Plastic bottle boat
The countdown has started to the launch of the Plastiki. In April 2009, David de Rothschild and a crew of scientists and creatives will set sail from San Francisco, destination Sydney, Australia. It's a journey of 12,000 nautical miles across the Pacific Ocean, unremarkable except for the fact that the Plastiki is made out of plastic bottles tethered together, and recycled waste material.
The name Plastiki is inspired by Thor Heyerdal's famous 1947 expedition on the Kon-Tiki, but this voyage is no historical re-enactment. It's more about our future. De Rothschild is trying to draw attention to the environmental mess that humans have created by being frivolous with our natural resources. The boat's journey will take in Hawaii, Fiji and Tuvalu (threatened with rising water levels), but also the notorious Eastern Pacific Garbage Patch, created by the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre.
Everything on board the 60-foot catamaran, except for its metal masts, is made from recycled plastic, and it's powered entirely by wind. The mission is to show what can be achieved through sustainable design and being smart (rather than wanton) with waste. It should be a fascinating journey. RM
Images: Adventure Ecology