Guardians of the Earth: Moments that Made Protecting the Planet our Purpose

Friends of SUITCASE tell us about the moments that cemented their intent to protect and preserve the planet, through sustainable businesses, green enterprises and community initiatives.

not just natural habitats and delicate ecosystems that are
at risk in a warming climate; human communities and artistic
endeavours are negatively impacted, too. For Earth Day – the annual
action day for the support of environmental protection – we’re
championing some of the individuals around the world who are doing
their bit to nurture our precious planet, from a field guide
working in the Serengeti, to a travel company founder seeking to
preserve under-threat heritage crafts, and the brains behind one of
the UK’s most sustainable hotels.

Reasons to save Earth: moments in nature that cemented our
resolve to protect the planet

Joshua Wilfred, a field guide in the Serengeti

Joshua Wilfred

“I was raised in Tanzania, in an African family where respect
for nature was of the utmost importance. Our elders taught us how
to love and protect our environment, and I grew up knowing that we
must preserve this beautiful world in order that future generations
will be able to witness its beauty, too.

One of my best memories – and the reason that I decided on a
career in conservation – was the first time I visited Tanzania’s
Ngorongoro Conservation Area. It is the only conservation area in
the country that protects wildlife while also allowing human
habitation. I remember feeling so excited watching the Masai
tribespeople interact with wild animals – without any conflict.
They have been living this life for many generations and have an
innate understanding of the environment. I wanted to be a part of
this and share with the world the message that if we love and
protect nature, it will also protect us.”

Joshua Wilfred is a field guide in the Serengeti, northern

Aukje Van Gerven

Aukje Van Gerven

“I remember being in Ethiopia, cycling from Addis Ababa to the town of Gondar, and passing fields
in all different shades of green – not a single plastic bag or soda
can in sight. But, while the natural beauty was completely
unspoilt, the local population was struggling. This
once-in-a-lifetime experience opened my eyes to the importance of
reaching out to and supporting local communities, as my tourism
dollars were helping families build their own sustainable
communities. I believe that growing nature-based tourism in
rewilding areas will increase interest and local custodianship for
these beautiful wild spaces of Europe, ultimately leading to
sustainable communities living side by side with nature and
wildlife in rewilded areas.”

Aukje Van Gervan is the European
Safari Company’s
rewilding training and tourism manager. The
operator offers experiential nature-based travel across

Brooke Andrews, founder of Rotaro

Brooke Andrews

“I was fortunate enough to grow up just outside of the Canadian
Rockies, near Jasper National Park – a place very close to my
heart. My favourite memories involve spending time with my family
around Lac Beauvert, watching the northern lights. These lightbulb
moments triggered in me a deep appreciation for protected space and
a sense of there being an inherent responsibility to help our
natural landscapes to thrive. Rotaro was born from a very real
desire to empower fashion brands to consider their environmental
impact and consume more mindfully.”

Brooke Andrews is co-founder of Rotaro, a fashion
rental service redefining our relationship with clothes.

Emma Stratton, the found of the Scarlet Hotel in Cornwall, UK

Emma Stratton

“Living by the coast, you become aware of man’s impact on the
planet because you’re living in such a sensitive ecosystem. Our
natural resources are precious and, regardless of what you think
about climate change, we ought to minimise our use of these
resources for the sake of future generations.

The hotel industry consumes vast amounts of resources and is
incredibly wasteful. We wanted to show that there is a different
way. By treating environmental concern as a key principle (rather
than as an afterthought), we were able to weave new environmental
technologies deeply into Scarlet’s core design. Out of a deep awe
for our clifftop place, we try to live with a balanced relationship
with the natural coastal ecosystem here. It’s a simple way of
living that’s about slowing down, using less and appreciating

Emma Stratton is the owner of Cornwall’s pioneering Scarlet and

Geetika Agrawal

Geetika Agrawal

“As a design student, I spent my summers working with
craftspeople in India. These experiences taught me the value of
crafts, their direct connection with natural materials, the artists
and makers behind them and how they inspire humanity. I felt
enriched. But, I also saw the existential threat that cultures
faced due to lack of apprentices, ageing artists, shortages of raw
materials and climate change. Helping people to enrich themselves
through creative exploration while raising awareness for global
culture and helping artists pass on their knowledge became my

Recently, I read a shocking statistic in a study published by
the Heritage Crafts Association. There are 130 endangered crafts in
the UK alone. I imagine the global numbers are worse. It has
deepened our mission at VAWAA to create a tiny impact in preserving
the unique cultures and crafts that exist on the planet.”

Geetika Agrawal is the founder of VAWAA [Vacation With An
Artist], a travel operator offering short-term learning experiences
with master crafters and artists.

Tobias and Roberta Zingg

“In our 20s, we travelled through Europe together for a year and
our favourite places were those far away from cities, in the middle
of nature. On the beach of San Vito Lo Capo, along the coast of
Galway and in Sweden’s endless forests, we discovered the beauty and
diversity of Europe’s wilder side. When we began curating the
labels for our online concept store, we were sure to seek out
sustainable production when choosing brands to stock, even before
it was a trend. Since then, we’ve focused on tackling the packaging
waste our business brings with it and have developed a reusable
shipping envelope, the Kickbag. It’s actually quite logical and
simple: after receiving their order, the customer can simply fold
the Kickbag and send it back to us free of charge by regular mail.
No more cardboard boxes to dispose of, a win-win situation and
innovation that makes us very proud.”

Tobias and Roberta Zingg are co-founders of Stadtlandkind, a sustainable family clothing store in

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