“The pessimist complains about the wind, the optimist hopes it will turn, the realist straightens the sail.” (S.W.Ward)
Humans drink two billion cups of coffee every day. I am happily one of them. The Avontuur sails across the Atlantic to promote social change and environmental sustainability in the shipping industry. Clean and emission-free trade is our goal. Up to 114 tons of cargo can be loaded on the Avontuur. We reached our first stopover, Tenerife, after 37 days under sail at sea.
All 15 onboard are floating the thought “Mission Zero” in their minds since the beginning of the expedition. How do we consume properly? Which trade routes are sustainable in the future? What price do we pay for our consumption? Other people don’t drink coffee but still manage to survive and seem to be happy and healthy. What is the price behind our coffee? What does quality mean?
The world market price is around $1.06 per pound of green coffee, a reasonable price would be at least two and a half times that. The producers are still being exploited and their prices are being squeezed (film tip “Cheap coffee” – YouTube). The result is the destruction of our environment, our livelihood.
Do we extend our elbows so far that all following generations must suffer from our enjoyment? Currently, more than 90 percent of global trade is conducted via container shipping. Container giants (heavy oil-powered freighters) pass our sailing ship every day loaded with thousands of containers. They are probably loaded with toys, clothing, everyday objects, shrink-wrapped or injected products from overseas. Also, with fine products like cocoa and coffee beans.
The shipping industry still has a long way to go in order to bring about urgently needed changes towards environmentally conscious action. Since 1 January 2020, the IMO (International Maritime Organisation, measures of the International Maritime Organisation to reduce marine pollution) has come into force. It was launched in 2014 and after 15 years has taken a small step in the right direction. A tough, long process. With immediate effect, fuels with a maximum sulphur content of 0.5 percent may be used in industrial shipping. Previously the sulphur upper limit was 3.5 percent. This content is still a hundred times higher than the current value for our truck and car operations. The implementation of the IMO will only slightly improve the ecological footprint and is a short-term solution. According to the IMO, CO2 emissions in the shipping industry will increase by 50% to 250% by 2050. This puts us at a crossroads. We can and must react faster, more consciously and realistically to our growing hunger for consumption.
A song from my childhood comes to mind: “Plants die, people die, animals die too. The life we live is just a tiny breeze. We don’t just want to be lazy and sit in the corner. We want to go outside, sweat and protect our environment”, written by the pupils of the Saaleschule. Our children wish to take active action for the better.
Are we ready to get rid of old habits and evaluate new ways, new possibilities?
Conditions worth living for all. Our sense may and must be directed towards the preservation, protection and reconstruction of our environment, with all its creatures. New career perspectives would be a positive side effect, a sustainable society would be the consequence. Distribution is not only a question of trade routes; it is about the existence of all. How big can the desire become? For a clean future, a dignified treatment of all creatures on this earth. A balancing act towards the consciousness that we can achieve if we want to. For a balanced existence, it is necessary to rediscover the appreciation of our resources, oceans, natural forces, animal and plant life.
What is the beginning?
A challenge with a role model effect that is still in its infancy. Sailing freight using the example of our Voyage 5, a project that is currently undergoing further development and relies on the support of a consciously acting society (trade partners and consumers). I am on the way with the Avontuur, the only sailing freighter in Germany. We do not shy away from any challenge for a clean environment, a future worth living.
The coffee, cocoa, and rum of organic origin, with personal trade relations and fair prices for the producers. In six months, it will be time for me and Jens Klein (owner of Café Chavalo) to drink and enjoy coffee on land again.
Back at the helm, “Peggy, all hands on deck, the wind direction has changed, realign sails”.
Thank you for supporting TIMBERCOAST and Café Chavalo.
Podcast – The green A – Grüner Fortschritt
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