Scientist / Environmentalist / Musician
Matthew’s mission is to make science as accessible as oxygen, for the broadest possible audience, to ignite curiosity, inspire courageous thinking, and empower individuals to drive positive change and combat environmental destruction.
In 2019, Matthew organised for 1,000 trees to arrive outside the UK parliament in an action called #ReforestEarth. Over 400 members of parliament (2/3 of all members), came to collect a tree with their name on and to hear the science. Four weeks later, the three biggest political parties announced pledges based on the action’s demands, multiplying tree-planting plans by factors of tens to hundreds. All major parties directly referenced the action as inspiration. In the words of MP Caroline Lucas “what better way to reach the hearts of MPs?”
Matthew has given talks for the likes of TEDx London, UN Ops, the British-Portuguese Chamber of Commerce, Extinction Rebellion, the Wildlife Trust and schools around the world. He has been interviewed by Piers Morgan, appeared on the BBC’s Today Programme, Blue Peter, ITV News, Comedy Central, sold out solo talks across the UK, and filled tents at festivals from Bestival to Shambala.
His work on camera has included sailing across the North Sea to document plastic pollution for the Plastic Oceans Foundation (the film Plastic In The Air was trending on News.com.au and VICE in January), uncovering the story of Bulgaria’s last wild rivers for Patagonia, retracing the steps of Darwin across the Andes, and collaborating with East African farming communities in Benin for the French Research Institute For Development.
Matthew began communicating science with an online series called Science In The Bath which has now had over 25M views across platforms. Whilst most views occurred on Facebook, he is now most active on Instagram and YouTube. Eclectic topics range from wave-particle duality and gravitational waves to the science of breakfast and hymen biology. His audience spans young and old; science enthusiasts and people who “hated science at school”.
Matthew is a member of 1% For The Planet, the Patagonia’s Change Makers Community, a Rita Allen Fellow of the Science Media Awards & Summit, editorial advisor to the World Congress of Science & Factual Producers, and ambassador for Rising Forests. His podcast, A Piece of String, is supported by QI co-founder, John Mitchinson.
In 2018, Matthew began #NoBeef, to campaign for schools and universities to stop serving beef and lamb. Numerous universities and schools have now joined the campaign, and the launch video has been viewed almost 2M times on Facebook, reaching and converting a broad audience with its accessible, non-judgemental style. The campaign has been featured in BBC News and The Sunday Times.
#NoBeef is supported by Peter Gabriel, Paul McCartney, the University of Cambridge, Goldsmiths University and Harvard’s Planetary Health Alliance. Matthew is now advising the UK government’s National Food Strategy Team, and campaigning for rural communities to be well supported technologically and financially, as diets shift. In 2019, Matthew founded the campaign group Planet A, to accelerate action to combat the climate and ecological crisis.
Besides science and environmentalism, Matthew has written and recorded music supported by BBC Radio 1, The Times, The Guardian and NME, and performed on numerous festival stages. His musical stage name is Ash Lad.