'A greener planet every day'

01-10-2019

In 2017 a ship called New Nexus sailed from Groningen for a journey around the world. On board were two enterprising men planning to complete this journey using solar, wind and hydro energy, clearing up and recycling plastic waste as they travelled. 

Two years ago, two enterprising men from Groningen set sail for a journey around the world on a sailing ship called New Nexus. They are travelling round the world on a ship powered by wind, water and sun, clearing up and recycling plastic waste together with local communities and schools, as they travel. Back then, GasTerra decided to support this “green” initiative (4Green Foundation). The sailors are now halfway through their journey and this is a good time to show how the project is going. You can read a report written by both captains, Niels Tammeling and Tjerk Zweers, below.

We've been sailing around the world self-sufficiently since September 2017. We are reliant on the wind, water and sun for all the power we use every day. The solar panels have generated most of our energy during the whole journey because we've not had a lot of wind. We're also still using the electric motor to power the ship without any problem; we've got no choice as our back-up diesel engine and generator have both been broken since January 2019.  We haven't been using gas on board since our departure either and we cook on an induction hob. If there's no wind and not much sun we have to live a bit more frugally, but usually it's fine and works out well.

As well as living self-sufficiently, we recycle plastic waste; we do this with local primary schools and local residents. Wherever we travel with the ship we look for beaches covered with plastic waste. We clear a section of the beach together and take the plastic with us for recycling. First the children are given a presentation and watch a video to learn how to live self-sufficiently. Then we talk about the plastic waste problem and we recycle the plastic with the children, using two machines that we have on board; the shredder and the solar oven. First of all the children have to grind the plastic through the shredder by turning a big wheel. The plastic is then put into a large press which goes into our solar oven.

The result is a colourful flowerpot made using plastic waste and solar energy. We leave one flowerpot for the classroom; the other flowerpots go to the Netherlands to support lessons there. One of our high points was in Panama, where we were allowed to go out with the children of an Indian tribe to collect and recycle plastic together. Recently we've visited primary schools in Tahiti and Palmerston, in the coming week two primary schools in Tonga are expecting us.

In the meantime, primary schools in the North Netherlands are receiving special ‘New Nexus lessons’ during this school year in collaboration with Groningen Schoon Dankzij Mij ("I'm keeping Groningen clean"). This gives the schoolchildren the opportunity to make contact with the schools that we're visiting. The classes send videos to each other, show what sorts of plastic waste they come across and tell each other how they tackle the problem. It's quite exciting and interesting for the children to make contact with each other and learn from each other. Each school we visit is also marked on the world map on our website so that they can see where their school is situated in the world

Secondary school students at technasiums throughout the Netherlands are also helping us again this year by thinking of ways we can live more sustainably. They're working on technical areas where the aim is to become more self-sufficient. There is also the opportunity to work on assignments involving ideas for different objects to be made from plastic waste with our solar oven. We are currently receiving lots of applications and we're really busy inspiring students to come up with wonderful and sustainable solutions.

Our ship New Nexus is currently berthed in Tonga. In two weeks we will be leaving for New Zealand where we will spend the hurricane season and make preparations for the second half of the journey. The ship will be fully monitored from 2020, thanks to start-up company Envitron, enabling everyone to experience the ship and its self-sufficiency from the Netherlands. We're already working very hard with the Dutch Embassy in New Zealand on a major project to be set up in the coming year. We have also already contacted schools in Papua New Guinea, the Moluccas, Australia and Sri Lanka for 2020.

Would you like more information about the project? Then visit the online project description at https://www.4greenfoundation.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Projectomschrijving-4GF.pdf or the website www.4greenfoundation.com.

Warmest regards,
The whole team at 4Green Foundation