The United Nations headquarters, situated in the heart of the hustle and bustle of New York, is one of the last places on Earth that you might expect to feel a connection to nature.
The building is a maze of conference rooms, floors and halls, and there are cafes nestled on almost every floor, conveniently placed, so that the world’s most influential politicians and leaders can get on with the politics of the day - without the need to ever step out into daylight.
For us, entering the dim-light halls of United Nations, passing by famous artworks like Marc Chagall’s stained glass window, and joining a world of suit and ties, has meant stepping out of our comfort zone - we are stepping out away from nature, away from our beachside community of Sydney, Australia, and the ocean we love.
Bluebottle Films also attended the 2016 International Union for Conservation World Conservation Congress. They gathered quotes from key attendees about their connection to nature:
Back home, as conservation filmmakers, we cheekily managed to get away without wearing formal business attire - even when it comes to official business meetings - but here we must fit in.
For us, this was a challenge to work out how to dress and to ‘fit in,’ (as I once swore to myself that I would never wear a business jacket again).
However, today, I find myself wearing a black blazer for the first time in years - and it is worth it.
We are here for the first ever United Nations conference on the oceans, a significant event in our eyes personally, because society has lost about half of all marine life in just 40 years.
Yesterday, we were present for Celebrity TV star and environmental activist, Adrian Grenier’s inaugural speech inside the halls of the United Nations as the new Environment Goodwill Ambassador.
Adrian began his speech saying that his work is dedicated to creating empathy for the world’s oceans.
(Instantly, we decided we really like this guy. He is no ordinary celebrity).
His speech was laced with the theme of ‘togetherness’, insinuating the idea of creating peace with ourselves, with other humans, and between nations, and with the way we personally connect to nature.
He talked about ’healing through togetherness’, and the idea of building connections - all the way from Pittsburg to Paris - no matter how near and far.
“Whatever debates or disputes we have, there are some things that are undeniable,” said Adrian.
“No dad wants to teach his daughter to swim at a beach that is filled with plastic and cigarette butts.
“No mum wants to see her son gasp for air while they kick around a ball at a park - that we can all agree on. And, together, we can do something about it.”
There was also talk in the room this day of making sure that no matter how busy we are, we need to make the effort to walk outside and find a connection to nature - even if we are here in the hustle and bustle of New York city, one of the most densely populated cities on Earth.
- Danielle Ryan, Co Founder BlueBottle Films