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Luke Howkins and his wife smile at the camera and stand together on top of a large boulder in front of a mountain capped in snow. The sun shines above in the cloudless blue sky.

Hiking helps: an interview with a fundraiser

We spoke with Luke about his high altitude climate action.

It’s not news to you that we are running our first ever physical fundraiser event, the Race for Rainforest. If you want to glean insight about how to promote, train and importantly, have fun in such an event you’re in the right place.

We spoke with Luke Howkins who had barely caught his breath after an expedition to Machu Picchu with his wife, Laine, raising cash to fund people-first rainforest action.

Luke and his wife, Laine, take a selfie in front of Machu Picchu, both have big smiles on their face.

What was your motivation for your fundraiser, can you tell us a little about it?

Machu Picchu has been on my bucket list for a long time. I thought I could do some good with the time as well as having fun. I talked with HR at and they agreed they would match £500, which was even better!

Did you do a lot of training before you started your challenge?

Not too much real training. I tried to walk everywhere in London that was 1hour or less, this came mainly from COVID and not going on the tube. I also planned a 4-day hike from Bath to Gloucester a month before, over the 4day bank holiday.

How did you find the trek?

The trek went surprisingly smooth. They fed us so well, which helped keep high energy.

The hardest part was the altitude. You really notice the shortness of breath at 4,000m+ altitude. Just taking a drink of water would take a while to catch your breath back from.

A photo of mountains taken by Luke Howkins. Clouds hang over the tip of the mountain range in the distance. In the forefront a waterfall can be seen bursting from the mountain side.What was your favourite part?

On Day 4 there was a beautiful view where you could see Machu Picchu in the distance for the first time. There was also a waterfall in the distance which in the same day we walked past, which put into perspective how far we had walked in that one day.

Do you have three top tips for people taking on a challenge like yours?

Take the suggested acclimatisation suggestions seriously. One person in our group arrived the night before and really struggled with altitude sickness.

Make sure you have the right kit. Good walking shoes and hiking poles really help.

Chat with the others in the group. Getting to know the rest of the group made time fly, and interesting to learn about other cultures and next travel plans.

Luke and Laine stand behind the Montana Machu Picchu sign 3061.28 meters above sea level, they were walking gear and smile at the camera.

Why was Cool Earth selected as your charity to support?

I believe that climate change is a big problem that we face.

I liked the idea of locals know best as well.

Luckily we were on the hike when the UK hit 40c, but the rising temp to me is a clear sign of the problem we are causing.

How easy has it been to involve others and fundraise?

The fundraiser wasn’t too difficult. I’ve donated to enough friends’ fundraisers over the last couple of years that they kindly returned the favour. Just need to be persistent in reminding people, and start early.

Any top tips for other people thinking of fundraising?

Casually drop the link in messages to groups. I play in sports teams and I told them I could not make it next week as I’m out of the country and then shared the link with them.

Feeling inspired? Ready to take on your own challenge? Want to support people first climate action? 

Join Luke as a Climate Champion and fundraise for us