We connected with Malaury and Julien of Blutopia earlier this year and were impressed and interested with what they were doing. Traveling through 7 countries in 7 months empowering citizens and organizations to reduce plastic pollution through existing solutions. We maintained a relationship through their travels and we were interested in collaborating with them. Although we never got to meet we discussed the issues of plastic pollution and what they encountered through their travels and we explained our experiences with fashion and textile waste in the fashion industry.
Tell us a little about yourselves.
We are Malaury and Julien, a couple from France with a common passion for the ocean. I am completing a Master in Management at ESCP Europe, specializing in Entrepreneurship. Julien is a scuba-diving instructor and eco-filmmaker. Together, we dream that one day, we will be able to swim, dive and surf in a plastic-free ocean. To get closer to this dream, we decided to launch Blutopia.
How did you guys get into sustainability?
Our journey towards sustainability became concrete in 2018, while we were living in Rome, Italy. I was doing an exchange program with an Italian university and didn’t have much work. Julien was freelancing here and there to earn a living. We were willing to better understand how our daily actions were impacting the planet and society as a whole. We had time to educate ourselves, and that’s what we did. We quickly got into food… and waste. After having watched a couple of documentary movies and read dozens of articles and reports, we decided that we had to change. Drastically. We adopted a plant-based diet and started reducing our waste consumption.
How did you two meet and decide to go on this journey?
I [Malaury] come from La Rochelle, on the Atlantic coast of France. The ocean has always been my playground, the place where I was finding peace, especially when I was going surfing.
As for Julien, he had apparently no link to the ocean. He comes from Dijon, on the East of France, where he spent 8 years in the water since he was a high-level swimmer in high-school.
We met each other in Bordeaux. At that time, we were both studying in a 2-year intensive program to get ready for competitive exams to enter the best business schools of the country. It didn’t last long for Julien but we got together and this is where our journey started. After a few months wondering what to do, Julien woke up one day and told me he had found his way: he was going to become a scuba-diving instructor. We dived together in France, Italy and Maldives. Quickly, we realized that the ocean was in danger, and one of the main threats was plastic pollution. We had to take action.
Why did you choose the name “Blutopia”?
Blutopia is the contraction of 2 words: blue, the color of the ocean, and utopia, an ideal that is almost impossible to achieve. The name Blutopia refers to the utopia of a plastic-free ocean. Far from being pessimistic, we have chosen this name with realism. Scientific researches have shown that plastics have reached the very bottom of the ocean. Once in the ocean, plastics never disappear but break up into dozens, hundreds or thousands of micro-particles, which are impossible to collect. Nonetheless, we are utterly convinced that all the solutions do exist to close the tap and save the ocean. Well, in reality, to save us, humans.
What is Blutopia’s mission?
Blutopia’s mission is to empower citizens and organizations so that they can act to reduce plastic pollution in the ocean, using existing solutions. To reach this mission, we are developing 3 complementary activities: an inspiring media, a production studio to promote solutions for a cleaner ocean and a consultancy to help organizations reduce their plastic footprint. Our very first project was the Blutopia Tour. 7 months in 7 countries - Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia & Australia - among the most affected by plastic pollution to meet people developing solutions for a cleaner ocean. Our objectives? Better understand what was behind plastic pollution, discover impactful solutions and create content to fuel our inspiring media.
While travelling to each country what were your favourite/least favourite things?
Our least favorite thing was being confronted with plastic pollution. We will always remember the day when we arrived on Koh Ta Kiev, a remote island in the South of Cambodia. We planned to spend 4 days offline, laying on hammocks with tropical juices, recharging our batteries for the end of the adventure. It turned out to be a nightmare. We spent 4 days collecting trash on a beach covered with plastic waste and wondering whether our actions with Blutopia would make a significant impact to help solve this huge issue. On the contrary, our favorite thing was being in the water, swimming, free-diving or diving, discovering the underwater world and being amazed by the beauty of nature. This always reminds us why we started Blutopia: to protect the only place where we feel utterly alive. Besides, meeting inspiring people who dedicate their lives to protecting the ocean was a true source of joy to us. It made us realize that we are not alone and that, altogether, we can make a difference.
What are some ways people can incorporate sustainability in their lives?
To make a sustainable change, it is necessary to understand the impact of our daily actions. Our main recommendation is always to educate oneself. Once you know, you can’t un-know, you start caring and changing to align your actions with your thoughts. Documentary movies were crucial in our journey towards sustainability. Here are a few you can watch: Tomorrow to get your dose of inspiration, Albatros and A Plastic Ocean to better understand plastic pollution or else Cowspiracy to discover the impacts of the food industry on the planet.
Now, that you’re back in France what are your plans for Blutopia?
After having discovered 60+ solutions that contribute to saving the ocean during the Blutopia Tour, we have decided to produce a positive documentary movie about our adventure to spread optimism and give citizens the willingness to act. This will be used as part of an action-oriented campaign led with citizens and organizations, whether they be businesses, schools or local governments. In parallel, we are developing a production studio to promote solutions for a cleaner ocean in France through impactful content creation.