Ra’iatea, Wednesday 5th of August 2009
Topics of the day*: Goodbye Ra’iatea, freight ship, travelling, people, health and safety, alternative propulsion systems for ships
Today I solved my computer problems and read a bit. We said goodbye to everyone and went downtown twice – the Taporo didn’t take us on board but luckily the Hawaiki Nui. It was quite amusing to see how the freight ship was reloaded with containers and wooden pallets – a true forklift-truck-ballet. I’ve never seen Polynesians so extremely speedy and efficient! A few times I thought they were going to crash into each other but the crew seems to be a well-oiled team. Ra’iatea exports white sand, rocks and empty water- and gas bottles to Tahiti (among other things hidden in containers)… not sure if I should comment on whether this seems sensible or not…
The sea was nice and calm so we slept on the deck of the ship (underneath the stars – I even recognized Orion which made me think of Egyptian precision and how snotnosed mankind is – wanting to construct the heavens on earth…). Most other people (locals) slept in an area under a roof on their “peue” (traditional straw/bast mats) really close together (they’re not as fussy and sure don’t have haptephobia as most people at home). I guesstimate that there were at least 30 non-crewmembers on the freight ship, which is actually only allowed to carry 12 passengers – I find it quite relaxing that some of the pointless health and safety regulations are simply ignored (yes, some of them do make sense but such rules can also lead to obsession and overcomplicate life).
Final thoughts of the day: I’m so glad we didn’t get seasick again on the other hand I regretted not travelling in an eco-friendly manner and pictured the freight ship using a different means of propulsion like copra (or other) oil (from sustainable source) supported by SkySails (gigantic parachute that can cut the fuel consumption by 30 percent) or something even better that doesn’t make as much noise as an engine like Flettner-rotors (big turning cylinders on the deck that exploit the wind in order to propel the boat forward – only disadvantage: they need wind (doh) but if we decelerate our stressful lives a bit – we’ve got time to wait for the wind :).
*encouraged by Jens – thanks 🙂
Ra’iatea, Thursday 6th of August 2009
Topics of the day: moving, Thede, 100% renewables in Maupiti, actions instead of words, eco-dictatorship or grassroots democracy?
After our arrival in Pape’ete (we stopped by at the customs post to say Iaorana to our friend Carlos) we went to see Tanja (Ta’ina’s sister) and ask about the key to the apartment. Tai’na’s son’s friends apparently took it with them to Honolulu – we can pick it up and move to the center of Pape’ete sometime next week. Then we went “home” to the hill to even out our sleep debt a bit and get in touch with some of the contacts whom we want to meet (we have quite a bit to catch up on).
In the afternoon we went back downtown to meet a Thede (a german “wind-power-pioneer” (as he calls himself) from Dithmarschen (a “100% region” in Northern Germany) who arrived here shortly after us and has quite a bit of experience with renewables). He has big plans for Maupiti and wanted to know if he could count on us.
He was working with a group of people planning wind turbines. One day back in 1984 he got sick of all the talking and planning and ifs and buts so he decided to build one himself. He really seems like a hands-on person and an optimist. When I kept trying to throw in my “but…”’s into the conversation, he kept on talking and remarked that “paper is patient” and our study would just be another piece of paper that would sit and rot somewhere on a big pile and never be looked at. I felt slightly offended (him trampling around on our plans like that) but I must admit that a practical start needs to be made in order to motivate people and show them that renewables work.
He wants to start in Maupiti: replace all old (inefficient) fridges (with A++ ones), lighting and vehicles (with electric cars and scooters) and install solar panels. When I pointed out that the batteries aren’t exactly eco-friendly and by using a range of renewables (at least incorporating wind and/or wave power) the amount of storage capacity needed could be reduced, I noted that he thought I was too pessimistic…
Thede gave us a project plan (I shall have a proper look at it when my eyes are a bit further open) and a few books (one of them being Dirk’s first book (GO! Die Ökodiktatur) that won the german science fiction prize – I just thought the other day that I’d really like to read it – after shopping (Manuel offered to take us home with him but he didn’t show up so) we had to wait for an hour (Manuel definitely works too much) – so I got a chance to start reading: I must say most of the 12 ground rules** in this eco-dictatorship are quite sensible).
Final thoughts of the day: Working and living with the same person 24-7 can get quite exhausting – unfortunately my tolerance seems to have decayed proportional to the time we’ve been travelling together. There was a bit more harmony at the start – wonder if/how it can be restored back to the initial level…
1. The dignity of Earth is inviolable
2. Genetic modification (of plants, animals or humans) is prohibited
3. Everyone (age 18-55) is obliged to work (on the ecological restoration)
4. All conventional means of payment cease to be valid – the government provides basic (vegetarian) nutrition, clothing and housing space
5. Private media are banned; the Public Records Office serves as source for information
6. Protection of plants and animals (slaughterhouses, zoos or animal testing facilities are closed)
7. Construction is prohibited (existing buildings are maintained according to needs)
8. Travelling is interdicted (all private vehicles are to be handed in to the local authorities)
9. Electricity and water are rationed. Energy needs are covered by biogas, solar-, wind and hydropower.
10. Every female (age 18-30) has the right to have one child.
11. The government supports communal living of its people in autarkic meditation communes
12. When a ground rule is broken, the perpetrator is expelled to the City Camp. City Camps are open to volunteers
Personally I think I could (more or less) easily live with all of the above (well, except for 5. and 8.) – I have only read a few pages so far – so I don’t know how these ground rules affect the happiness and wellbeing of the people… I guess I do prefer a grassroots democratic system (like the one described in Dirk’s latest (positive) eco-scenario “Das Tahitiprojekt”) but the people would all need to become einsichtig in order for this to work…
What do you think dear reader?
Feel free to post a (controversial) comment or send me an e-mail!