Esther: I am originally from Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and moved to Hong Kong 7 years ago from London. I run several sustainability-focused projects and I also have a 3-year-old daughter. When I first arrived in Hong Kong, I immediately fell in love with the outdoor adventures that HK has to offer including hiking, trail running, and climbing. My husband and I climbed the entire 75 km coastline of HK Island in 6 days in 2017. During this expedition, we were shocked by the amount of coastal pollution we came across so we decided to map everything we saw. I felt I had to do more than just mapping and fortunately I got in touch with Sole Riestra and together we came up with the Adventure Clean up Challenge, the first multi-disciplined sports event with an environmental purpose.
Sole: I am from Argentina and work as an independent consultant and researcher in the fields of organisational development and sustainability. I help people and organisations change their strategies and behaviour towards more diverse, environmentally, and socially connected ways of living and working. I also have two little girls, my eldest is 3, and the youngest is 1. They were both born here in Hong Kong - which is one of the reasons why I feel so connected to this beautiful place in the world. I met Esther at an event for female entrepreneurs and we immediately clicked. Our joint passion for sustainability, coupled with our commitment and drive to make things happen brought Adventure Clean Up Challenge (ACUC) to life.
What I love the most about Adventure Clean Up Challenge is that it is so much more than just a clean up event. We purposefully designed it to bring together the fun and adrenaline of the more edgy, sporty, and outdoors competitions, with a purposeful and generative mission of cleaning our beautiful, yet difficult to access, remote coastal locations. Hong Kong's coast bears the heavy load of being highly polluted because of how the winds and ties drag waste into these spots and because they are more difficult to access than regular beach cleanups that can't be organised for these sites.
Another important part of what we are doing is community engagement and education. All participating teams are assessed not only on the amount of trash they collect but also the actions they take to raise awareness whether that is through co-workers, kids’ schools, or even bystanders in Central which is what one team did in 2019 during a one-day shout-out in Central. So all in all, I think have created a very rounded, memorable, and transformative experience for people to be part of.