In the age of endless streaming and unlimited content, high quality, professionally made videos are an excellent way of engaging the global audience in issues that matter to them.
Windemuth has expressed her optimism for the project moving forward, saying:
“I am excited to have such a talented team ready to go the distance together – each brings a wealth of experience, innovation and a passion for WaterBear’s mission of impact storytelling. As we prepare for launch, we are creating an inspirational showcase of purpose-focused content paired with unique technology for our global audience to interact with the causes they care about.”
There is certainly a lot to be excited about with this first-of-its-kind platform, and it will be interesting to see how it develops and expands in the coming months. Watch this space!
To sign up for updates about the WaterBear Network’s progress, visit their website here.
Jess McDonald is a second year student at QMUL, studying history. Aside from her reflections on the climate crisis, she also has a hidden love for Hollywood’s Golden Age of cinema.