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Meet Mark Haver: founder of BlueGreen Generation Consultancy, which he runs remotely!

Updated: May 31

Just before we headed off to Croatia, we’ve taken the time to catch up with Mark Haver, our one and only ocean protector!!


Whilst identifying himself as a digital nomad, Mark runs his consultancy agency called BlueGreen Generation. Because his clients are scattered all over the world, he is able to work remotely, combining travel adventures with public speaking engagements to elevate youth calls-to-action for the ocean and future generations.


Ocean protection & sustainability consultant educates during Workation Retreat
Mark Haver: Sustainability Consultant & Ocean Protection Specialist who runs Remote!

You are consulting clients to achieve climate, ocean, and sustainable fashion action. Could you tell us a bit more about yourself and your journey?


I graduated in May 2020, so it was an interesting, and difficult, time to navigate leaving education and entering the workforce. I am so inspired by the young people and projects that they’re running for our planet, so I wanted to leverage my skills like a Swiss army knife combining passions. So, I created my consultancy firm to create action for ocean, climate and sustainable fashion. Whether it’s by providing support for communication, policy advocacy, partnerships, or community building, I will work with you to create a blue green generation.


What is the biggest achievement of change that you have enabled?


My proudest accomplishment was in Canada last year for the International Marine Protected Area Congress where we brought a bunch of umbrellas decorated like jellyfish and gathered a crowd in the middle of February to fight deep-sea mining. Less than a week later the Canadian government announced a moratorium on deep-sea mining in national waters. A few months later, they announced their support for a moratorium on deep-sea mining internationally as well.


Many people care about planet preservation, yet when you ask people to stand up for the ocean this crowd becomes smaller so this was huge.

Fun fact: of every 2 breaths you take, 1 is produced by the ocean.

Besides marine life protection you work with the Global Fashion Exchange that has made a tremendous impact on sustainability in the fashion industry…


Besides my passion for the ocean I grew up with a passion for fashion, yet the industry appears to be one of the most polluting in the world. The fashion industry produces more than 10% of the global carbon emissions. So, it was a no-brainer to join the initiatives of the Global Fashion Exchange and to use fashion as a medium to inspire people to think about responsible consumption and production.


The fashion industry is very creative, they’ve started coming up with innovations such as leather made from mushrooms. When I joined the Global Fashion Summit in Copenhagen, there was a wallet made out of agave, which is used to make tequila. There is so much innovation in materials, sustainability, circularity, and simply reduction which makes it an exciting industry to work and learn from.


Where are you going next?


I’m currently in my hometown between Baltimore and Washington DC, where I grew up. The following days will be exciting as I will be visiting Panama to work together with an NGO – Geoversity – which is running a youth leadership program for the environment. The Program will train Panamanians of Indigenous, Afro-Caribbean, and rural communities to be leaders at the nexus of environment and democracy.

I feel like no matter where you are, it’s incredible to discover and discuss our connection to nature, which helps us to feel connected to each other and to the earth.

How did you become a digital nomad?


Before going remote, I lived in Washington DC. DC was an expensive city to live where I was juggling multiple jobs, paying expensive rent, and being annoyed constantly by how much groceries cost. However, everything became remote during COVID. After leaving an incredible consulting firm for the ocean and the environment, ESP Advisors, I continued working with Sustainable Ocean Alliance and was meeting new clients online. I had always have had a lifelong passion for travel! When I realized I could work doing what I loved while being fully online, I knew that the world had become my oyster. In August 2022, I left Washington, DC for Barcelona, and I haven’t looked back.


What has your experience been like working remote & travelling continuously?


It’s provided freedom and flexibility, and also new opportunities have arisen because of my journeys. Last year, I went to the Our Ocean Conference in Panama for work. I stayed around after the conference ended, and I met the folks from Geoversity. Now, I am returning to Panama one year later to do a program for Geoversity right before I head to the next Our Ocean Conference, which was this year in Greece.


While not having a fixed location may sound intimidating, the people I meet in my travels always remind me why I am doing this.

It’s such an incredible experience being able to share the joy and challenges of traveling with fellow travelers.

Most of you may have never visited this place before so exciting, so to experience that newness and exploration together is so exciting.


Connecting with the locals, hearing their experiences, listening to their stories, being received in a way that might be different from your own culture. It’s so incredible to meet those people you haven't met that will make such an impact.

Travelling really reminds you of the kindness and generosity people have to share no matter where they are from.

How did that change you as a person?


When you’re travelling you learn a lot about yourself. You decide your schedule, you decide your limits, you decide what makes you uncomfortable, you learn new languages.


You push yourself to make introductions to random strangers that could end up being one of your best friends. You begin to understand when you want to take moments for yourself and enjoy quality time just being solo. It’s a really cool way to get in touch with yourself and how you like to express yourself.


Traveling is a great way to get in touch with yourself, especially being a digital nomad.
Mark soaking in beautiful ocean views, enjoying the ride & vibes on the Adriatic Sea in Croatia.

What have been challenges you ran into being a nomad?

The logistics can become quite a consuming topic. You have to figure out where you want to be and when, planning everything from packing to internet connectivity. Some challenges come with meeting people, certain places are more social than others. Especially after 1.5 years of nomading, a lot can become the same: “Heyy my name is Mark, I’m going to be in Mexico for 2 weeks, where are you going?”


But when you click with this new person in your life for an uncertain amount of time, it’s like a completely different door is opening. You appreciate friendships as you experience them in the present. The flexibility and transience of friendships, interacting with people, and giving each other the best you have to offer is a culture of sharing and living life to the fullest.


That’s why I’m so excited about the concept of Driftawave- it’s such a unique opportunity for people to build intimate experiences. Especially with this particular case of being on a boat, it’s quality time to build new connections and bond.


What are your 4 favorite destinations?

Nature

South Africa. Obviously you have Kruger National Park and the safari, Cape Ttown is such a special city! You can go surfing, you can climb a mountain, you can go skiing, and visit the vineyards, all in the same day. There are so many different types of natural activities, and it’s so biological and ecological diverse from other parts of the world. There is a whole kingdom of plants that is unique to that Cape Town area. The diversity of experiences is profoundly exciting. On the west side of South Africa, you find penguins and sharks. On the east side, you find vibrant corals and stingrays bigger than your dinner table.


Culture

Mexico is an incredible country for so many reasons. The vibes are immaculate. There is so much natural beauty to explore, and the Mexican people are so warm and welcoming, always with a smile and a laugh! Mexico is such a huge country as well that it’s become a major melt pot of different local cultures. It’s incredible to learn more about their different traditions, alongside with the incredible artisanship they bring. Especially in Chiapas where the indigenous culture is so strong. Seeing all of that blending in with the modern day is truly fascinating!


Culture tip: If you’re planning to visit the Frida Kahlo museum in Mexico City make sure to book it more than a month in advance!


Adventure 

It has to be Peru. It’s a very well known tourist destination for many reasons and very well known for it’s food - probably the best in Latin America. Machu Picchu is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world, but for good reasons. There are so many hikes that are just as breath taking as Machu Picchu, all over Peru. You can go to a desert oasis, Huacachina, and go sand-boarding in the desert. You can hike to one of the deepest canyons in the world. You can go to the Amazon. You can go diving. There is so much to explore. So much of it is extreme in a sense and it really tickles your curiosity when it comes to the adventurous spirit.


Marinelife

There was one place that really blew me away; the Red Sea off the coast of Egypt off of Hurghada. It was just incredible to see the color, the health, the resilience of the ecosystem. It was truly a stunning, imaginative, colorful, healthy place to go diving in the world. I'll never forget it.


Overall I've been blessed to go diving in some spectacular locations from French Polynesia to freshwater springs in Florida to the eastern coast of South Africa where I learned how to dive.


Digital Nomad on World Exploration Diving with Sharks North Shore of Hawaii
For Mark, any time in water is a great chance to connect with himself and feel more deeply connected to the planet and nature.

Which tools have been beneficial to you, and up-leveled your productivity for example, so you could enjoy all those adventures even more?


One of those tools is definitely Happy Cow. If you are not someone who eats meat, this is a great way to crowdsource what are some of the best restaurants that are friendly for a vegetarian diet during your travels.


Polar Steps is another great app to quickly find the photos geotagged on a map of the incredible locations you’ve visited. It reminds you of the beautiful memories and exciting experiences. So I recommend that app too.


We noticed you participated in a critical language scholar in Indonesia!


Yes, oh my gosh, that was an experience!


When I attended college I was always interested in travel, but I was also always interested in language. The U.S. State Department has this scholarship for students who are looking to learn languages and cultures that are important to American interests in the economy, conflict, and culture. But these aren't common languages like French or Spanish. These are languages like Urdu, Hindu, Swahili, Korean, Japanese, and Indonesian.

Indonesian was one of the languages that did not require any language learning before the actual intensive summer program. The other classes like Arabic and Chinese classes, you need to have studied this for one or two years in order to achieve this level of proficiency.


Indonesia sounded really interesting because I don't know where I would get Indonesian proficiency classes in Central Florida where I went to school. Indonesia has so much to offer that I thought being immersed in Indonesian culture and learning about the opportunities for me to use this language to support conservation and other ecological initiatives in Indonesia was really interesting.


So for 10 weeks I was in Malang, East Java, Indonesia, learning how to speak Indonesian. I lived with an incredible host family and was supported by incredible local language tutors, Mas Ishom and Mas Razul. The experience is about putting your English in the back of your brain and completely adopting Bahasa Indonesian whenever and wherever you can. It taught me so much about how to learn new languages and to let go of the fear of embarrassing yourself when learning.


I might have sounded like an idiot the first two weeks but those first two weeks of babbling like an idiot helped me get better and better and better and better instead of being too ashamed to try and learning slower.


So I really appreciate that experience. I think it definitely has encouraged me to dive into language learning whether it's Spanish when traveling around Hispanoa America or Brazilian Portuguese, obviously traveling in Brazil. It is a really cool way to connect with people and learn new things. You're there with the language, the family and the culture.


Could you tell us a bit about the challenges on the Adriatic Sea?


There are many different ocean issues like;


1: Plastic pollution


2: Overfishing


3: Climate change: wreaking havoc on so many different natural ecosystems


That’s why I got so excited to join Driftawave in Croatia to discuss this topic whilst exploring the attendees' connection to the planet, and what makes them feel tied to the ocean. I think there's so much power and feeling connected with our natural environment because it's a source of joy, wonder, and beauty.


Being able to tap into the connection with nature is something that's very sustaining. By doing so, it allows the members to take the knowledge and experience they built during the experience, and apply it to how they engage with their relationship with the environment after the workcation.

The ocean does not have borders. The problems that we need to solve collectively are not what one country can solve by itself.
Want to meet Mark, hear more about ocean sustainability and the experience? Join us May 31st for our live webinar at 4PM CEST 2024.

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