What's your favourite cake, and other important questions for our new CEO
At the beginning of July, we welcomed Steve Andrews as Earthwatch Europe CEO. He brings with him a wealth of knowledge and a passion for sustainability. Before things got too busy for him, we sat down and asked five important questions to get to know him.
It’s great to have you joining us as CEO of Earthwatch. What path did you take to get where you are today?
Thank you. It’s really exciting to be here.
My whole career has been in social entrepreneurship, leading non-profits and not-just-for-profits; always focused on environmental and development challenges, learning through plenty of successes and failures along the way.
I have only ever wanted to work on causes that really matter. Life’s too short – and work too big a part of it – to do anything else. I was profoundly influenced by my experiences growing up in southern Africa and a year volunteering in Sudan in 1984/85, the year when the famine that inspired LiveAid hit that region.
One of the highlights of my career was leading SolarAid, as CEO, to becoming the largest distributor of solar lights in Africa, selling over 1 million lights to very poor people living in rural areas. It was a thrill to be a part of that story.
I have a management degree from Loughborough University where I was also elected President of the Student’s Union.
Why were you inspired to join Earthwatch and what is your vision for the organisation?
Like so many people around the world, I am profoundly concerned about the impacts of climate change and the collapse in biodiversity on our planet. My family participated in the Extinction Rebellion protests in London back in June; and my 15-year-old daughter is an organiser for the school strikes on climate change in Buckinghamshire. To be given the opportunity to lead Earthwatch is a natural extension of my family’s concerns and passion for the environment.
Earthwatch particularly inspires me because of its unique marriage of science and public engagement; a powerful and vital combination in our many battles to protect the environment. Even more so because science is under attack, especially when it comes to climate change.
I can see huge potential for Earthwatch to grow and increase its impact.
In just 50 years we have lost half of our wildlife and we have as little as 12 years to limit the impacts of climate change. Although this can seem overwhelming, we believe that by working together we can tackle these issues. How do you intend to inspire people to act for the natural world?
That’s a truly depressing statistic. And with the global population set to grow by another 3 billion people by 2050, the challenge to arrest this biodiversity loss is daunting, for sure. But I take massive heart from how human interventions have halted or reversed the decline of certain species here in the UK, one of the world’s most densely populated islands.
I live in the Chiltern Hills. Everyday, I enjoy Red Kites soaring above my garden. This majestic bird, once extinct from England, has made an incredible comeback as a direct result of thoughtful conservation work. And we’re also seeing evidence that, through concerted action, we can halt the decline of species such as hedgehogs in urban areas. Isn’t that wonderful?
Earthwatch’s challenge is to convince the public that we can win many more such battles. I’m very confident we can do so.
What are your interests outside of work?
Cricket! Sit me down with a warm pint of bitter in front of a game of cricket and my life is complete. Other than that, I love hanging out with my family and I’m trying to write a couple of books. The latter isn’t going very well!
At Earthwatch we love cake so much that we wrote it into our operating principles. So, I have to ask: what is your favourite kind of cake?
Never understood the general obsession with chocolate cake. Nothing can compete with a freshly made Victoria Sponge!