If you were in Hackbridge on a particularly humid day back in July, you may have glimpsed a unique sight in our skies – a giant swan soaring over south London. But this was no ordinary avian occurrence – it was all part of the new ITV film - Joanna Lumley and the Human Swan.

Filmed in the months prior to COP26, the show sees Sacha Dench – aka the Human Swan – circumnavigating the UK on an eco-paramotor to raise awareness of the climate crisis. Sacha was accompanied by Joanna, as they explore a range of climate issues across the land, and some of the simple steps we can take to help.

Left to right: Sacha Dench, Joanna Lumley and Dan Burton. © ITV

Tragically, on the final stretch of the journey, Sacha and her support pilot, Dan Burton (above), were involved in a mid-air collision. Dan sadly lost his life in the accident, and Sacha remains in hospital. Everyone at Bioregional was devastated to learn the news and our thoughts are with Dan's loved ones, and we wish Sacha a full recovery. Dan and Sacha’s families both felt that the show to go out, and it is dedicated to the memory of Dan Burton.

Watch a short clip from the film above. © ITV

We were honoured to welcome the Conservation Without Borders team to BedZED back in the summer, as Sacha and Joanna experienced the UK’s first large-scale eco-village, and the unique community spirit that it creates. Our Chief Executive and Co-Founder, Sue Riddlestone OBE, gave a tour of her own home, explaining the ethos of making it easy to make the right, sustainable choices, and harder to make bad, unsustainable choices. Joanna and Sacha then met with BedZED residents during a community swap (with tea and cake – of course) and discussed the importance of the circular economy.

Britain drove the Industrial Revolution - it can drive the Green Revolution too

Sacha Dench
The residents' community swap. © Julia Hawkins

BedZED was pioneered by Bioregional in the late 1990s and completed in 2002. It was a hugely ambitious project – turning a former sewage-spreading field into a leading eco-village – and it helped shift the conversation around how we build and heat our homes, both in Britain and beyond.

The BedZED site - a former sewage-spreading field - before development

The show touches on how BedZED inspired not only our One Planet Living® framework, but also a range of eco-developments around the world – including Zibi, a zero-carbon development in Canada, as well as influencing the London 2012 sustainability strategy.

It's all too easy to feel hopeless about the future - but like Sacha, I believe we can rise to the challenge

Joanna Lumley
A render showing Zibi, a One Planet Living Global Leader. © Zibi

If you’ve been inspired by the Conservation Without Borders mission, and you’re interested in making your business or organisation more sustainable, there’s never been a better time. Learn more about our One Planet Living framework, and our upcoming training courses that can help you take transformative action.

You can watch the full film here on ITV player.

To support Sacha’s recovery, you can donate to the crowdfunding page here.

BedZED in the early 2000s. © Marcus Lyon

Header image: © Julia Hawkins

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