Crossing energy borders

Crossing energy borders

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This summer, we will travel for 3,5 months from Amsterdam to Almaty and back, by bicycle and public transport. It’s a simple trip, with a simple purpose: exploring energy borders, while finding the energy to keep going…

It all started while we wondered about energy, deciding it was time to take action.

Marijn Engels, professional creative

“I was seriously wondering whether I would find the energy to get going again creatively after 8 years at the same employer. I needed to confront myself and my fear of losing my job, asking for a sabbatical to do what would regenerate me as a creative and human being: observe, explore, create and reflect by travelling and taking pictures”.

Martine Verweij, professional sustainable change-maker

“I was wondering a lot about a bigger scale energy problem. The one our world faces. Trying to fix how humans use energy and organize their energy supply, I realized two things: first, it would be wise to look at myself and my own energy lifestyle, which has a big impact on energy demand, second, in considering solutions, it could be that I was missing some vital perspective, looking at it sitting behind my laptop in my energy-efficient well isolated apartment in energy-abundant Amsterdam.”

Both of us knew we needed others to fix our energy problems: “Marijn got me to scare him with a break-up if he wouldn’t follow his heart. And I got Marijn promising he’d help me creatively with my mission to gain a new perspective on global energy challenges.”

The result of all this is pretty simple:

the two of us joined forces! Hoorah. From mid June 2014, we will travel for 3,5 months through countries with enormous fossil fuel reserves like Iran, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan and cycle through countries which struggle because of a lack of own energy sources, such as Ukraine, Armenia and Moldavia. We will cross countries that found a way to harness energy available, but by doing so are not making their neighbors very happy, such as Tajikistan, and pass through countries that are using their energy to influence others, such as Russia. Not by car, not by motorbike, but by bicycle. Sometimes with the help of a bus, a train, or hitching a ride.

Martine sighs: ‘You’re right. I know that if we want to write and publish about energy, we’d better find some of our own energy to get going. But isn’t it also an idea to take an electrically powered bicycle?’

Marijn frowns: ‘Are you serious?’ This time Marijn scared Martine with a break-up!

Crossing energy borders

To cut a long story short, the 14th of June we’ll head of.

First of all, to explore – and cross? – our own physical boundaries when it comes to energy. How long before we need to recharge our batteries? Do we have the power to make it to the top?

Second, to explore – and cross? – mental boundaries. Will we forego our stereotypical thinking on the energy situation in countries we will be crossing? Ukraine, Russia or Iran: what’s beyond what we already know?

Third, to explore creative boundaries. They’ll be on the look-out for bold and inspirational ideas, people collaborating on a better (energy)future, or playing MacGyver with whatever is around locally.

During and after our trip we’ll be sharing our experiences with as many people as possible.

Follow us on www.energyborders.nl – lauch 1st of June – and add your knowledge and ideas to our stories! If we combine our expertise, experience and will power, we all can cross energy borders sooner!

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© June 2012, Marijn Engels