Emily Penn is an expedition leader and oceans advocate with extensive exploration experience in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. You might remember her from the intro video shown before Apple’s WWDC keynote Monday.
Apple is famously selective about the people they feature in their promotional material — and Penn has an impressive résumé. After graduating with a degree in Architecture from Cambridge, she spent a year as Operations Manager aboard the record-breaking biofueled powerboat Earthrace, where she traveled 25,000 miles, visited 120 cities, and ran a campaign to promote the use of alternative fuels.
In 2010 she hitchhiked across the Pacific Ocean on freighter ships to the United States, where she worked with the 5 Gyres Institute in California on the first ever comprehensive study of plastic in the world’s oceans. Another sailing voyage led Penn to co-found a new organisation — Pangaea Explorations — which takes normal people, journalists, artists, and scientists to remote parts of the world to study critical environmental issues like coral reef biodiversity and plastic pollution, according to her website. “The ocean, for me, is the lungs of our planet. The health of the ocean is absolutely essential to the health of us as human beings,” Penn says. “Pangaea runs a sailing expedition vessel to help scientists collect marine debris all around the world.”
At 23, she became the first woman to become Yachtmaster of the Year, awarded by HRH Princess Royal in recognition of Penn’s skills and expertise as a skipper. Penn has since led several scientific expeditions on Pangaea’s 72ft sailing boat Sea Dragon.
Penn’s next step is to return to the Pacific to develop a zero-waste system for a line of remote islands, and she’s using Apple products to do it.
Penn says: “There’s a variety of apps I use everyday: iNavX is essential for us to be able to navigate the vessel. Marine Debris Tracker allows you to enter the marine debris you find into a global database so we can start to build a bigger picture of this problem around the world. I think these apps are essential to allow us to bring change to what’s going on in the ocean.”
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