Special guest speakers appearing at WFN’s People For Planet Summit

We're delighted to welcome 16 special guests, including experts from the world of conservation, business, socio-economics and sustainable development, alongside leading journalists and filmmakers to our #PeopleForPlanet Summit

Our expert guest speakers will take the stage with 10 Whitley Gold Award winners to discuss the big wins and breakthroughs in scaling grassroots solutions to saving biodiversity at November’s People For Planet Summit. Ahead of COP28, the summit will underline the critical role that nature plays in achieving net zero, giving a platform to conservation leaders from Africa, Asia and South America to share their solutions to the urgent challenges facing our planet. Have you booked your tickets?



Meet the Guest Speakers

We’re delighted to welcome the following guests, who’ll be speaking in-person at the live event: Deborah Meaden; WFN ambassadors: Alastair FothergillDanielle De Niese and  Tom Heap; Dominique Palmer (Climate activist); John Fraher (Head of Bloomberg Green), Dan O’Neill (Wildlife film maker); Inka Cresswell (film maker, marine biologist); Jonathon Porritt (Forum for the Future); Hanli Prinsloo (free diver); Luxmy Gopal (journalist and broadcaster); Glyn Davies (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology);  Alice Thomson (columnist for The Times); Hollie Booth (Uni Oxford), Sam Sinclair (Biodiversify); and Nick Gates (Wild Isles Producer / Director).

More information on each special guests who’ll be speaking at the summit can be seen below:

Deborah Meaden

Deborah Meaden is a highly successful entrepreneur and Dragons Den Investor. She started her first business at the age of 19, setting up one of the first ‘Stefanel’ fashion franchises in the UK, and became well-known for owning and developing a number of businesses in the leisure and retail sector.

Deborah is now a full-time investor with a wide ranging portfolio. She joined the panel of investors in the BBC2 programme ‘Dragon’s Den’ for its third series and has since invested in a number of sustainable and environmentally friendly business start ups. She also hosts the Big Green Money Show podcast interviewing business leaders on the impact they can have in reaching net zero and biodiversity goals. Outside the world of business, Deborah actively supports a number of environmental charities and initiatives, with roles including Trustee of the Tusk Trust, Patron of the RSPB, Fellow of the WWF, and visionary at Compassion in World Farming.

Alastair Fothergill

Alastair Fothergill is a director of Silverback Films Ltd and has been at the forefront of natural history programming for more than 30 years, as well as an Ambassador for WFN. He is the producer of landmark series such as Planet Earth, Netflix’s Our Planet, and most recently, the ground-breaking BBC One series Wild Isles.

Alastair joined the BBC Natural History Unit in 1983 and was appointed Head of the Unit in November 1992, aged 32. Alastair’s collaborations with Sir David Attenborough include ‘The Trials of Life’, ‘Life in the Freezer’, ‘The Blue Planet’, ‘Frozen Planet’, ‘Planet Earth’ and its companion feature film ‘Earth’ released in cinemas.

In November 2012, Alastair left the BBC to set up his own production company Silverback Films, making The Hunt for BBC1 and cinema films for Disney nature. Alastair is a fellow of the Royal Television Society and of the Royal Geographic Society, who awarded him their gold medal in 2012.

DanIelle De Niese

Hailed as “opera’s coolest soprano” by New York Times Magazine, Danni de Niese is a prolific recording artist, TV and media personality, and has appeared on the world’s most prestigious opera and concert stages. She has thrilled audiences worldwide from the Metropolitan Opera to Covent Garden, winning an Emmy Award as a TV host at the age of 16, and making her Broadway debut at 18 in Les Miserables, before going on to record with Hans Zimmer as the voice of Ridley Scott’s movie Hannibal.

Danni has recorded four solo albums, with her debut album seeing her named New Artist of the Year at the 2008 Echo Awards and nominated for the 2009 Classical Brit Award for Female Artist of the Year. She regularly presents the BBC Proms. Offstage, she is passionate about music education and inclusivity, and is an advocate for children’s rights, as well as for protecting our planet for the future as an Ambassador for WFN.

Tom Heap

Television and radio presenter Tom Heap is an investigative journalist on BBC1’s Countryfile, presenter on Sky News’ The Climate Show with Tom Heap and the principal voice of BBC Radio 4’s Costing the Earth.

He is a regular Panorama reporter covering food, farming, energy and wildlife, and author of 39 Ways to Save the Planet, which accompanied his BBC Radio 4 series exploring 39 innovations that address the current climate crises. Tom is a WFN Ambassador, and has featured Whitley Award winners on his Sky News’ Climate Show, and Radio 4’s Costing the Earth.


Dominique Palmer is a Climate Justice Activist, Speaker, Storyteller, Writer, and advocate of slow fashion based in the U.K. She is on the Steering Committee for the Youth Climate Justice Fund- the first global youth led climate fund, and on the Youth Council for New Zero World.

Dominique became an environmentalist after discovering how air pollution was impacting her community, and started her journey in climate action. The same year she was involved in organising the September 2019 climate strikes which brought 300,000 people on the streets in the U.K, and inspiring people across the world to take climate action. She was named in Forbes 2020 Top U.K Environmentalists List for her work, and in 2023, she was honoured as a ‘Young Leader’ at the Green Carpet Fashion Awards.

Dominique is a recent graduate student of the University of Birmingham studying Political Science and International Relations. She has featured in Guardian film “Whose Job is it To Save the Planet?” and appeared in publications including British Vogue, New York Times, BBC, National Geographic and Washington Post. Other outreach work includes hosting a panel at Overheated with Billie Eilish at the O2, recording a song for earth day with Swedish Grammy-winning artist, Titiyo, and hosting a ‘Climate Joy and Optimism’ event at London’s Southbank Centre.


John Fraher is Senior Executive Editor for Business, Finance and Climate at Bloomberg News. Overseeing more than 430 reporters and editors, John has a special interest in climate change and in how technology is disrupting business around the world. Previously, John ran Bloomberg’s coverage of global politics and has reported on economics, markets and European governments. He studied German and Modern History at University College, Oxford.

Dan O’Neill

Image credit: Ben Harris

Dan O’Neill is a wildlife television presenter, film director, zoologist, creative producer and LGBTQIA+ activist. His background as a field biologist has equipped him with an extensive knowledge of rainforest biodiversity and survival skills, particularly in the Neotropics.

Dan directed and presented ‘Last Eden: Guyana’ which documented their journey. Since then, the documentary has been distributed across Europe by Viasat Nature. Through his experiences, Dan is developing an international understanding of how the wildlife trade affects local people, conservation and its connection to areas of conflict.

In early 2020, he travelled to the rebel-occupied red zone of western Mindanao to learn the conservation story of the most endangered raptor on the planet, the Philippine eagle. His film, ‘Queen of Birds’ which documented his journey has been viewed more than 2 million times around the world. He is returning to Mindanao in early 2023 on expedition with the Philippine Eagle Foundation (an organisation funded by WFN) & local indigenous leaders to rehabilitation.

Inka Cresswell

Inka Cresswell is a Wildlife filmmaker/photographer and passionate ocean conservationist. After studying a Degree in Marine Biology and practising in the field, Inka went on to complete a Master’s in Wildlife Filmmaking. Her first film ‘MY 25: The Ocean Between Us’ which explored the complexities of marine protected areas and coral restoration was selected as a finalist at the Jackson Wild, United Nations and CITES World Wildlife Day biodiversity Showcase and Wildscreen Official Selection.

As an active advocate and filmmaker in the Ocean conservation space, Inka has delivered keynotes and panel discussions at Ultramarine, Sea 7, Wildscreen, Jackson Wild, Blue Earth Summit, Ocean Heroes Bootcamp as well as several universities. Her Goal is to make ocean conservation more accessible and to produce documentaries that share the beauty and wonder of our natural world whilst educating a new generation of ocean conservationists.

Jonathon Porritt

Jonathon Porritt is an eminent writer and campaigner on sustainable development. For the last 30 years, Jonathon has provided strategic advice to leading UK and international companies to deepen their understanding of today’s converging environmental and climate crises. He is also focused on intergenerational justice, supporting young people in their activities around sustainable development issues as they face a future defined by the twin crises of the Climate Emergency and Biodiversity Emergency.

In 1996, he co-founded Forum for the Future, a leading international sustainable development charity, working with business and civil society to accelerate the shift toward a sustainable future.

Jonathon was formerly Co-Chair of the Green Party (1980-83) and Director of Friends of the Earth (1984-90). He stood down as Chair of the UK Sustainable Development Commission in 2009, after nine years providing high-level advice to Government Ministers, and served a ten-year term as Chancellor of Keele University (2012-2022).

Jonathon was awarded a CBE in January 2000 for services to environmental protection. His latest book, Hope in Hell (Simon & Schuster, 2020, revised 2021) is a powerful ‘call to action’ on the Climate Emergency.

Hanli Prinsloo

Image credit: Peter Marshall

Hanli Prinsloo is a multiple South African freediving record holder and Founder/ CEO of I AM WATER Ocean Conservation. With a background in social political documentary filmmaking, Hanli has travelled the world seeking and telling stories of transformation, hope and inspiration. Her personal quest to freedive with marine megafauna has resulted in numerous exhibitions, films and articles about the human/animal connection.

Growing up on a horse farm in rural South Africa her love of nature and the need of wilderness experiences were instilled at an early age. Focusing on her sport, she excelled at competitive freediving and is a sought-after coach having worked with professional rugby players, cyclists, runners, big wave surfers and corporate leaders.

At present, Hanli’s energy is channelled into ocean conservation through human experience, reconnecting people with nature through the innovative I AM WATER ocean workshops offered to underserved coastal communities globally. She is also the co-founder of acclaimed adventure travel company I AM WATER Ocean Travel.


Luxmy Gopal is a BBC News presenter and reporter. During her BBC career, she has worked in national and regional news, in TV and radio, and for current affairs programmes. She is currently seen hosting weekend shows for BBC Breakfast, presenting live rolling news on the BBC News Channel, and both reporting and presenting for BBC London News.

While broadcasting is her passion, her earliest ambition as a young child was to follow in the footsteps of Sir David Attenborough, sparked by an interest in his documentaries, combined with a love of wildlife. While the documentary-filmmaker ship may have sailed, her keen interest in wildlife – particularly big cats – endures.

Glyn Davies

Glyn Davies is a Professor at Durrell Institute for Conservation and Ecology. He has been a leader in forest conservation and sustainable development policy and practice for 40 years, having been Director of Conservation Programmes at WWF UK and Zoological Society of London.

Glyn spent 12 years living and working in Africa, 8 years in Asia and most recently spent 5 years in Borneo (Sabah State, East Malaysia), developing a living landscape approach to wildlife conservation, sustainable food production and restoration of ecological corridors.


Alice Thomson is a columnist and interviewer at The Times. A former Times trainee, she became a foreign correspondent, feature writer and political reporter for the paper before moving to The Telegraph as a columnist, restaurant reviewer and leader writer. She has written for Vogue, The Spectator and appeared on Question Time and Newsnight.

Alice returned to The Times in 2008 and was chosen as the interviewer of the year at the Press Gazette British Journalism Awards in 2022. She is the co-author with Rachel Sylvester of What I Wish I’d Known When I Was Young: The Inspirational New Book About the Art and Science of Growing Up, and co-host of the Past Imperfect podcast on Times Radio.

Hollie Booth

Shark scientist Hollie Booth completed her PhD on ‘Interdisciplinary approaches to shark and ray conservation’ at the University of Oxford in 2021. Her work focused on understanding the socio-economic drivers of shark fishing and designing effective and equitable interventions in small-scale fisheries in Indonesia.

Collaborating with local stakeholders to solve complex conservation challenges, her research centres on applying methods that aim to deliver biodiversity and well-being outcomes in parallel. Hollie’s current research project at Oxford University’s Department of Biology builds on her PhD, and focuses on designing, implementing, and evaluating incentive-based approaches for marine biodiversity and human well-being outcomes in small-scale fisheries in collaboration with local NGOs and students. She also works as Nature Positive Technical Director for The Biodiversity Consultancy, advising private sector companies on mitigating the impacts of their value chains on nature and investing in nature restoration and recovery. Her work has seen her awarded the Society for Conservation Biology Early Career Researcher award (2022) and the Zoological Society of London Marsh Award for Marine & Freshwater Conservation (2023).

A first-generation PhD from a low income background, Hollie is passionate about equity and diversity in science, and she is particularly  interested in promoting participation of women, local people, minority groups, and people from low-income backgrounds in conservation and academia.

Sam Sinclair

Dr Sam Sinclair is a co-founder and director of Biodiversify, a consultancy which specialises in developing landscape-level plans for nature and supporting the private sector in developing nature-positive strategies.

Sam spent a decade working in conservation across Africa which culminated in a PhD at Imperial College London where he studied the social factors in biodiversity decision making. He drew from this expertise to help lead Biodiversify to the forefront of biodiversity sustainability. So far this has included authoring the first ever guidance for creating private sector biodiversity strategies, supporting the UK government in piloting key aspects of The Environment Act and partnering with companies that are pioneering in the nature positive space.

Nick Gates

Nick Gates is a naturalist, author and filmmaker who has a passion for communicating the challenges that global nature faces by finding creative storytelling methods that reach a wide range of audiences. He is particularly keen on sharing knowledge around our food system and the solutions that allow food to be produced alongside nature, recently directing the Hungry For Change film for RSPB, WWF and The National Trust.

Nick co-authored the award-winning book Orchard which looks at wildlife-friendly farming. Prior to this he was a Producer Director on the BBC’s Wild Isles series and he’s currently working on a major Netflix series. Nick has worked closely with WFN for 10 years and is a strong supporter of their frontline, grassroots approach to conservation. Nick read Natural Sciences at Cambridge.



Book your tickets

We have 4 types of ticket available via Eventbrite

  • 2-day pass: £150 price includes full access to the summit across both days, including evening events, afternoon networking sessions, and drinks and canapé reception.
  • 1-day pass: £95 price includes full access to the summit for your chosen day, including evening event, afternoon networking session, and drinks and canapé reception.
  • Evening pass: £35 price includes the evening session, with drinks and nibbles available beforehand (please note there are 2 evening events taking place, 6th and 7th November)

To ensure you receive your ticket, please enter the individual email addresses of each person attending when booking your ticket through Eventbrite.

Discounted tickets

Tickets are available at a discount of 30% if you are:

  • A full-time student
  • Under the age of 26
  • Over the age of 65
  • Unemployed or supported by welfare

Enter code NATURE30 at the Eventbrite checkout to access this discount.