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Keynote speaker – Monty Halls

London 2023 Conference 3-4 November 2023 - Climate for Change

Blog by Rita Leaman, SI Scarborough, Malton & District 

See Monty’s fantastic Instagram Reel about his visit to the Soroptimist Conference –

Due to a late cancellation, Monty Halls, was given one day’s notice to give a presentation on Friday morning. He started his presentation with a humorous explanation, as to his slightly casual appearance. As a younger man, Monty was a Royal Marine for ten years. He found that when he ran up beaches in training, he was more interested in the natural life found on the beach. On leaving the Marines, Monty trained as a Marine Biologist.


He has two young daughters and with his wife, travelled to the Galapagos Island to film their adventures for a TV series, while developing a conservation project, Generation Sea Change. While the majority of people that Monty worked with used to be men, in recent years he has seen a growth in women scientists. This pleases him no end, especially in view of having two daughters, who are confronted with negative messages about climate change every day. He wants them to grow up knowing that they have an equal share in marine conservation. There is certainly a rise in young women interested in conservation. 


As part of his life experiences, he trained to be a coastal fisherman and discovered that while the fisherfolk are primarily male, the onshore communities are held together by strong women. Another observation was from his time spent by the ocean off Western Australia. The indigenous First Nations respect their environment and pass on their wisdom from generation to generation. 


We must never give up and Monty gave a metaphor of why getting young people involved in conservation is so important. A large elephant was chained to a stake and the owners were asked why the elephant hadn’t pulled the stake out of the ground. The answer was that the elephant tried hard to escape when it was small, but eventually gave up trying. 


Generation Sea Change is now promoting a Blue Box scheme, to encourage coastal communities with conservation. SI Programme Director, Lindsay Green made a suggestion that the Soroptimists could perhaps become a partner in the initiative. 


Through his conservation work, Monty has met many famous people, but his best role model is his mother. A Yorkshire woman, now 84 and still going strong. 


Rita Leaman

SI Scarborough, Malton & District