Wednesday 23rd May 2012, Bermuda.
I bumped into Matt at a wonderful wedding full of friendly Belgians dancing to a mix of Europop and banging techno. We bonded over rum swizzles and Dark 'n' Stormies as the rain lashed sideways into the marquee and Matt told me all about his life an eco warrior. I'd heard the term used many times before, but I was never totally sure what it meant. Matt is a co-founder of Groundswell
a small charity with big plans and a pretty big job on as Bermuda is currently experiencing an unprecedented decay of its marine environment. I didn't hesitate in asking Matt to take part in Wearelucky and although I didn't insist on the money going to Groundswell, I was secretly ecstatic at the prospect of supporting a cause devoted to a country I love.
Questions & Answers
1. What were your first thoughts and feelings when propositioned with Wearelucky?
I was already familiar with the website, but I was honored to be approached. I've never heard of anything like it so I am excited to take part in it and see where it develops. The fact that so many diverse people from around the world have been chosen and that there is potential for a huge number of people to see the stories on the website, makes me think the money will have a greater impact than if it had been given to one cause in a lump sum. It has exponential impact possibilities.
2. What have you decided to do with the money?
I grew up and live in Bermuda which is a beautiful but tiny island in the Atlantic. It's so small that no matter where you are on the island you are never more than a mile from the ocean. Bermuda is the most northerly coral reef system in the world due to a fragile set of circumstances that placed a submerged volcano near enough to the surface and near enough to the Gulf Stream to provide sea temperatures and depths with the ability to sustain coral growth. The island was literally borne from the sea as the rock upon which we stand is made from the ground-up skeletons of marine organisms. Essentially, the preservation of a healthy marine environment is vital to the long term viability of Bermuda, but the empathy I witness in regards to protecting out country is disturbing, so I thought I should do something about it. Groundswell was founded to generate awareness of marine environmental issues through events, advocacy and marketing. We tend to align ourselves with existing causes and help by organising fun events like 'Party for a Purpose'. We've recently developed an idea to record an amusing, but provocative radio campaign aimed at highlighting the simple things that we can all do to improve the environment. It was basically on our wish-list, but with the money from Wearelucky it will become a reality. I'm so very happy that we can do this, it will reach a lot of people and help bolster an already vibrant local environmental movement.
3. Is it better to make a small impact on a big problem or a big impact on a small problem?
It's probably better to ask yourself: Where can my skills make the most impact? Most importantly, just do something.
4. Do you feel that being involved is important to the giving process?
I think we should all contribute to the community we live in, however we can. If being involved enhances that act of giving then it's good. I have never had a lot of money to give so I try to make up for it by giving my time.
5. Why do you think we feel good about doing something for others?
One of the most significant books I read at university was 'The Selfish Gene' by Richard Dawkins. It uses biology to explain the concept of altruism. I think we feel good about helping others in the same way that sex feels good or we find sugar sweet. At some point in our evolution our ancestors felt the benefit of these acts and senses and passed them on to the next generation. I know this isn't very romantic, but if helping others wasn't beneficial to us as a species, there would be no reason for it to feel good.