Toby is a filmmaker and 1st-year UCL PALS psychology student. He's just started filming his 1st feature-length documentary in the Andes Mountain Range.
I'm on the BSc Psychology course and I've found the PALS community to be very welcoming and encouraging of big ideas.
Tell us about your Andes expedition
As of the 24th of February I have been filming a feature-length documentary and TV series in the Andes Mountain Range. We are using the 5000km journey of cyclist Kate Leeming as a vessel for important messages of sustainability. Travelling through the Martian landscapes, the driest non-polar desert (Atacama) and the highest volcanoes on Earth, we will discover the incredible relationship the Andeans have with nature and what we can learn from them. This also sets the scene to give behavioural insights from academics at UCL and other respected voices in the field of sustainability such as Roman Krznaric. I will be producing the documentary and the TV series will be produced in collaboration with AOK Media House. This will be distributed globally by Boulder Creek International to companies such as National Geographic, Discovery Channel and BBC World Service with an expected audience of 50 Million people.
Tell us a bit about your link with the PALS Green Impact Team
I reached out to John Draper about the possibility of collaborating with the PALS Green Impact Team. The purpose of my documentary is to equip people with tools from behavioural psychology to act more environmentally. As this mission is aligned with that of the PALS Green Impact Team, we immediately clicked.
Tell us about your most challenging experience to date
As part of the expedition fundraising, I cycled the length of the UK from Land’s End to John O’Groats. This was an epic physical challenge and a test of mental resilience. Particularly when my elbows were being brushed by trucks, midges were swarming my face in the forest and steep, rough roads were relentless. The hardest challenge so far on the expedition has been climbing over 5700m on snowy Acotango volcano in Bolivia with diarrhoea caused by a water-borne parasite. At a 40% gradient and with the snow softened by the harsh sun, there was a great risk of avalanche. About 7 times we felt large parts of the mountain shift beneath our feet. So we had to climb down. The descent was really hard. Every step you took, you would sink knee deep and have to yank your leg out only to sink into the snow again. At altitude, this was a serious cardio workout. Here are some photos from that day.
The Antarctica expedition will complement the Andes expedition. Following Kate's journey to become the first person in history to cycle across Antarctica, we will again use the lens of behavioural psychology to focus this time on the environmental issues facing Antarctica.
What can people do to support you?
- If you would like to support the production of these documentaries here is Toby's JustGiving page.