Meet Sofía Nogués, ocean advocate and communications specialist at Clarivate. We caught up with Sofía about the impact she has been making since returning from Round the World Leg 5. Whether it be drafting a children’s book about reducing plastic pollution, running workshops in schools, or co-founding the Environmental Resource Group at Clarivate, Sofía has been busy using her storytelling superpower to inspire others into action.  

Keep reading to find out more about Sofía’s change-making journey. 

Photo by Sophie Dingwall

Can You Tell Me A Bit About Yourself?

I originally studied journalism. I always wanted to tell stories – stories that were untold, and stories that could have an impact on the world around me. Subsequently, I moved into PR, and am currently sat in the communications team at Clarivate. I am still telling stories that can change the world, but just with a business lens instead.

“I always wanted to tell stories – stories that are untold, and stories that could have an impact on the world around me.”

I’m also a mother to a 10 month old baby. We live in Barcelona, 10 minutes from the sea. I always grew up loving the water – whether that be the hours spent snorkelling as a child, the summers spent aboard sailing boats, or surfing and racing in regattas more recently.

My love for the ocean has always motivated me to raise awareness about plastic pollution. From a young age, my father and sister were always incredibly important in driving my personal zero waste mission.  I always remember the trips my father used to take me on to the recycling depot. Looking back, I think those outings made a huge impact on my passion for driving a more waste-free lifestyle. 

“(eXXpedition) would be not only a life-changing experience but also an amazing opportunity to tell a story to change the world.”

How did you end up joining eXXpedition?

I heard about eXXpedition through our women’s resource group at Clarivate and decided to sign up to the newsletter. Eventually I got an email about eXXpedition Round the World and I thought that would be such an amazing experience. When applications opened, I didn’t think twice. I knew this project would be not only a life-changing experience but also an amazing opportunity to tell a story to change the world.

What Did You Learn That Surprised You Most During The Voyage?

Prior to joining the crew I had already been on a mission to reduce my waste footprint and was quite aware of the issues surrounding microplastics – I’d done a lot of research, and taken part in several beach clean ups. 

“This is everyone’s problem, and we all need to have a role in making change” 

However, what surprised me most, whilst aboard the boat, was just the amount and reach of the plastic nurdles and pellets we found. We found them on every beach, and in every ocean sample. Ever since the expedition, I have not stopped seeing them. Back in Barcelona, I find them all along our beaches.  I think it really highlighted that this is everyone’s problem, and we all need to have a role in making change. 

I now use the nurdles as props in presentations. I’ve used them a lot in schools, as it’s a really useful visual to help to tell my story. 

How Would You Describe Your Superpower?

To communicate and tell stories – stories that are untold, and stories that can impact the world for the better. 

How Has The Voyage Influenced Your Work Since?

I’ve always had this passion for leading a more zero-waste lifestyle. However, I think eXXpedition gave me that first-hand personal experience to better communicate that story. Whenever I have spoken out about ocean plastic pollution since, having that personal touch and evidence that I have helped to generate, has helped make a greater impact on my audiences.

Since joining eXXpedition I have engaged in many speaking opportunities and given workshops at schools to raise awareness about plastic waste and the impact it has in our oceans.

I always try to weave my journey with eXXpedition into my presentation. Pictures and videos are a great way to communicate the story, as well as props like the nurdle samples. With my younger audiences, I also get them to do their own experiments with different types of plastic, to get them thinking about the effects and impact of plastic pollution. I always end each talk, like eXXpedition, with a solutions workshop – getting them to think about their own superpowers, and how they can be enacted to create change.

Young people … have this awe-inspiring motivation to make a difference”

I am always so inspired by their creativity and enthusiasm, but also the impact young people are already having. It’s great to see, and motivates me to continue telling my story. Beyond schools, I have also been sharing my journey with my hometown, and amongst my colleagues at work. 

Photo by Ajuntament d’Esplugues

For example, I co-founded Clarivate’s environmental colleague resource group, and joined the company’s sustainability team.

We are collaborating to reduce the plastic footprint of our local office facilities, in our own offices in Barcelona, but also in other offices across the world. 

In 2020, I co-authored a paper about bioplastics which you can read more about here.

What are you most proud to have achieved?

I am really proud of all the conferences and workshops I have led so far. The creativity, imagination and determination of the young people I have worked with is inspiring. It motivates me to continue sharing my story, and empowering our next generation of leaders. 

On an even more personal level, subsequent to my voyage, I have become vegetarian. Whilst this may not directly tackle plastic pollution, following my voyage, it felt like the natural next step as part of my journey to becoming more environmentally responsible.  

What Are Your Plans Going Forward?

I set myself the challenge aboard eXXpedition Round the World, to write a children’s book about reducing plastic pollution. 

I’ve recently joined a Board of people looking to make ILCA Regattas more sustainable. A big part of this is reducing their plastic footprint, by eliminating and finding alternatives to single-use plastic products aboard different team boats – whether that be the cups they are drinking from, their cutlery, or the category stickers.

Lastly, I think I am just excited about raising my child, and encouraging him to be sustainably conscious. I want to help him to consume responsibly and teach him the importance of respecting our planet alongside the people within it. 

What Keeps You Hopeful About The Future Of The Ocean?

Young people keep me hopeful. They all have this awe-inspiring motivation to make a difference. Rather than waiting for someone else to make that change for them, they have this desire to be the change they want to see, . They have the imagination, the creativity and the passion, we need to see a different future.

Organisations, like eXXpedition, that are committing to making change and inspiring others into action, excites me. Seeing these networks of organisations continuing to grow and inspire is an continual source of motivation to me. 

Combined, the two keep me hopeful.

If You Could Give One Message To The World, What Would It Be?

Don’t forget that this is the only place we have to live in and it’s on us to preserve it. The more we take good care of it, the better our experience will be.

We should treat our planet with respect. Who says we have the right to destroy ecosystems and treat our oceans like a dump? If we expect it to provide us with everything we need (which we do), we should at least give back by treating it with respect and engaging in sustainable practices in everything we do and every choice we make.