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Green Class

Pangaea - the latest voyage of one of the world's great adventurers, Mike Horn. His goal? To take young crews on expeditions to make them aware of the problems faced by our environment. Nespresso is a partner of the expeditions.

Mike Horn is a sporty version of the classic explorer who has ventured wherever the toughest of challenges are found : hangliding in the Andes, riverboarding on the Amazon, night walking to the North Pole...

With all that on his CV, you would understand if he’d had enough of daring exploits and spectacular panoramas. But far from it! He’s a knight errant, full of ideas for saving the planet. This time he has chosen to roam the seas: his Pangaea project is to sail a total of 100,000 kilometres in four years.

Nespresso boutiques. The programme is in line with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature guidelines on how to deal with aluminium. Mike Horn, a South African, is the kind of man who likes to get people moving, turn decisions into action and give things a vigorous shove in the right direction. He completely agrees with the idea: “People often think of aluminium as a pollutant, but in fact it’s both strong and fully recyclable – unlike carbon fibre hulls. I could cut up my boat to make capsules, then turn them back into a boat again.” He even went to the point of building his hi-tech boat on an improvised site in a Sao Paulo favela. The site had access to the sea and a nearby aluminium recycling centre, and there was a real need for a job-providing project in the area. Even better, “the whole site runs on hydro electricity which has a very low carbon footprint”.

“I could cut up my boat to make capsules, then turn them back into a boat again.”

But even this beautiful boat, with all its respect for the planet, would be nothing without a worthwhile project. To give Pangea real momentum, young people from around the world have been selected by a jury, based on their motivation, fitness level and interest in the environment. They will train at the project headquarters in Château-d’Oex in the Swiss Alps with audiovisual workshops (photos and films) and presentations on sustainable development, water, and the environmental problems facing the regions they will visit. Then they will go on board, and learn how to evaluate their impact on the climate. “Twelve major destinations have been chosen for their unspoiled beauty” he explains. “We mustn’t lose hope because the earth is still very beautiful. We simply have to mend our ways. From time to time, specialists will come aboard to teach the teams about preserving the ice caps, replanting trees, and the dying coral reefs, the disappearing mangrove swamps, the pollution of the rivers...”

The aim is to create a butterfly effect: the crews of 15-20 year olds who sign on for two weeks of green classes have to show that when they go back home they will be “Ambassadors for a sustainable way of life”. Just like their mentor – every inch a genuine hero.

“When they return home, the crews will become Ambassadors for a sustainable way of life.”

Text : Paula Zabaglione - Photography : Jean-Claude Amiel

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1966 : Born 16 July in South Africa.
1990 : Moves to Switzerland.
1991 : Makes first paragliding expedition in the Andes.
1995 : Sets world record for waterfall descent in Costa Rica.
1997 : Riverboards down the Amazon.
1999-2000 : Goes around the world at the Equator.
2002-2004 : Goes around the world at the arctic circle.
2006 : Treks to the North Pole whilst it is permanently night.
2008 : Starts the Pangaea expedition.
2009 : Becomes an Ecolaboration™ Ambassador.


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