Chris Allen's #MyBiosphere

In a series of articles in Manx Life magazine, produced by Mannin Media, authors from different walks of Manx life write about what makes the Isle of Man special to them. The August 2018 article is penned by President of the Chamber of Commerce Chris Allen.

The UNESCO Biosphere status awarded to the Isle of Man as a country has been a disappointingly well-kept secret until recently, yet it offers so much to business and residents alike.

The Isle of Man Chamber of Commerce has joined as a partner to help promote this prestigious award.

While supporting businesses, Chamber also values the beautiful environment in which we all thrive and supports the biosphere theme of commerce working in harmony with the culture and environment in which we are located.

I have heard commentators dubious about the biosphere award, using examples of environmentally unfriendly activity. However, Biosphere is not about being environmentally perfect. It is about attitude to the values of biosphere and our future trajectory and vison for the Isle of Man.

It is also not just about environmental protection, but includes preservation of culture and heritage, living sympathetically with all of these things and keeping our Island a special place to live, work and visit.

From my own experience I can relate to the values of biosphere. I have experienced what life is like beyond our shores and have the comparators which really reinforce just how special life here is.

Before moving to the Island in 1999, I spent many years living and working in busy cities of the UK and Europe, with a working day that was extended at both ends by significant commuting time, invariably made worse by frequent traffic jams and hold-ups.

I also found that you could be very anonymous in a city, with most people having little time for one another. Life was fast-paced, with a work-life balance that favoured employers and the ceaseless grind of the daily commute.

For holidays and relaxation, I sought the peace of the great outdoors, with country and seaside retreats high on my list of destinations.

The standing joke about landing at Ronaldsway and the cabin crew advising you to adjust your watch back 50 years was, for me, one of the alluring elements of moving to the Isle of Man.

Manx people are very welcoming with a strong moral compass and still value and embrace the community spirit that has, in many cases, long since been lost in the UK.

The passion to protect cultural traditions and to keep the Manx language alive portrays a strong and proud national identity.

The scenic beauty, with planning laws to appropriately protect it and with investment in place or in planning to better it, is there to be marvelled at and enjoyed.

Maybe for some these measures do not go far enough but the intentions are there, as and when we can afford them. We are, after all, only a relatively tiny community here, in funding terms. Nonetheless, the Isle of Man prospers on a world stage, our productivity is comparable with that of larger countries and yet we still manage to get that balance of working to live rather than living for work.

I have a good job, in a world-class business, and I can live in the countryside and have sea views on my short commute, which gives me time to enjoy my hobbies and my family life.

Life is so much better here.

Posted up on 15th August 2018


If you love the Isle of Man and want to help keep it special, there are a variety of ways to get involved in UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man projects. Here are a few suggestions.

Please help us spread the word about Biosphere Isle of Man!