Sir Tim Smit, KBE, Executive Vice-Chair and Co-founder, Eden Project, Cornwall

Sir Tim Smit, KBE, Executive Vice-Chair and Co-founder, Eden Project, Cornwall

Sir Tim Smit is a Dutch-born businessman. He is the co-founder of the celebrated Eden Project, Executive Vice-Chair of Eden Project Ltd, and Executive Chairman of Eden Project International Ltd.

Podcast

Overview

It is said, “Gardens and flowers have a way of bringing people together, drawing them from their homes.” Close your eyes and imagine a place with nature around you, with plants from around the world.

Who won’t want to be transported to such a world where we are always surrounded by concrete jungles?

Now, what if we tell you, such a place exists and on the ground, which is almost equal to the size of 30 football pitches? Yes, that is true, and it is made on once a barren land which had wastes of mineral disposals.

We are talking about the lush green county of Cornwall’s The Eden Project. This visitor attraction was built to connect humans with the natural world.

About Sir Tim Smit

Sir Tim Smit is a Dutch-born businessman. He is the co-founder of the celebrated Eden Project, Executive Vice-Chair of Eden Project Ltd, and Executive Chairman of Eden Project International Ltd.

Tim Smit has also tried his hands in the music industry. He worked as an archaeologist before stepping into the business world.

DISCUSSION

Sir Tim explains the Eden project as a step to deepen our understanding of the interconnections between living beings. The project consists of greenhouse-like structures with artificial climates, where native plants of different biomes can thrive.

The biomes are built on once barren land. Sir Tim says, “The place was deliberately chosen because I wanted to find a place as poisonous, as there was no life, and wanted to create life there. It was to demonstrate that humans are quite capable of reimagining their future.”

The project avoids doing advertising and is claimed to be a place of satisfaction.

Inspiration: Heligan Garden

Who hasn’t heard about The Lost Gardens of Heligan? The restoration project celebrates the lives of ordinary men and women of Heligan. Sir Tim got involved because he was keen to tell stories of these people.

He acknowledges that he didn’t have plant knowledge and, thus, got the experts for the same. He says, “British people always talk about aristocrats, crowns, and kings. The best part was that people who didn’t go to gardens also loved Heligan because we told stories of plants and simple men.”

After the success of the Heligan project, Tim dreamt of getting together the largest collection of plants ever gathered in one place that are useful to humans.

He says that his slogan was, “Give me your poison, I love your poison.”

Achieving Dreams

We talk with him about the ways of realizing and achieving one’s dreams. He gives an insight, “Do not lie to yourself. Audit yourself. Look in the mirror and ask what I am good at.”

However, the skills of believing and achieving dreams can be developed over time but observing people around us. Tim talks about a celebrated Football manager, Brian Clough, who made the greatest football teams out of people who were considered to be misfits.

Meaning of Social Enterprise

Tim expresses his disappointment in the behavior of many social entrepreneurs out there. He says, “The biggest mistake of social enterprise across the globe is the childish thing that making money is dirty.

Making money in running a social enterprise is embodied energy that enables you to do more good things. Don’t just expect people to love you because the cause sounds good.”

He then narrates how he worked on building the team for Eden and its economic benefits.

More About Tim

Tim speaks at great length about the speed with which the world is changing and condemns media for being slow to showcase that. He also talks about the meaning of success.

Tim, interestingly, admits battling the vanities as a human being and doesn’t deny looking for validation.

But he admits that he has to fight those. He defines success as, “When I die, to successfully let go reigns of control and others make their dream and not enslavement.”

Profile

Sir Tim Smit is well known for his commitment to green living.

Co-founder of the world-famous Eden Project in Cornwall, UK, the Dutch-born British businessman founded the £80m (US$103.5m) attraction, which promotes biodiversity and sustainability with its indoor rainforest, housed inside two giant biomes.

After gaining EU funding, he’s taking that commitment one step further, with plans to not only transform the Eden Project by building a geothermal energy plant but also for the attraction to acting as a sustainability blueprint for the entire planet.

“We’ve been waiting 10 years to be able to say it’s full steam ahead for the Eden Project’s energy scheme,” says Smit. “We’ve always known that beneath our feet – at the center of the earth – it’s hot.”

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