Leo Bellis Jones is an avid underwater photographer, adventurist and ocean activist who has recently launched the social enterprise Ripl which aims to tackle the cycle of poverty and pollution in Bali. We love seeing fellow brands advocating for our oceans and making real life change for our earth. Read on to find out how one small business with a big goal is creating a ripl of hope for our seas.
Leo tell us where did your love for the ocean and the creatures that live in the deep blue come from?
I'd felt a connection to the ocean since I was a kid, but it was only when Covid kicked off that my passion for the ocean really deepened. When restrictions first started coming into place, I bought a kayak for exercise and started paddling out to Julian Rocks, an incredible marine reserve about 2km offshore in Byron Bay. I'd heard stories of how good it was, but the place totally blew my mind. The diversity out there is incredible - grey nurse sharks, leopard sharks, spotted eagle rays, turtles, bronze whaler sharks and humpback whales all call this place home or migrate through at various times of the year. Pretty quickly the kayak trips turned into free diving, and it wasn't long before I bought a camera housing to start capturing the world I was falling in love with.
We focus on employment because at its core, the plastic problem is a human one. It all comes down to economics and education. In many parts of the world, turtles eating plastic bags and micro plastic making their way into the food chain is the tragic consequence of poverty. If you're struggling to feed your family, worrying about recycling is way down your priority list. And even if you do have the capacity to focus on this as a problem (and have been educated about the problem), there's a good chance your area is wealthy enough to have recycling infrastructure in place. So we really wanted to work on a solution that tackled this from every angle.