“I am the Amazon. Please look after me.”

Thought–provoking and emotional, the stirring sound of a 22-year-old afro-indigenous eco-activist from the Brazilian Amazon drumming on a Barcelona stage signified the beating heart and soul of our planet, an urgent need for a new era… and the start of Fixing the future 2019.

This year’s event opened as it concluded, a crowd united and inspired by the powerful presence, deep authority and silent intelligence of Elisa Neves.

Hear the drummer, get motivated

We want to say a massive thank you… to you. An audience of over 600 filled the CCCB for our second event on 7-8 June – in partnership with Holaluz – an ambitious, multicultural two–day programme of 50+ FutureHeroes, workshops and screenings.

Split into panels under the themes of food, cities, waste, biodiversity, oceans, climate and culture, the speakers all shared a common idea…


’Fixing the future’ is solidarity, political challenge, justice, a more human economy and dignity to save the planet.

Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director, Oxfam International

We welcome the future-curious

Enjoy these highlights – including rockstar chefs, a big wave surfer, the youth sparking a worldwide movement, innovative thinkers, brave entrepreneurs, powerful women, plastic protagonists, and practical pollinators. We’re still buzzing…

Hola future



1. A taste of a delicious future

This year we put food firmly on the table. The first day kicked off with a trio of the world’s top chefs urging us to take small steps to create “a delicious future”. Netflix Chef’s Table star Alex Atala, ‘Mad Max of Foraging’ Jock Zonfrillo and self-professed “responsible hedonist” Maria Solivellas work similarly to recover gastronomic roots and reconnect people with their origins in Brazil, Australia and Mallorca. Because your food choices are a political act.


‘Fixing the future’ is about bringing together people from different disciplines and perspectives, to try to build something together.

Alex Atala, D.O.M. Restaurante/ ATÁ Institute

Alex, Jock and Maria were joined by the UK’s top food writer Bee Wilson

South America’s No 1 chef, Alex Atala uncovers Brazilian indigenous ingredients in the Amazon to preserve them. The double Michelin-starred culinary punk-superstar welcomed us to the jungle.

Think of small steps to fix the future

Joining Alex on the panel was Mallorcan chef Maria Solivellas. Michelle Obama is a big fan of her Ca na Toneta zero km restaurant, where she has recovered several tomato species. (Maria, not Michelle.)

Alex and Maria with Atlas of the Future’s Lisa and Cathy

The day before the event we accompanied Jock Zonfrillo on a ‘speed tapas’ tour of Barcelona’s Boqueria market. Australia’s top chef is creating a database of indigenous Aboriginal ingredients – going above and beyond in taking Down Under on a journey of native food discovery.

Hamming it up for the cameras

Thanks to Josep Sucarrats Miró, the editor of leading food magazine Cuina, Boqueria market director Òscar Ubide i Marcet and Catalonia’s top chef Oscar Manresa (below) for rocking the Boq with Jock.

And the Oscar goes to…


2. You were inspired to become farmers

Ecological agriculture activist Jyoti Fernandes got a standing ovation after she set a record by delivering a 40–min talk… in 15–mins (full video coming soon).

“I encourage you to become farmers!”

The leading fair farmer assured us that an agricultural and livestock system based on small producers – and respectful of biodiversity – is possible: “It’s about small scale farmers, who are working with the earth to create the food that we need, and the people who are selling it within small businesses in a local economy, all finding ways to feed this planet without destroying it.” 

Feel the joy

To fix the future we need more local food networks to be in the hands of the many, not the few.

Kimberley Bell, Small Food Bakery

Kimberley Bell of Small Food Bakery, winner of the BBC Food and Farming Award for best food producer, shared thoughts on how we produce what we eat with Pau Moragas from L’Olivera, Catalonia’s wine and olive oils coop, and Uganda’s Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration advocate, Prudence Ayebare:

“It is very easy to give an example, but it is very difficult to become an example.”

Dig the sound of small scale farmers? Check out Abby Rose’s award-winning Farmerama radio show and podcast and her Vidacycle apps WorkMentor and SectorMentor.

Abby Rose interviews earth-loving writer Zakiya Mckenzie backstage



3. The joy of xefs

Chefs can use gastronomy as a powerful force for change. Hugely influential in the gastronomic sector, Venezuelan journalist and Basque Culinary World Prize project manager Sasha Correa urged the audience to find time to cook. 

“We are not what we eat, but what we are cooking.” – Sasha Correa

Toni, Bee, Sacha and Maria

Sasha and Maria Solivellas were joined by Fundación Alícia (Food and Science) director Toni Massanés. The culinary research lab he created with Ferran Adrià promotes food heritage, healthy eating and technological innovation. Bee Wilson, author of The Way We Eat Now, quizzed our chefs, challenged us to reconsider our relationship with food and gave a TastEd workshop about teaching children to like vegetables by using all their senses.

“As a cook and hedonist, I practice activism from pleasure.” – Maria Solivellas

We agree Maria, we are all about that triple bottom line: people, planet… pleasure.


4. Tales of the city

Caption competition

“We are in an unprecedented era of collective intelligence and collective stupidity.” –  Geoff Mulgan

Ouch! In the ‘Cities’ session, Nesta’s Chief Executive Geoff Mulgan gave a thought-provoking speech, followed by Vicente Guallart, the former Chief Architect of Barcelona City Council, who broke down why the cities of the future not only have to consume, but also produce their own resources: “It has to look like a forest, where the currency is energy, not the euro.”

“The future is back!” Time for an ecological city

Urban technologist and IAAC Academic Director Areti Markoupoulou gave a passionate and inspiring call for regenerative cities.

“Sustainability is a word that is empty without action”

Other city experts included 21st century urban visionary (and all round legend) Carolyn Steel, who introduced her ‘Sitopia’ – now a widely-recognised way of seeing the world through the lens of food.

“Cheap food does not exist…it is made possible through externalities.” – Carolyn Steel

One of the best-known names in Kazan, Tatarstan’s Presidential advisor Natalia Fishman explained how public spaces in cities can be created on a huge scale, while off-grid sanitation expert Jochen Scheerer moved onto the value of water, our human right. Jochen is the creator of the largest ‘green living wall’ in Spain.


5. Waste not

We are big fans of Ismaël’s work

Coinciding with ‘zero waste week’, one of the most anticipated speakers was Cameroon’s Ismaël Essome who invented an eco–boat with recycled plastic bottles, an initiative that is now becoming known throughout the world as a model to follow. He also happens to be one of the most positive people on our planet.

It’s one of our biggest joys bringing together people who can learn from each other and perhaps create something even more game changing. When Ismaël bonded with Joseph Klatt from Precious Plastic (whose open source DIY plastic recycling workshops remain one of our favourite projects), they hatched a collaborative plan in front of our very eyes. 

Life is precious (plastic)

“It’s so valuable to get all these examples from other industries and entrepreneurs, because there’s always something that you bring and can take with you for your own practice.” – Miquel Ballester, Fairphone

When Miquel met Ismaël

Another advocate of the circular economy, Lise Honsinger manufactures Ooho! edible water bottles, which are taking the marathon scene event by storm. 

“In a sporting event people hold a plastic bottle for a couple of seconds to drink it before throwing it to the floor. How can you accept this use for a material that takes 7,000 years to decay?” – Lise Honsinger

Ooho! are made from algae extract

More creative examples of innovators rethinking waste included Dulcinea Meijide Vidal, Director of Sustainability Development of SUEZ Spain, circular design expert Liz Corbin, who has created Materiom – nature’s recipe book of the future – and Miquel Ballester, who leads Fairphone – a modular smartphone company, recycling materials in a chain of ethical and fair production: 

“There are 118 elements in the Periodic Table, and 46 of them are in your smartphone.”


6. The regeneration game


First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you…then they try to acquire you!”

Carlota Pi, Co-founder and Executive Director of Holaluz, paraphrases Gandhi

Check out this for a sustainability supergroup: the Godfather of the modern sustainability movement, John Elkington was joined by the co-founder and Executive President of energy company Holaluz, Carlota Pi, and the Vice President Marketing of food giant Danone, Cristina Kenz – to highlight how businesses can be a force for good and create a new economic model. 

These three mean BIG business

The B Corp-powered panel covered the joys and challenges of leading regenerative change.

“Our species tends to do its most interesting innovation when it’s backed into the corner.” – John Elkington

Chatting to Holaluz Founder Carlota Pi (video coming soon)


7. Moving youth movements

F4F + XR = the future

Inspired by Greta Thunberg, at just 16–years–old the fiery and eloquent girls from Fridays for Future Barcelona were the youngest to go on stage to shake our consciences. Activism is set to be more important than ever as we fight to survive in a very different future climate. These young people are your future consumer, employee and voter: 

“We are fed up of empty words, we cannot have hope because our future will be chaos, a dystopia.” – F4F BCN 

John Elkington dubbed Lucia, Aitana, Claudia and Berta ‘The Famous Four’.

Both the F4F movement and Extinction Rebellion have called for an urgent response from politicians and a real citizen rebellion to deal with climate emergencies. The fact that this an emergency that affects women most was highlighted by Oxfam’s gender equality activist, Sandra Sotelo Reyes.

Meanwhile, the good face of the law, Kirsty Schneeberger broke down how Client Earth brings governments to court against climate change: 

“We can use the system to fight the system, combining science, politics and the power of law.” 

Maria Salamero, the Aigües de Barcelona Director of Strategy for Sustainability and Communication of Water, ​ explained how cities can be resilient in a climate changed future. And talking of water…


8. Every day is World Oceans Day 

Easkey Britton rides the big waves of sustainability

“Every second breath we take comes from the ocean, from the plankton, which is as important as the forest.” – Ed Gillespie

The oceans and biodiversity speakers took to the stage on World Oceans Day (8 June). As a marine social scientist and award-winning big wave surfer, Easkey Britton connects people and oceans to create social change:

“The environmental crisis can be seen as a symptom of our disconnect from nature… spending time in and around water enhances our receptivity to the world.”

Video interview with Easkey coming soon

Ed and Easkey were joined by Women4Oceans’ Farah Obaidullah, who works to turn the tide for our blue planet by embracing our human diversity, marine researcher Begoña Vendrell, Bec Hubbard, who started the European campaign Our Fish to end overfishing and restore the oceans and marine mammal-loving Manel Gazo, whose NGO SUBMON promotes a change in the relationship between society and the ocean.

Bec and Farah enjoyed the salty waters of the Med

We all know it’s not just about the big fish, but the small ones too. Overheard at the after-party: the F4F girls asking Farah and Easkey’s advice about becoming a marine scientist.


9. Save the bees, the trees and the chimpanzees

Ignasi Bartomeus: Plant pollinating is not just about the bees

Biodiversity is a hot topic at the moment as scientists warn us that we are in the midst of a sixth mass extinction. From the Himalayas to the Peruvian altiplano, we are losing dozens of species every day.  

Bernat Claramunt wants citizen scientist in nature, not online

In the ‘Biodiversity’ panel, the buzz was around the birds, the bees and the trees – with bird conservationist Júlia Alcaraz Capsada, plant pollinator researcher Ignasi Bartomeus, wildlife citizen scientist Bernat Claramunt and Forestry England’s Writer in the Forest, Zakiya Mckenzie.

Zakiya wants you to “get uncomfortable” by hanging out in nature

There is a reason Sir David Attenborough has called for a new deal for nature and people to recognise the link between the health of nature, the wellbeing of people and the future of our planet – WWF International‘s Lin Li explained how she is helping to make it a reality.


People think the future is tomorrow. No, the future actually is now, the future is today, the future is you and me. Each one of us can take action, big and small.

Dr Lin Li, Director of Global Policy and Advocacy, WWF International


10. A play in three parts

Everyone has something to learn

The event ended with a grand finale of three intergenerational pairings illustrating just how communities can design their own futures. 

The emergency is real

Cécile Duflot, Executive Director of Oxfam France, was joined by 21–year–old young eco–activist Camille Etienne, who is raising environmental awareness by creating a viral impact:


The reality is that climate change is not the question of future generations, it is the question of the generation of today, it’s a question for us. It’s not fixing the future, it’s fixing our future.

Camille Etienne

Repowering’s renewables dynamo Agamemnon Otero and Wilhemena Stewart, mother of five and grandmother of eight, brought small scale energy solutions from East London to Barcelona to show how people can power the future.

A powerful ‘FROW’

Also sharing the stage, community–based arts educator Dan Baron Cohen and 22–year–old Afro–Indigenous LGBTQ+ eco–cultural activist and mother Elisa Neves travelled all the way from the once no–go favela Amazonian region of Cabelo Seco to communicate ideas of social justice and transformation through art.

Not a dry eye in the house

Elisa’s final words rang out to the CCCB: “I am the Amazon. Please look after me.”


11. The power of women


This event is about creating connections and friendships. We are all so much more than just consumers: you are changemakers. You are changing the future with your work every day for a better world.

Cathy Runciman, Co-founder, Atlas of the Future 

The event is organised by women – and featured a diverse group of awesome women across the sessions: no ‘manels’ (male-only panels) here.


People actually really want to fix the future, so they’re open to sharing ideas and bouncing off of each other. I’m just in love with this event.

Zakiya Mckenzie

We were also honoured that Marta Subira welcomed all our future–fixers to Barcelona. The Secretary for the Environment and Sustainability of the Government of Catalonia is convinced we are all part of nature and we can reverse the current environmental crisis.

“Dear past, thank you for your lessons. Dear future, welcome!”


12. You too can fix the future.

‘Fixing the future’ is not only about the diversity of the speakers, but the future–curious crowd too. You enthused, asked questions and were even inspired to build something better. From the CCCB team to the 40+ friends who helped out on the day, you came together with the collective purpose of making this something to remember.

Volunteers Victoria and Dafnis

This was only made possible thanks to the efforts of volunteers who handed out bespoke organic tote bags with the message: ‘We are fixing the future. Are you?’ – and a refillable glass water bottle from event main sponsor Aigües de Barcelona which could be filled at various water points across the CCCB.

The best part? You were inspired to take action…

An exponential thank you to you all for your positive vibes. Watch this space for future Fixing the futures.

fixing the future

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