David de Rothschild in conversation with Marie Winckler on iTunes
David de Rothschild is one of those people you’d wish to be sat next to on a 9-hour plane trip. Even if you're not much of a talker on flights, trust us, you would want to hear about his adventures...
David was 26 when he embarked upon his first adventure, a 70-day excursion across Antarctica. “I had zero experience. I lied about everything, what mountain I had climbed, the things I had done” Since then, David has climbed, sailed, hiked and skied in the most remote locations in the world.
He became the youngest British person to reach both poles and was part of a team that broke the world record for the fastest ever crossing of the Greenland ice cap. He rode a motorbike through the mountains of Mongolia, paddled down the Xingu River in Brazil, and sailed across the Pacific Ocean on the Plastiki, an 18-meter catamaran built from approximately 12,500 reclaimed plastic bottles. So what does one think about in the middle of the Pacific on a boat made out of plastic glued together with cashew-nut sugar? “What the fuck am I doing here? That’s what I was thinking” he laughs “in the comfort of a warm house, drinking a cup of tea and looking at a map, your travel is a finger swipe. You don’t see the enormity of what it is, skiing or walking across a continent. I promised myself: next time, don’t forget the scale.”
You’d be wrong to assume that David led a life of exotic dilettantism and thrill-seeking. “I’ve always spent a lot of time in the countryside. It was the thing that would make me feel most alive” he explains. When looking for a deeper connection to nature he felt its inherent fragility, which changed everything. “I’ve realized over my time as an environmentalist we’ve kind of failed. We’ve failed because we’ve told stories that are all about the demise of nature and what’s wrong with nature and that if you’re not doing something, you’re part of this problem. And I think that is an intimidating, alienating and sometimes debilitating story for a lot of people, myself included. What we want to do is try and encourage people to travel and explore. We want to try and encourage people to look at nature through a different lens — look at it through the lens of excitement and look at it with a sense of awe and wonder.”
As an ecologist and environmentalist, he set up Sculpt the Future Foundation, a charity that supports innovation and creativity in social and environmental impact. He also made it a mission of introducing companies to sustainable practices: “We need to switch the fear into curiosity” he explains to us. “Focus the narrative on the opportunities, create a sense of wonder and awe”. David’s work has not gone unnoticed by the international community, he was awarded the accolade of “Emerging Explorer" by the National Geographic, nominated as a “Young Global Leader” by the World Economic Forum and the United Nations Environment Program named him a "Climate Hero."
His most recent adventure? A sustainable high-end brand called: “The Lost Explorer”. Some of its apparel is made from materials that integrate what David refers to as “bio-mimicry”. One being an adaptable heat technology that imitates the action of a pine cone, the fibres open up when it senses you are hot and closes when it detects you are cold. Other products include surf fins made out of recycled fishing nets and Mezcal, branded with a logo that says “Established in 2025” to signal that they are always "in progress.”
He has an uncanny resemblance to a Wes Anderson character: “A speedy-brained, hopeful hero”: With his 193 centimetres, long hair and candid tone. In our special podcast this Semaine, David will discuss nature pornography, why there is no such thing as sustainable fashion, and the possible come back of the Plastiki. So listen up, be inspired, and take action this week.
By Marie Winckler for Semaine.
David de Rothschild in conversation with Marie Winckler on iTunes
Aardvark c-change® jacket
Fin4fin as above so below tee in blue
Tamiami Trail Unnapped Robe
The Explorer's Workshop
Despite being established in 2025 (to show that they are always "in progress”) "The Lost Explorer" - David’s new sustainable brand - very much have a firm foundation and base in their airy headquarters in Los Angeles. In this selection, you can shop the items on their, no doubt sustainably sourced, table tops and even purchase the indoor foliage that inhabits as much of the space as possible…
The Survival Pack
“I want to live the most interesting life that I can live. I am a human and being human is extraordinary. Being a human means that we can make choice, and not only make choices but also act upon them: that is fucking incredible. We are so blessed. We get to make choices, what we do, how we move, whom we interact with. So sometimes, when I see myself sitting in the same routine I try and kick myself to do something new.” - These are the words of a man who’s actively trying to avoid routine, but what are the staples of his every day? Like his love, Karina and his dog, Banjo, there are a few things that David will allow into his day to day life, things that he deems essential... you can find them here.
Marula "Head to toe" nourishment oil
Tamarin pant in grey
Classic Vacuum Flask12 SHARETwitterFacebook CLASSIC VACUUM FLASK
Rope key ring
Moisturizing lip balm
David's selection, that you can explore below, includes only important, shocking and educational productions. From Adam Curtis' thought-provoking 'Hypernormalisation' to JR and Agnès Vardahat's immortalisation of the French countryside and the people who work there in 'Faces and Places', this informed selection will keep you entertained while also keeping you informed.
Another kind of adventure...
As an explorer, David sees nature as his greatest teacher, but he still cites these publications as essential reading. This week you can get to know the pages David has explored countless times, with this selection of his favourite books.
The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat
Before They Pass Away
Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming
The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration Into the Wonder of Consciousness
Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life
Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth, Second Edition
Tips for a Better Future
Amongst many other accolades, that all show David’s commitment to protecting the environment, he founded “Sculpt the Future Foundation”, a charity that supports innovation and creativity in social and environmental impact. We asked David to give us eight tips on how to be more environmentally friendly in our daily lives and you can find them below...
Around the World with David Rothschild
No doubt a difficult question for an explorer to answer, this can only be a definitive list of destinations that any traveller, whether they’re a novice or a seasoned explorer, must visit. David has been to both poles, sailed the Pacific ocean, and paddled down the Xingu River… but these are the destinations he recommends most highly.