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David de Rothschild standing on a green hill with trees behind him. He’s barefoot and is wearing a gray jumper and dark blue jeans.
Sustainable mobility

David de Rothschild × Hyundai – Giving nature a voice

5 minute read

David de Rothschild is an adventurer, environmentalist, eternal optimist, and the founder of Voice for Nature. He is a collective talent who leverages exploration, adventure, and storytelling to upgrade and reframe the global conversation around nature. As our IONIQ Ambassador, he is helping us to rethink the relationship that our cars have with nature. Join us for our second interview, as we find out how we can all give nature a voice.

How did you become an ecologist and adventurer?

My journey towards becoming an ecologist and environmentalist was relatively simple. I just really love nature. Walking in the woods is my happy place. When you start to spend time in nature, and you realize how instrumental it is to our wellbeing and our survival. And once you hear the stories that are produced in the natural world, it becomes harder to ignore the signs that we’re in a system that is being exploited and abused. It’s a privilege to be able to do that, to be able to stand up and take time to work on causes. My journey has always been one of learning and evolving.

When it comes to nature, we collectively need to start recognizing that this is everything. Nature is everything. DAVID DE ROTHSCHILD

How can we all work together to give nature a voice?

As a species, we find it difficult to collaborate with each other, and that’s something we see a lot of in the media today. The first way to start working together is to expand your self-interest and to really try to focus on thinking about others.

A close-up of vibrant, glossy, green leaves with rain falling on them.

When it comes to nature, we collectively need to start recognizing that this is everything. Nature is everything. And without it we have nothing. If we lose the butterfly we lose the trees, the forest, the topsoil, and then we lose the whole species and all those things that are recurring around us. We too will suffer from the destruction and demise of nature. We need to elevate the importance and the depth of nature and show others why we need to work together and find a common voice.

How are you working to give nature a voice?

With my Voice for Nature platform, we’re working in two areas. In one area, we try to fund and empower young activists, organizations, and entrepreneurs around the world who are doing their part to elevate and celebrate nature.

The other side is trying to tell different stories. We work with different partners in conservation who are committed to reforesting, for example. We are working with the Rights for Nature campaign to ensure that the natural world has rights. And we’re working with brands to help them launch campaigns that can communicate more harmonious relationships with nature. There’s a lot of work that goes into building campaigns and projects, but they’re all driven by creating more harmony and understanding between humanity and the natural world.

For me, there are always several adventures on the horizon.DAVID DE ROTHSCHILD

I’m proud of everything we’ve done. I know that there’s a lot of people who will probably just recognize the work we’ve done through Plastiki– the boat we built from approximately 12,500 reclaimed plastic bottles and sailed across the Pacific Ocean. Plastiki is a project which I’m incredibly humbled and proud to have been involved with and to be a part of. I will always be grateful for that experience, and for the experience that it continues to give, and the lessons I continue to learn from it.

David de Rothschild sitting on his Plastiki boat in the middle of the ocean. He is wearing a pink t-shirt, black shorts and white sneakers and his hair is loose.

Where will your next adventure take you?

For me, there are always several adventures on the horizon. Everyone always wants to know “what’s next?” I think the next thing is to make sure that all our projects have a common language so that they can have a bigger impact. I am trying to get Plastiki back out onto the water to re-engage with an audience who may not have seen her sail, or heard about her 10 or 11 years ago. I want to engage a new community with the legacy of Plastiki, and that will lead to many new adventures.

Do you have a message for the next generation of activists?

I would say, connect your purpose with your passion and make sure that you have fun. Please, don’t accept the word “no” from anyone. Follow your convictions and follow your belief system – don’t waver from that. Find the community that allows you to be you. And find a community that allows you to be collaborative. Don’t be afraid to fail. Everybody has to try, trying is far more important than not trying.

We all have to work together, as hard as we can, to make things better. DAVID DE ROTHSCHILD

You’ve said that it’s important to ‘stay impatient’, why?

Two things make me impatient. The first is getting older. As we age, we realize that we’re just a fleeting nanosecond on this planet. So that drives me to do as much as possible to leave a better environment – that is comparable or healthier (hopefully) – than the one we live in now. The second thing that makes me impatient is that time is running out – things are unraveling, and we cannot take this planet and its incredible brilliance for granted.

A view of a lush green forest with trees in different colors.

We all have to work together, as hard as we can, to make things better. Time is up. Nature keeps reminding us that we need to keep pushing forward and we need to act as there seems to be another man-made disaster every other day. The planet has been evolving for 4.5 billion years, but at the rate at which it is changing right now, the world is showing us that we need to act.

Feeling impatient? Check out Hyundai’s Instagram(@hyundai) to find out more about the IONIQ 5 and our commitments to the planet. Stay tuned for more articles with David de Rothschild.


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