When we covered the shipping vs airfreight debate here (also covered here), Chris Kozak got in touch about what looks like an absolutely intriguing project that he's involved in called Greenheart. According to the initiative's website, the idea is as follows:
"Create a self-funding enterprise that uses environmentally clean and sustainable sail and solar power to provide free delivery of development aid and relief supplies to needy countries around the world. Promote fair trade, renewable energy and international cooperation. Develop a tool to help impoverished coastal communities improve their standards of living, while preserving their traditions and protecting the environment."
All this will be done in a unique solar and wind powered vessel designed to be completely independent of fossil fuels, and incorporating a one-container cargo hold, an integral home office with satellite communications, and all the latest benefits of modern sailing ship design. The vessel will be on a continuous mission visiting both developed and developing countries and integrating 'trade, promotion, aid and education'. According to Chris' original comment, the project is rapidly gathering momentum and they are now looking for help in terms of volunteers and donations.
We certainly wish them well in what looks like a groundbreaking project, and we thank them for raising the possibility that development through trade does not necessarily need to involve guzzling fossil fuels in the process.