Lucy and the New Dawn Traders

Fare Traded by Sail

Category: Sustainability

Storytelling for Sea Change! – 7th February @ Hermitage Moorings

Come on a journey with us through the arts and the seas, to hear how some ambitious projects are bringing to life stories of a sustainable shipping future and communicating climate change through more creative means.

This discussion will be aptly hosted at the Hermitage Community Moorings, on the Thames river by Tower Bridge.

We invite you to arrive on 7th February at 6.30pm to a welcoming of sea shanties and refreshments including delicious cocktails made with organic Brazilian cachaça from Abelha. At 7pm we present our three speakers and their inspiring projects, followed with a lively discussion. We hope to inspire you to run away with us and sail the seas!


Lucy Gilliam : The New Dawn Traders :

Having crossed the Atlantic and back, trading goods via sail and connecting slow food communities, the New Dawn Traders are spearheading a revival of shipping under sail and telling the story of sustainable shipping.

Sam Kimmins : Forum for the Future’s Sustainable Shipping Initiative :

The Sustainable Shipping Initiative brings together some of the biggest names in the maritime sector to plan how it can contribute to – and thrive in – a sustainable future.

Chris Wainwright : Cape Farewell :

Cape Farewell aims to instigate a cultural response to climate change, famous for its expedition taking artists, musicians and writers to the Arctic, to inspire them to communicate the effects of climate change through the creative arts.


16 Wapping High Street, London, E1W 1NG … Nearest Tubes: Tower Hill and Wapping



Chasing Ice – Must see film of 2012

Chasing Ice is the story of one man’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of climate change. Using time-lapse cameras, his videos compress years into seconds and capture ancient mountains of ice in motion as they disappear at a breathtaking rate.

New Dawn Traders Lucy, Alex and Rose watched ‘Chasing Ice’ last night and were blown away by the speed of documented environmental change in the Arctic.

At one point in the film they capture the collapse of a glacier the size of Manhattan and several times larger in height than the tallest buildings in new York collapse over 75 minutes. The scale and speed is breathtaking. They then show the historical change. The glacier retreated 10 miles in 100 years. Followed by 10 miles in the most recent 10 years. The long range time lapse footage is really mind blowing.

The rapid acceleration of the ice retreat is what leaves you most shocked. Given that temperatures have only risen 0.8˚C so far, what will the 2˚C, 4˚C or 6˚C changes look and feel like?! Current projections from fossil fuel emissions are that we are on a trajectory for 6˚C by the end of the century with the chances of keeping below 2˚C slim to none.

The film was followed by a Q&A session with a journalist, scientist, artist and campaigner who had all spent time in the Arctic recording environmental change. They were cautiously optimistic that we could make the changes necessary and get off a dangerous path.

Relentless optimism. What the doctor’s ordered.

The loss of the Arctic ice will trigger a rapid surge in positive feedback loops further propelling us forward to a drastically warmer world which could have disastrous consequences for life on earth. This is the tipping point for a mass extinction event.

Watch the trailer and get down to one of the UK screenings happening now. Or wherever you are in the world call on your cinema network to show this film. This is must see. The footage is breathtaking and the story compelling.

The more people that see this and start working together to tackle climate change, the greater the chance of averting disaster. Politicians have failed us in Doha. But let us not sink into despair.

We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

“Please, let 2012 be remembered as the year the world found the courage to find the will to take responsibility for the future we want. I ask of all of us here, if not us, then who? If not now, then when? If not here, then where?” Filipino lead negotiator Naderev M. Saño speaking at Doha. His remarks were met with loud applause. But no action.

But we are more powerful then we realise.

We have the power to act.

Just Do It.


Let's go

Last night I spent the evening with the Good for Nothing crew and an energetic bunch of social innovators solving the problem of ‘how to find better problems’. The premise is that often we solve the wrong problem or are asking the wrong questions. The aim of the night was to get a smart bunch of socially engaged motivated people in a pub together and debate what are the real problems we are trying to solve.

Where are the better problems?

  • How do we find them?
  • What stuff gets people excited?
  • What problems look terrifying?
  • Where are the opportunities for impact? Social, environmental, commercial.
  • How can we help each other to get more stuff happening faster?

The format of the evening was 4 inspirational speakers interspersed with long breaks to chat with other participants washed done by nice selection of ales. Simple.

Christophe Warrack presented the low down on building community cinema as a platform for participation, development and play. Creating film without borders. Particularly social borders! Christophe created his vision after years of working in a corporate role and volunteering in his spare time. His solution stems from a passion to merge those worlds.

“Question: What’s yr passion? Find a problem. Apply.” 

Much of his volunteer hours were spent with the elderly who didn’t have access to films or the cinema exerience so he set about changing that. Et VoilàOpen Cinema.

Matt Linnecar presented his business Gnewt cargo, a zero emission delivery service in London, describing the journey from a few deliveries in electric van bike imported from france to custom design of an innovative fleet of electric vehicles complete with modular pod system for super efficient logistics.

“We look for people who live our values and work with them”

I was impressed and instantly saw the potential for collaborations with research into integrated zero emission supply chains. From continent to continent, via sea to port, then van to door all with no fossil fuels! What a dream that could be. Apparently the pod system Gnewt Cargo has designed is modular and to the same size specifications as a pallet, which could work well for small scale sail cargo trading.

Olivia Knight energetically and emotively explained her thinking behind her good, green startup that she has been developing from her kitchen table. Olivia married her long term partner recently and was frustrated by the lack of services for unconventional wedding gift lists. Olivia works part time for one of my fave green tips websites called ‘Do the green thing’ and is a bit of an eco activist so the last thing she wanted was more stuff, clutter or pointless consumption & waste creation. However she understood that people love to give especially at weddings. So she designed a beautiful bespoke gift giving site where people could create a patchwork of experiences for her family on honeymoon. They choose to go to Cuba so gifts included pints at the bar (the best man bought 150! Representing his relationship with the groom), pony trekking, rental of a vintage car and the odd night in a boutique hotel (They had chosen to couch surf and travel for 6 weeks for the rest of the time). Olivia is starting a business called Patchwork Present and is writing about her journey here . Patchwork Present streamlines this gifting service to make it easy for couples to build a site, upload pictures, share honeymoon snaps of gifts being enjoyed and streamline sending out bespoke thank you cards. Personally I can this being a great tool for all sorts of occasions. Especially as we enter the age of dematerialisation / age of experience. If this had been available when I was planning my voyage in January of this year I definitely would have used it!

Last and by no means least the irrepressibly enthusiastic Ed Dowding, founder of Sustaination, bounced onto the stage. Sustainantion is a bit like a linkedin site mapping local food and distribution networks. I’ve heard Ed speak on countless occasions but he always manages to surprise me with some new nugget of data that he has harvested from the interweb. As ever he spoke about how action around food and the food system is at the basis of solving our environmental and social problems. He offered glimmers of hope that big business is moving in the right direction with the statement that Unilever is looking to get 500,000 small farmers into their supply chains (although they don’t yet know how…). And that Birds eye are kind of on it to. But (and its a big but) we still have so far to go in terms of true sustainability. Basically Ed was laying down the gauntlet to all of us in the room to get on it, find our passion and create something damn well world changing. Before it is too late.

Let go. There are few prizes for being right. Let’s go. There ARE penalties for being wrong. 

I got a double mention in Ed’s talk. One about how I wax lyrical about the importance of soil and secondly on how we shouldn’t piss it all away (urine that is). This sparked off a discussion about all the useful things we could be doing with our waste. Like using it as fertiliser or to generate electricity.

Sustaination is certainly an interesting network and business platform for New Dawn Traders. The ability to map supply chains and rapidly tap into distribution networks will be critical to our viability trading by sail. It is a monumental challenge to compete with commercial shipping. We can’t compete on the same terms. The system is stacked against us. So we have to create smarter, more nimble service, collaborate with smart tech start ups and create a better experience.

I presented briefly my passion for sail, zero carbon sustainable globalisation and a future filled with sail cargo ships criss-crossing the oceans on slow food & slow travel adventures. The presentations all touched on aspects of the New Dawn Traders dream as it is currently shaping up. Gift economics, community building through arts and cinema, smart networks and zero emission logistics… All important food for thought in shaping the final venture.

If you want to see what people were saying at the event you can check out the twitter feed #findbetterproblems. (I did like Lucy Warin’s tweet that at the end she felt the evening might of been #findmorefollowers…)

Oh and one final thought… HAPPY GLOBAL SHARING DAY! 

Sail Renaissense

It’s been a long time since I have written on this page and a lot has happened in that time. But I’m inspired to get back into this story after receiving a message from our guide from the Angostura factory in Trinidad who thanked me for the stories!

The decompression after an intense 6 months away has been more challenging than I would have expected and it has been tricky charting the new territories of no income and plotting next steps. But finally I think the mists of doubt are lifting and the light of the stars reappearing. I read a quote a few days ago that said “don’t plot your way by the lights of the passing ships, but set your course by the stars”. I’ve dusted off my sextant, opened up the charts and got my diary out. I’m back in business! Question is what next?

Well turns out I’ve had a rather epic week last week whereby I took the bold step of travelling to the launch of a sustainable shipping conference to explore the realities of Sail cargo. Without really much idea of the people involved or the outcome I travelled for 10 hours across Europe by train to investigate (yeah have I told you I love trains to!).

Along the route I was joined by Gavin Allwright from Greenheart Project. Greenheart are in the final throws of their very first crowdfunding campaign to build their first prototype sail cargo ship destined to transform island communities in the pacific. This is a great project on many levels. I really like the open source collaborative model of design and the fact that the basic design can be customised to a range of different purposes from cargo to fishing to environmental monitoring. The ships could also make great disaster relief ships imprtant in a rapidly changing world!

I finally arrived in the misty hinterlands of Fryslân which is surrounded by water, below sea level and surrounded by dykes to keep the seas at bay. I was instantly blown away by the tranquil beauty of this land in twilight as the sun set casting over pink rippled skies. Dozens of paddlebarges and folk boats dotted the waterside. In a moment I considered ditching London to move here to potter and paint before remembering my mission.

Not long after Jorne and Arjen from Tres Hombres arrived. Quickly they introduced me to the project team and I explained my unexpected presence at the meeting, my adventures and visions of sail freight. I rather boldly challenged the organisers on whether they believed they could change the world.

The following morning I arrived for the opening of the meeting and quickly approached by the organisers. A presenter had dropped out and they wondered if I would consider presenting my vision. ‘Hell yes’ I replied! No time like the present.

The meeting was opened by Dutch Olympic Sailor and Silver medal winner Marit Bouwmeester, a Laser Radial racer (Class of boat). She gave a brief account of her days racing in Weymouth. A little bit of trivial gossip is that Marit is dating Ben Ainslie from Olympic Team GB. Ben stormed into the record books when he became the first person to win 5 medals in sailing across 5 separate Olympics.

There were a range of presenters from the NGO North Sea Foundation which aims to promote sustainable management of the North sea and promote interdisciplinary understanding of the marine environment. They play a key role in tracking and coordinating EU level actions relating to the marine environment. An overview of the significant range of pollutants and emissions from shipping. While shipping is ‘efficient’ by per tonne transported it still forms a significant proportion of global pollutions as it burns the heaviest and most toxic of fuels. Currently shipping is not included in the EU emissions trading scheme. Shipping and aviation were purposely prevented from being included in the United Nations negotiations on emissions reductions as it is difficult to apportion the origin of emissions to particular nations. The EU recently launched a consultation on creation of a shipping emission trading scheme which could go someway to driving innovations in clean tech for ships.

The naval architects from the dutch firm Dykstra (who designed Rainbow warrior 3!) presented their designs for sail propelled ships and their work on alternative propulsion mechanisms. A range of renewable and hybrid technologies were presented that could significantly reduce the fuel bills and pollution emissions of shipping, along with policy and economic challenges in bringing sail freight to market. Gavin from Greenheart also presented his visions for small sail cargo ships for the developing world and an overview of the current range of sail cargo designs while Jorne gave the final rallying cry that we all act together now to build these incredible designs. The oil is running out, the environmental problems increasing and there is not time for waste. You can find details of the aims and objectives here.

Certainly at the end of my stay the process of sharing my dreams and hearing the aspirations of others across 7 EU countries has painted a far clearer picture in my mind of what the future could look like. And what about my presentation you might ask? Well after months of fermenting, reflecting, networking and pondering I leapt at the chance to test out the concept of New Dawn Traders on a professional audience. I got loads of great feedback and literally can’t wait to share ideas with my ship mates now I’m back home…. Time will tell. But I predict the Sail Renaissence!

“When the wind of change blows some build walls while others set their sails”

Nowhereisland – A creative exploration of nation-ism!

| Now Here Is Land | No Where Is Land | No Where Island | Now Here Island |

If you go down to the beach today you are sure for a big surprise…

If you go down to the beach today you’ll never beleive your eyes…

The arctic melted and birthed a new land…

It sailed down south to moor off the sand

Today’s the day that I became a Nowherian

A land were the unknown is not feared but studied

This week I ventured to Weymouth to find out more about an unusual piece of rock called Nowhere island. Nowhere island is a migrating island recently released from the Arctic from the melting ice and has journeyed 2000 miles south through international waters to become the worlds newest island state with citizenship open to all. Nowhere island is currently moored just off the beaches of Bowleaze coveway and is inaccessible to public. However the ‘Embassy’, a beautiful mobile cabinet of curiosities, is open daily upon the cliffs for all to visit. Nowhere island will tour the south west over the next 6 weeks culminating in Bristol from 7th September for its last days.

The embassy of nowhere island! Filled with all sorts of exquisite curiosities, photographs, and information relating to the Arctic. You can just see the island on the water in the background!

Nowehereisland is the brain child of Artist Alex Hartley who voyaged to the Arctic in 2004 and discovered an island revealing itself from a melting glacier. He was the first person to set foot on the island and you can view his muddy wellie at the embassy. He then set about exploring sovereignty with the Norwegian government.

Citizens of nowhereisland are invited right away to start shaping the principles on which the nation is built. A notice board with the evolving constitution is displayed for all to edit, approve and add to.

The evolving constitution. My favourites were ‘wifi shall be free’ and ‘spontaneous dance parties will occur frequently’. Hallelujah!

Upon learning about this  new land I signed up right away. Nowhere island arrived in Weymouth on Wednesday 25th of July drawing a massive crowd of onlookers and serenaded by citizens, surfers, school children and shanty singers. A significant part of the project has been local engagement in schools led by Nowhere ambassador Michael. It was a joy to see children rifling through the cabinets, quizzing the ambassadors and scrawling their ideas of the nation they wish to see.

Nowhereisland is part of the 2012 cultural olympiad and is the only visiting nation to bring itself to the Olympic games. Weymouth is the home of the Olympic sailing events which I don’t think you’ll be surprised that I’m really quite excited about! Team GB have their strongest sailing team ever. Fingers crossed for Ben Ainslie winning his 4th gold olympic medal!

One possible criticism is that there are significant costs and emissions from carrying out this project from the fuel to move the island to all the materials used in making and travelling with the embassy. Maybe those would have been better spent on building wind turbines or insulating homes.

But I have to say I was really inspired by the banners, the evolving constitution and the creative way the project invites people to come up with their own ideas. It is a really creative way to engage with ideas of climate change, nationality, migration, democracy, utopian societies. And I think it is really important that everyone is included in designing the world we wish to see and be part of.

Citizens exploring their rich cultural history at the Embassy

How would you receive a migrant island to your home town?

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