A long drive for sustainability
Four Australian guys are driving across the globe attempting to ‘fill-up’ only on biofuel. Jamesina McLeod reports.
Burgers and Friday afternoon fries – the next solution to our environmental energy crisis?
According to the boys from The Green Way Up, it could be a possibility. The Green Way Up team consisting of Justin, Oscar, Bob and Chuck, are recycling all the plant and animal fats they can beg, borrow or steal from restaurants and street stalls to drive, sail and moped their way from Tasmania to Belgium.
Using biofuel to make their way across multiple continents, their aim is to never have to fill up at a petrol station.
Harnessing their respective DJ-ing, marketing, engineering and welding talents, Justin, Oscar, Bob and Chuck have been planning the six-month trip for two years. Most of this time was spent designing and building the portable biofuel converter and aluminium boat they are using on their trip. When finished, they will be donated to a tsunami-affected community.
Starting with a big idea but with no money, the team was stunned by the generosity of supporters who heard about them through their Facebook and Twitter pages.
“Fundraising has been really good at the moment, we’ve been getting support from all over the world,” said Justin, who was surprised by the number of anonymous donations after word spread about the project online. The $20, 000 needed to microfinance their boat was raised in three weeks through online donations.
Apart from carving donators’ names onto their boat, the boys will continue to thank their supporters through an interactive googlemaps page allowing people to track their progress and comment on their journey on thegreenwayup.com.
Their trip is being made into a documentary to be released later this year.
Read the transcript below.
Jamesina: So Justin, it’s yourself, Bob, Chuck and Oscar setting off on this epic expedition. How did this all start?
Justin: You know initially when we started the idea we didn’t have an idea of what the benefit would be apart from just engaging our friends and followers as we got on the road and for us that was an attractive idea simply because it was going to inform what we saw along the road, where we went and what was cool and interesting to do.
Jamesina: And how does the Green Way Up concept campaign fit in?
Justin: The Green Way Up concept was exactly that it, it was to make the whole movement palatable, to show what was good and interesting and to not associate environmentalism with guilt and negative emotions. Not to ram a message down anyone’s throat or run a hard line with a particular sort of perspective on the environment but we just wanted to create conversation around what was happening in every aspect of sustainability.
And that’s what we’ve done with our website – greenwayup.com – it’s a commentary on what was cool and interesting, innovative and just fantastic in the world of green design, green technology, green art, all of the above.
Jamesina: How important has social media been for you guys?
Justin: We knew the best way to spread the message was through a medium that our generation was familiar with and community participation, social media participation has been critical. That’s one of our main tools for engaging as we go. No one had seemed to have done that facebook-twitter-googlemaps mashup before, enabling one to geographically find and follow our route.
Jamesina: You’re on the road for 6 months and almost as many continents – what are you looking forward to most?
Justin: Once the website really gets up and rolling, when we start getting a lot of comments on the [interactive google]map, I’m really looking forward to actually meeting the people who are engaging with us through our facebook and twitter and maps and saying “come visit us here and here and here!” I think that’s going to create a really nice organic element to the whole trip.
The four of us haven’t really contemplated what to expect once we hit the road because it’s been “go-go-go!” working on the boat, the biofuel processor, the trailer. It’s pretty intense at the moment and most of us haven’t had time to look forward to what it’s going to be like on the road. But it’s going to be a hell of an adventure.