On Tuesday 15th June Green Gang managed to sneak a little visit on board the '2041-Voyage for Cleaner Energy' moored in Cardiff Bay. We only found out about the boat and it's important work by accident and so asked them if we could visit and learn more. They were delighted that we wanted to spread their important messages on sustainability.
The purpose of the voyage is to highlight the need to protect Antarctica from exploitation when the current international treaty doing that expires in 2041. The terrible oil spill in the Gulf has probably highlighted the ecological risks all too well and politicians are slowly starting to realise the economic risks of being so dependant on fossil fuels. The boat therefore tries to highlight that there are sustainable alternative energy sources and 'lead by example'.
Conor showed us a short DVD on the ships owner explorer Robert Swan OBE (we had asked to interview him in September as part of the Scott centenary). Robert Swan was the first explorer to walked unaided to both poles and has seen first hand the effect of pollution on the poles. We often use his quote “The biggest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.” to inspire the children to action.
There is a lovely little video here of Robert onboard the 2041 in Cardiff doing a short interview explaining all about the voyage - well worth watching! Sadly he was off somewhere on the bike when we called in at the boat.
The boat has wind turbines that powered the TV, DVD and all the electrical systems onboard, these were supplemented by solar panels. Even the phones onboard were being charged by solar chargers. The lights were low energy LED's that did not need as much energy as a standard bulb.
The boat has sails but uses engines that are powered by bio diesel this is a sustainable fuel that can be grown, it does not produce as much waste as diesel.
The sails are made from recycled PET coke bottles in fact 20,000 of them! Laura also told us that they had been given the first ever solar panel sail to test out by our friends at G24i who make printed solar panels (it is a small world). They also used plant alcohol to fuel the stove another sustainable fuel! (Mr Jones admitted that he often used a glass of wine whilst cooking too!)
Laura had given us a tour of the boat, we all liked the cabins and the bunks that you needed to strap yourself into in rough weather in case you got tipped out of bed. We saw the 'head' or loo that also doubled as a shower, you had to pump out the water using a hand pump and we joked that it therefore doubled as a gym too!
Whilst down the bay we had a quick look at HMS Scott that was visiting as part of the centenary of Cpt Scott's departure from Cardiff on the Terra Nova on its way to the Antarctic and his legendary race to be the first at the South Pole. The reason for that visit was because the coal had been donated by businesses in the area, at that time the coal industry had made Cardiff one of the busiest and richest ports in the World. ( The first Million Pound cheque was signed in 1909 at the nearby coal exchange in Cardiff)
Coal was described as black gold, or as 'King Coal', but all the best coal has been dug up and burnt, another fossil fuel oil took over the role as King but that is due to start running out within the next decade or two. All of these have greatly added to pollution and the problem of Global Warming, we cannot go on living as a world in such an unsustainable world. We must find alternative cleaner ways of producing energy and using it and products in a more sustainable way.
As we left Laura showed us out and said goodbye she spotted some litter blowing past that someone had dropped from the many restaurants around the bay, she immediately went across picked it up and put it in the bin. This is not Laura's city, it's not her rubbish and 'there are cleaners paid to do it' but the whole point of the voyage is that they lead by example, and what a great example they were for Green Gang and the whole school. Why not follow their example and make a difference by following some of their suggestions such as:-
~Lead by example.
~Get informed and make changes.
~Commit and stay committed.
~Use your vote, have a voice.
~Reduce the amount of stuff you use.
~Reuse as much as possible before throwing things away.
~Recycle everything you can.
Earlier in the year the boat was at the Copenhagen conference that we all had such high hopes for, and is off to South Africa for the ones in Durban.