Addressing The Climate Crisis at COP27 in Egypt with our Regenerative Retreat Host Committee

Written byLaura Field

Presented by:

5 Media

We’re excited to be hosting our first Regenerative Retreat at Basata Eco-Lodge in South Sinai, Egypt after The 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) takes place in Sharm El Sheikh this November. Our Retreat will bring together the next generation of climate leaders to regenerate mind, body and spirit while forging profound connections and opportunities for collaboration.

We caught up with our Retreat Hosts to hear their thoughts on the climate crisis, the travel industry, and how we can all be part of the change.

Our Retreat Hosts include Brittany DeGirolamo, climate storyteller and Founder of Phocus Creative Group; Emilie McGlone, Director of Peace Boat US, an NGO conducting Peace Voyages around the world; and Daniel Cervenka, Founder of The Convergence, an organization to unite experts, leaders and creatives to amplify a positive impact globally.

How have you seen a shift in how we communicate the climate crisis in recent years?

Brittany: I think in certain news outlets yes, there is a growing sense of urgency and call for accountability but at the same time the rise of misinformation on social media and other platforms is concerning especially for younger, future generations as it shapes their narrative and experience dealing with climate. 

Emilie: There has been an increase in awareness about climate change and ocean degradation over the years and now we feel the momentum within the ocean and climate communities coming together to educate others and create the necessary partnerships to tackle the challenges ahead. We see young people taking the lead and helping to encourage governments to take action and increase climate ambition, while also working alongside civil society leaders to create a movement of youth voices across the globe for a more sustainable future for all.

Daniel: Yes, certainly. There has been a shift towards a more positive tone. I think it is essential for us to address climate change as something we all have the agency to impact and reverse and for that, we need to inspire people rather than scare them away. This is a collective challenge, and everyone is part of the solution.

What do you think should be the top priorities for the travel industry to tackle climate change?

Brittany: Closely working with local and indigenous communities to protect and restore the area’s ecosystems and biodiversity. 

Daniel: One of the key opportunities and priorities for the travel industry should be to contribute to meaningful and accessible education about the issues we face, both locally and globally. When people travel, their mindsets shift. They tend to become more open, curious, and receptive and that is the key point during which they may be able to receive more. It all starts with awareness and that is the first step toward action. The travel industry has a unique position to provide information to raise awareness and shift general public perspectives on these topics at scale.

Emilie: Today, we are increasingly aware of our impact on both our immediate environment and on places and communities further afield. A voyage around the world will show you directly the amazing beauty of our blue planet and the need to protect it. With our programs and advocacy on Peace Boat, our cruises are sailing for a sustainable future.

We believe that travel in itself can be a tool for positive social and political change, helping to encourage collaboration amongst local partners and civil society organizations who are creating programs for sustainability and education for climate action. By reducing emissions, creating programs that raise awareness about important issues and supporting local communities, we can make a difference in the industry and share in the benefits of a regenerative society.

During our Global Voyages, you can help build global understanding and sustainability at a grassroots level by taking part in exchange and study programs in ports. We work with local groups in some countries to do activities like tree planting, beach clean-ups and other awareness-raising actions.

Our lifelong learning programs onboard touch on aspects of all the 17 SDGs [Sustainable Development Goals]. Expert guest educators and lecturers deliver workshops, and colorful cultural activities engage your imagination and heart. Our programs enable you to gain a better understanding of how local communities are affected by global problems, and how to contribute to solutions.

Peace Boat US

Would you say there’s a lot of greenwashing in the travel industry? If so, how can we combat this?

Emilie: There is a strong trend for companies to say they are “sustainable” or “green” by focusing on ecotourism and supporting practices that support community development. It’s important to check the sources of each company and learn about the real impact they are having on the ground. We believe in human-centered programs and nature-based solutions for a regenerative future in the travel industry and hope that everyone working towards sustainable tourism will do the same. The time for action is now and we must work together to preserve our blue planet.

Daniel: It would be hard for me to speak about the industry at large but like all other industries, there is always room for improvement. One thing we need to improve is transparency and accountability. For example, it is nice to promote your recycling program, but do the locations/countries where you recycle support the process? Do they have the infrastructure? If they do not, perhaps contributing to set that up would be the most valuable and impactful first step. We need to go all the way with the things we promote and the actions we take.

Brittany: I wouldn’t say there is a lot versus other industries… cough cough fashion or consumer product goods} . I’d say there is a “normal” amount. I do think that travel brands are slowly working towards integrating sustainability not only in their supply chains, but also within their experiences on-property and through philanthropic partnerships and commitments around decarbonization. 

Video production by: Daniel Cervenka

What have you been working on lately? How have you been preparing for COP 27?

Brittany: I’ve been taking some time to educate myself on regenerative agriculture and viniculture practices and the importance of soil health. I’ve been preparing for COP27 with a lot of self care {pilates & meditation} as well as intentional planning for who I want to spend my time with while I am there.

Daniel: We have been in active preparation for COP27 for the past several months. Meaningful participation in the issues related to climate change is essential. It starts with awareness but that is predicated on accessibility. We have therefore decided to deploy our wider team to COP27 this year to support others in amplifying their messages, their actions, and their solutions through media and production support to make those more accessible to the public. 

Secondly, we are coming to COP27 to gather support and participation for our broader collaboration network. Our mission is to amplify our collective action and we are currently working on a solution, a space, where we will be able to effectively support each other, at scale. We will be announcing more about this initiative and solutions at COP27 so stay tuned for more!

Emilie: Peace Boat and Ecoship will partner with other civil society organizations to call for increased ambition on climate action, participating in events in the UNFCCC administered Blue and Green Zone.

With 39 years’ experience organizing educational voyages onboard passenger ships, at COP27 Peace Boat  will  highlight the role the maritime sector must play in addressing the climate emergency. Peace Boat will demonstrate its Ecoship as a transition model for decarbonizing maritime transport through energy efficiency and renewable energies. A total of 6,000 m2 of solar panels will cover 100% of the ship’s lighting needs and Ecoship will be fitted with 10 retractable sails with flexible solar panels demonstrating possibilities for the global energy transition. Ecoship will sail for the UN Sustainable Development Goals and be the future platform for Peace Boat voyages with onboard educational programs, green exhibitions and advocacy for climate action.

Peace Boat has been working to promote climate action and build momentum toward COP27 through education and capacity building including the new Ocean and Climate Youth Ambassadors Programme for youth on the front lines of the climate emergency, which will be announced at the COP27, including a climate action program and “Youth for the SDGs” Scholarship focused on SDG 13 by Peace Boat US to be conducted onboard Peace Boat’s ship in 2023. 

Nathalia Lawen, a youth climate leader from the Seychelles, will join Peace Boat at COP27. In 2019, Nathalia was one of Peace Boat’s Ocean and Climate Youth Ambassadors, a programme that brings youth leaders from Small Island Developing States (SIDS) on the front line of climate change and marine degradation to travel onboard Peace Boat’s ship, engaging in capacity building and bringing their message to citizens and government representatives through the voyage. Launched at the Ocean Conference at the United Nations in 2017, and recognized officially by the COP23 Presidency, the program continues to give youth a voice to share their testimonies on the global stage. Nathalia also participated in COP26 in Glasgow and continues to share her voice in calling for stronger climate ambition by all governments and civil society leaders.

What are you most looking forward to at COP27?

Brittany: To being with and meeting incredible other youth and entrepreneurs who are working in climate, to learning and expanding my knowledge on the problems we are facing and how I can empower and support the solutions of tomorrow. 

Emilie: I believe that partnerships are key to achieving success for the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. COP27 will be a key moment during the year to build momentum for climate ambition and bring together all of the stakeholders from United Nations delegates, Government leaders, civil society, youth, indigenous communities and the private sector to help achieve a positive outcome for this year’s UN Climate Change Conference in Egypt. 

Daniel: I am personally looking forward to the opportunity of connecting with the community and exploring new ways in which we can amplify and accelerate our collective efforts towards more meaningful and impactful action in tackling climate change at large. This is a global challenge and we need to synchronize our efforts, share information and resources, and increase the overall capacity to deploy solutions faster. At Convergence, that is one of our key focus areas and activities that we are aiming for during COP27 and beyond with our upcoming initiatives and platform.

To join a future Regenerative Travel event or retreat, become a RegenerativeTravel+ member to access our community experiences in-person and online.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Email Address

*By signing up for this newsletter I consent to receive the weekly newsletter from Regenerative Travel including travel guides and inspiration.

Discover our Regenerative Travel™ hotels

Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica
Central America
Gujarat, India
Design Forward
Eagle Beach, Aruba
Denali National Park, USA
North America
Imlil, Morocco
New York, USA
North America
Design Forward
South Sinai, Egypt
Tarangire National Park, Tanzania
Luxury Amenities
Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Kabupaten Sumba Barat, Indonesia
Santorini, Greece
Luxury Amenities
Cederberg Mountains, South Africa
Design Forward
Central-Western Serengeti, Tanzania