Sometimes life takes you in a different direction to the one you had planned. Last year Natalie Craig was a marketer working for a branding company. Now she’s on a sailboat to Chile, with 40 other people she’s never met before. Oh, and she has no sailing experience.
The turning point for 27-year-old Natalie came earlier this year. ‘It was the Extinction Rebellion protests about climate change,’ she recalls. ‘There was such a sense of urgency. Looking into their faces they looked as scared as I was about the future of our planet.’
Natalie, the daughter of Tearfund employee Sue Craig, had been learning about environmental change as part of a Masters Degree in sustainability. She hoped this would open new doors in her marketing career. ‘I looked at the Earth like a balance sheet and thought “this isn’t going to add up.”’
Natalie talked things over with her mum and dad and decided it was time to act.
‘At Easter weekend I changed my dissertation. I started studying the youth climate movement. While I was doing that, I read all about about the Sail to the COP environmental venture. I applied and was accepted.’
Taking the scenic route
Sail to the COP is a six-to-eight week boat trip to the Conference of the Parties, an annual climate conference, held this year in Santiago, Chile. It’s not the simplest or quickest way to get to the talks, and that’s the point.