Introducing Hugging the Coast, recipient of the 2012 Royal Geographical Society (with Institute of British Geographers) Neville Shulman Challenge Award
In August 2012, our team of six Indonesian, Swedish-American, British-Australian and Australian-American women will paddle the 320km/200m length of the volcanic Sangihe Archipelago, North Sulawesi, Indonesia. Our route takes us through the centre of the dynamic Coral Triangle - the ‘Amazon of the Seas’ – from Manado, North Sulawesi, to Pulau Sangihe in the Celebes Sea. Along the route, we will visit island communities in order to meet the women who farm seaweed. Some team members are relative novices to expeditions and sea-kayaking, but cultural exchange between the team members, and between the team and the seaweed farming women, is an essential aspect of the project.
The seaweed grown in North Sulawesi is a vital source of income to these communities, but it is also an increasingly important ‘climate smart’ agricultural product across the Coral Triangle: most of the seaweed currently ends up as an invisible ingredient in Western processed food, but its potential role in carbon sequestration, in tree-less paper production, and as a biofuel, makes Indonesian seaweed a globally significant product in climate change adaption.
In wealthy countries like the USA, Britain and Australia, we already consume many seaweed-derived products on a daily basis, even if we do not realize it (carrageenan, the key product of seaweed farming, is used in low fat dairy products and chocolate milk, retains water in affordable meat products, is the basis of the USA’s most popular natural sex lube, and the world’s first HIV-resistant female microbicide). Hugging the Coast, a collaboration between professional kayakers and academic social scientists – all on a voluntary basis – aims to highlight those environmental, economic and consumer interconnections by drawing attention to the place and people where it all begins. We love Indonesian seaweed!
Visit www.huggingthecoast.net to learn more about the cultural and research exchange, the expedition and key dates, our extraordinarily-well qualified team, our equipment, and our institutional supporters and collaborators. Once again, our team members' participation in Hugging the Coast is voluntary.
Hugging the Coast begins on 29th July and ends on 1st September.
We have already raised the equivalent of USD$29,000, gained another $12,000 in equipment and in-kind sponsorship, and are seeking to raise the final $7800 before the end of August.
Please note that donations are processed in US Dollars.