Rolex, a firm supporter of explorers and individuals to discover more about planet Earth and to find ways to preserve the natural world, has launched the Perpetual Planet campaign this year to further its commitment to maintaining the well-being of the earth.
One of the three key pillars of the campaign is the Rolex Awards for Enterprise, an awards to foster entrepreneurship, advance human knowledge and protect our cultural heritage and the environment. (The other two are marine conservationist Sylvia Earle's Mission Blue initiative and Rolex's deepened partnership with the National Geographic Society.)
“Now, more than ever we need people to show us how to tackle the problems that face mankind with enterprise and determination,” said Arnaud Boetsch, Rolex's director of communication and image. After a few rounds of presentations and selection by an independent jury, five laureates were unveiled in a ceremony in Washington in June, snagging Rolex's funding to advance their projects, a Rolex timepiece and worldwide publicity. The remaining five were not forgotten as they also received funding from the watchmaker to further their ideas—it's Rolex's small way of supporting each and every good initiative to preserve the world around us.
Here are the five associate laureates and their inspiring projects that will go a long way to making the earth a perpetual planet.
(Related: 2019 Rolex Awards: Meet The Five Laureates Helping Keep Planet Earth Perpetual)
1/5 Emma Camp
Through her research, British marine scientist Emma Camp noticed several spots where corals are still surviving despite extreme and hostile water conditions. That gave her the idea to identify areas of naturally resilient corals that can withstand stresses such as acidic and warming waters. She intends to transplant these “super survivors” to spots of the Great Barrier Reef that have been hit by coral bleaching. As part of her plan, she wants to engage citizen scientists to monitor the health of the corals, re-colonise devastated areas and train local stakeholders and ecotourism communities to make good the damage brought about by human actions.
Millions of people globally, many of them the poorest in the world, rely on the reef for future survival.
— Emma Camp
2/5 Pablo García Borboroglu
The Argentinian wants to press for a worldwide campaign to address the plight of penguins, which are among the most critically endangered seabirds. “Penguins are true indicators of the health of the oceans, because they're sensitive to all the changes in their habitats,” says the 32-year-old ornithologist, who is also president of the Global Penguin Society. Overfishing and climate change have greatly reduced food in proximity, which has led the birds further away from their colonies to look for fishes to feed the young. But the chicks would have starved to death upon their return. He plans to reverse the situation with a mixture of science, management and education, by fostering a conservation culture in local communities and among government agencies.
There are 18 species of penguins in the planet and over half of the species are considered threatened.
— Pablo García Borboroglu
3/5 Sara Saeed
In Pakistan, doctors are scarce and many families suffer from a lack of medical care. At the same time, many well-qualified female doctors are staying at home, unable to practise medicine due to cultural, family and childcare issues. But Pakistani entrepreneur and doctor Sara Saeed wants to solve these two issues with Sehat Kahani, a digital healthcare service that connects home-based female doctors with people in rural and impoverished communities. Her network of 23 e-health clinics across Pakistan serves 86,000 patients, employs 1,500 female doctors and more than 90 nurses and field health workers. The 32-year-old has plans to expand her network to 100 e-clinics, which will then deliver affordable healthcare to up to 10 million people by 2023.
Pakistan has a population of 200 million people and 50 per cent do not get access to health care.
— Sara Saeed
4/5 Yves Moussallam
The French volcanologist wants to mount an expedition to study 17 of the 76 most active surface and undersea volcanoes along a 5,000-kilometre arc of the Pacific Ring of Fire. Moussallam and his team will set sail in a vaka, a traditional Polynesian vessel to measure and analyse gases and aerosols emitted from the volcanoes. This way, he can understand the effect volcanic gases have on global climate and also supply the inhabitants on the islands he travels to with improved early-warning systems for volcanic eruptions.
Volcanoes have shaped our planet and its atmosphere over aeons. Collecting real-time data on volcanic activity in the most remote places on earth is key to a true understanding of their role in accelerating or masking climate change.
— Yves Moussallam
5/5 Topher White
Repurposed mobile phones equipped with solar chargers listen to and pick up all the sounds of the forest, creating a vast digital library of raw acoustic data that can aid conservation. The system that the American technologist has created uses these sounds to detect chainsaws, logging trucks and road building—forest managers and indigenous communities will intervene when the warning system is sounded. Having tested his technology in the jungles of Brazil, Costa Rica, Peru and Sumatra, the 37-year-old hopes to scale up its protection to 60,000 hectares of rainforest in the Tembé Indigenous Reserve, Pará, Brazil, and on the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica.
A really important element of what we do is work with local people, the ones who are protecting these areas, as they can have the biggest impact in fighting climate change.
— Topher White