BUS CONVERSION

We quit work, sold our house in Auckland and spent six months full-time on the bus conversion. With the added motivation of becoming sustainability champions for the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association our time was split between physical work on the bus at the Motorhome Repairs Auckland workshop and sourcing truly sustainable products and materials. We launched our adventure at the Covi Supershow in March 2016 having had very little sleep in the days leading up to it.


Bus walkthrough

This video courtesy of our friends at Bus Life NZ  shows our bus inside and out highlighting some of the key elements of the fitout and some of the inspiring stories behind them.


Bus fitout #fromthebeginning

Some of our favourite shots of the fitout journey from our Instagram feed.


INSPIRING STORIES ONBOARD THE BUS

Carpet tiles made from ocean waste

Our carpet tiles are made from recycled fishing nets known as ghost nets. One of the most degraded coral reefs in the world was in the Philippines and it was covered in ghost nets. The Zoological Society and Interface, a world leader in sustainable business practice, stepped in and formed an unlikely partnership. It began with the question: how could a carpet tile help address inequality?

The result is Net-Works an innovative business that empowers people in coastal communities to collect and sell these discarded nylon fishing nets, thereby removing them from the ocean where they are wreaking havoc with marine life. The nets are then sold into a global supply chain and recycled into yarn to make beautiful carpet tiles. The initiative has had a hugely positive social and environmental impact and a second programme has recently been established in Cameroon.

Inzide Commercial, a commercial flooring solutions company in Auckland, donated carpet tiles for our bus with a distinctive pattern to reflect the shoreline from whence they came.


Our CleanCook stove – making a difference in developing countries

Our daughter Breeze was inspired and saddened by stories told by our friend Marie of when she was Breeze’s age living as an orphan in a refugee camp in Africa. Marie’s life depended on finding and bringing back wood for cooking. It was a very dangerous hungry job starting at 4am and not ending till after 7pm. Marie walked for miles to find sticks in a deforested landscape that was made this way by years of women and children forced to spend almost all the hours of their lives doing the same before her. The open fires are inefficient, cause lung diseases, eye irritation, conflict over a vanishing resource and almost total irreversible destruction of the landscape.

Our family’s conversation around this topic went from despair to amazement when we found the Origo 3000 CleanCook Stove from Dometic. Dometic International partnered Project Gaia, a not-for-profit working globally to promote clean, safe, efficient cookstoves powered by alcohol fuels. The alliance gave a CleanCook Stove to all households in the Kebribeyah refugee camp (pop. 17,000) in Ethiopia. The CleanCook Stove is fueled by bioethanol manufactured from a waste product from the sugarcane industry that was previously being dumped into rivers in Ethiopia.

In 2008 this initiative won several global green energy awards being recognized as helping slow deforestation, reduce indoor air pollution, lessen gender-based violence, and mitigate conflict between refugees and locals in these harsh environments. The project has seen such success that a factory has been built in South Africa to make the CleanCook Stove and make them available to all of Africa (www.cleancook.com).

We use our CleanCook stove every day. It’s just like cooking on gas. We are still searching for a local source of bioethanol to replace the methylated spirits we currently use. We’d love to hear from anyone who can help us with this challenge.


Clothing that delivers freedom to women in India

The conversations around sustainability have brought us stories from all over the world. We have been enlightened, awestruck and feel so grateful to individuals and organisations showing us how to positively impact the present and the future. It has made us proud to see that New Zealanders too are playing a significant role in this worldwide rethink.

The Loop Crew has sourced our Crew T-Shirts here in New Zealand through Liminal Apparel. Liminal sell a range of products that are made under fair working conditions, with the finest organic materials. They are one of the companies in a Co-operative that also include a coffee roastery, a cafe and a small farm. Together they return 70% of their profits back to the local community and to some of the producers and communities overseas that create the products they sell. The other 30% is reinvested into the business. Shareholders don’t take a cent in dividends.

A large proportion of Liminal Apparel products, including our t-shirts are sourced from Freeset Global. Freeset was founded by kiwi couple Kerry and Annie Hilton who provide dignified employment to women and girls trapped in the sex trade in Kolkata, India. Prostitution is big business and thrives on exploitation and slavery, robbing the poor of dignity and innocence. Freeset offers freedom through a business alternative and women are paid around twice the going rate for an equivalent job elsewhere and as part of their employment package have health insurance and a pension plan.

Is $50 too much to ask for a custom printed 100% non toxic Fairtrade organic cotton Tee that helps the earth, empowers women and girls, supports small-scale farmers and a New Zealand Co Op that returns the profits of its business back to the producers and communities to whom they really belong?