Mathew had everything going for him. A successful business, good balance of work and hobbies of being in the ocean, loving friends and family. And yet, something was missing.
It took a near-death experience for him to ‘see the light’. His life has never been the same since.
We’ll get to that near-death experience in a moment (it’s worth waiting for; it partly involves Sir Richard Branson too). But first, let’s introduce you to Mathew.
DEDICATION TO THE OCEAN
Mathew had always been passionate about the ocean. Growing up in Australia, he always had the best environments and natural ecosystems in the world at his fingertips. The Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree Rainforest, Fraser Island and all the glorious beaches Australia has to offer.
Apart from his hobbies of diving, fishing and surfing, his professional life also revolved around the ocean. He worked on billion dollar infrastructure projects, which gave him a firsthand view of how people in the industry treated our oceans, as well as the industry practices that sometimes caused more harm than good.
As he witnessed the ecosystem he loved so much beginning to be littered with construction and damage he thought about the future of his children. Wanting them to experience the same amazing environment as he did growing up, he decided that it was time to do something.
He launched Australian Coastal Marine Ecology and Coastal Protection Core to dedicate his life to preserving our oceans, educating society, and inspiring a better future for the next generation.
Australian Coastal Marine Ecology is a specialist environmental consulting company that oversees everything from environmental management on construction projects, to scientific research projects. Coastal Protection core gives people from all walks of life the tools and the platform to make an impact on our oceans and aquatic systems.
THE NEAR DEATH ENLIGHTENMENT
Mathew had just spent a week on Sir Richard Branson’s home on Necker Island. He’d been invited there because of his award-winning work in his company Coastal Protection Core.
On the flight back from this once-in-a-lifetime trip, 33,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean, he stepped out of the bathroom and his head began to spin. He shouted out to his wife that he was going to pass out. In that moment, his life flashed before his eyes – Dinner and red wine with Sir Richard Branson. Meeting his life-long idol. Marrying his soulmate. His two sons…
As the visions faded, he saw a spiral of energy and light. A feeling of pure love swept over him. As he felt these intense emotions, he heard a message speak out to him loud and clear “Do it for them. Do it for our future generations.”
The next thing he knew, he was lying on the aisle seat as a doctor who happened to be on the same flight held him steady and brought him to the front of the plane to administer an IV drip. The plane made an emergency landing and Mathew was rushed to the hospital where they provided an emergency blood transfusion to save his life.
Mathew never forgot that overwhelming sense of love and safety that swept through his body during that near-death episode on the plane. From that moment, his purpose became crystal clear. Before the flight, his purpose had been to positively impact our oceans and aquatic ecosystems. Now it was (and is) to dedicate his life to create a sustainable world for future generations.
WATER – A BARRIER OR A CONNECTION?
“Our oceans are just a perceived barrier to our land boundaries. It is actually what connects us all together.”
Mathew strongly believes that every one of us depends on the ocean for survival, so by saving the oceans, we can create a sustainable world for our future generations. That is (unsurprisingly) why Mathew is passionate about SDG #14: Life Below Water.
“The ocean contains about 97% of the planet’s water, yet only 5% of our oceans have been explored and an estimated 91% of marine species have yet to be discovered. The ocean and life under water is a whole new world ready to explored. Who knows the medical advances we make by investigating the thousands of species on the Great Barrier Reef? What other gems can we find hidden in our most precious resource?”
But it’s not just about what we stand to gain from protecting our oceans. It’s also about respecting our natural environment.
On land, the damage we cause is visible and the direct impact to our life is clear. However, under the water, the negative impact on our marine life is almost invisible to daily human experiences.
What we don’t see still affects our livelihoods in tremendous ways. Many species rely on this ecotone of land and water. When we alter the system in one or the other, it sends ripples of effects down entire food chains which we veritably are a part of.
Mathew believes that we as a species have an incredible opportunity to take action now, to create a sustainable and clean future that our future generations can be proud of.
IMPACTING OCEAN, LAND AND BEYOND
Even after setting up a business that he knew positively impacted SDG #14: Life Below Water every day, he still found that something was missing.
A chance encounter with Paul Dunn, B1G1’s Co-Founder and Chairman, opened his mind to what that missing element might be.
“I’d heard about the importance of giving back. If you’re not giving 10% back when you’re earning 25k, then you definitely aren’t going to give back when you’re earning millions!”
B1G1 was Mathew’s solution to being able to start giving back and making a difference to more causes than just the ocean. Now, not only was Australian Coastal and Marine Ecology making an impact every day by working on key ocean projects, they were also impacting lives around the world through the profits they generated from their business. For example, Mathew is now also able to give drinking water to families in Cambodia.
Mathew’s ultimate legacy is to connect humanity towards a common goal of making a lasting impact to the environment, through creating global environmental platforms and inspiring our future general to start developing solutions to complex environmental challenges.
Many people want to make a difference, but simply do not know how. Mathew believes that by educating humanity, we can show people how they can make a positive impact.
Even if it’s just one person, every single impact matters.
Australian Coastal and Marine Ecology and Coastal Protection Core is B1G1 Legacy Maker for the week of 27 May 2019. By sponsoring the B1G1 giving space for a week, Australian Coastal and Marine Ecology and Coastal Protection Core has enabled thousands of giving impacts to be created around the world.