Interview with Yoshioka Tatsuya, founder of Peace Boat

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Content Pathway are incredibly pleased to welcome Yoshioka Tatsuya, founder of Peace Boat and Ecoship, for our FIRST interview on this blog. We hope you will be as inspired and impressed as we were…

peace boat ecoship founder yoshioka tatsuya

Hey! Thanks for doing this interview with Content Pathway, would you like to introduce yourself, Peace Boat and Ecoship to our readers?

I am Yoshioka Tatsuya, founder and director of Peace Boat, a Japan-based international NGO that works to promote peace, human rights, equal and sustainable development and respect for the environment. I founded the organization in 1983, in Tokyo, together with some fellow students. It was in response to growing tensions in Japan and the Northeast Asia region over how Japan’s history was taught in schools, and particularly how Japan’s World War Two aggression in Asia was glossed over in school textbooks. I was really concerned to see how history was being distorted and that such a lack of understanding was risking peace in our region.

My friends and I decided that we wanted to visit our neighbouring nations and hear directly from the people there, in order to recognize their experiences of history and build grassroots reconciliation and friendships.

I strongly believe that in order to create a peaceful, just and sustainable world we must meet each other face-to-face, understand the situation and beliefs of another person, and go forward in mutual respect and understanding. I think civil society has a crucial role to play in building that understanding, and Peace Boat sails with that as our mission.

We’ve grown now into Japan’s largest cruise organization and have sailed over 90 around-the-world and regional cruises. Our voyages, which blend educational, advocacy and friendship activities on board and in the ports that we visit with traditional cruising elements, work on a social business model and have carried over 60,000 participants.

What is ‘Ecoship’ and what’s its role within ‘Peace Boat’?

Our Ecoship Project will build the world’s most sustainable cruise ship, as a flagship for climate action and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Its visionary design, announced at the COP21, was achieved after a 3-year long research process based on the contribution of an interdisciplinary team of world experts. Ecoship combines innovative energy efficiency measures; a boundary defying use of renewable energies; nature-inspired design and the implementation of real ecosystems on board. Expected to sail in 2020, it will achieve, cumulatively, 20% cuts in propulsion energy, 50% cuts in electricity load and a 40% reduction on CO2 emissions, and will operate on a zero discharge basis.

Ecoship, which will be 55,000 tons and carry up to 2000 passengers, will sail on Peace Boat’s educational and advocacy around the world voyages four times a year. In port, we will host exhibitions of green technology on board as well as inviting people to view the vessel itself. The ship will also contribute to ocean and climate research, as a floating sustainability laboratory.

peace boat eco ship digital design

Your slogan is ‘Sailing for Change in 2020’ – what are the biggest changes that you’d like to see?

The cruise industry is booming – particularly in East Asia – and it’s so important that this massive increase in passengers and ships is sustainable.

Shipping is responsible for 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and it is crucial that reductions are achieved.

Ecoship, thanks to its whole system design, is bound to be a game-changer in the cruise industry and demonstrate an economically viable transitional model to the de-carbonization of the maritime sector.

The success of Ecoship, with its CO2 reductions and renewables use, will be evidence that viable maritime transitional solutions to decarbonized economies exist. Public outreach – every time Ecoship sails into a port – will result in worldwide awareness of the necessity and financial feasibility of improving shipping’s footprint.

Marketing an educational cruise ship must be very different to marketing a product or service. What challenges have you faced in your communications strategy?

As you mentioned, our voyages are most different to all other cruises. As the Peace Boat, we literally travel the world on peace voyages. The ship creates a neutral, mobile space and enables people to engage across borders in dialogue and mutual cooperation at sea, and in the ports that we visit. We welcome guest educators to host lectures and workshops on board to raise awareness on social and environmental issues in the countries the ship is calling at. We also have ship-wide free language classes to provide participants with the tools needed to communicate with locals.  In port we organise exchange programs with partner NGOs.

In our communications strategy we try to explain the complex nature of our NGO, which charters a ship for its global voyages and to appeal to both activists already involved in civil society and so-called regular holidaymakers that might be interested in expanding their knowledge about the countries they’re traveling to.

peace boat eco ship drawing

The physical design of the Ecoship is a mixture of sustainable technologies and nature-based inspirations. Can you tell us about these influences and how they have been merged?

We held a charrette scientific consultation in April 2014 that brought together over 30 engineers, scientists and experts from the fields of ship-building and eco-technology, as well as various Peace Boat stakeholders, to consider the Ecoship from a whole-system design perspective.

As a result, there will be many innovations on the vessel, including our “plant kingdom” ecosystem. Other innovations include how the air-conditioning will work, and of course, the ship’s stunning hull-form and the use of solar-paneled sails.

Wind power will also be used to generate electricity for the vessel. Approximately 150kW is anticipated to be produced in favourable conditions from wind generators positioned on Ecoship’s top deck. This alternative energy source will be contributed to by 10 wind generators, while 6,000m2 of photovoltaic (PV) panels (also positioned on the top deck and on cabin balcony fenders) will reduce the vessel’s hotel fuel consumption by about 750kW.

Cabin balcony fenders will be fitted with PV panels to power cabin lighting, with batteries installed to store and retrieve energy overnight. Energy storage and recycling are at the heart of the Ecoship project, and as such, a variety of storage solutions are being analysed for the vessel. These include hydrogen electrolytic plants, hot tanks for additional storage, frozen tanks to store ‘cool’, and electric batteries

The Ecoship is powered by renewable energy, but what happens to all of the waste? Do you recycle water and physical waste on board?

The Ecoship project’s aim is to minimize waste both in and out. This involves a policy of minimizing all types of packaging. Where waste is produced, a key component of the closed loop system is the production of usable sub-products. While much of these will be recycled onboard, excess products could be ‘restored’ to the local communities visited. Specifically from galley pulpers and recycled waste, sub-products include water, compost and fertilizers, cartons, wood, plastic and paper. Also, Ecoship closed water loop technology is just part of a broader focus to minimize water usage onboard. For example, cabins will incorporate water counters to show the amount of water used. Also, sprinklers, irrigation and other cleaning devices will incorporate high pressure, low consumption technology.

Who are the ‘green brains’ behind Ecoship, and what are their main objectives for the project?

The manager of the project is Andres Molina, an independent shipping consultant with 30 years experience in the design, construction and operation of cruise vessels, and is a qualified naval architect. He is backed with the expertise of Dr. Amory Lovins, co-founder and chief scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute and Dr. Tomas Kaberger, Executive Board Chairman of Renewable Energy Institute.  We’re also honoured to have the support of key figures working for sustainability, including, environmentalist David Suzuki and Wanjira Maathai, Chair of the Board of the Green Belt Movement.

peace boat amphiteatre

When the boat is finished construction and sets sail, where will its maiden voyage begin, and what will be the main themes of its on-board education system?

From 2020, Peace Boat will be operating the Ecoship so we will keep on promoting multi-stakeholder cooperation towards social good and about forging links between civil society and sustainable business. The Ecoship will allow for a wider variety of onboard programs. Climate action is the crucial issue for our times, and we believe that our Ecoship offers an innovative, inspiring solution in the transition to a low-carbon economy.

For anyone looking to get a ticket, or contribute to the ongoing success of Ecoship, what do they need to do?

At this point tickets are not being sold but the project is moving fast. Shipyard selection is scheduled to be finalized within a few months and then construction will begin. You can support our project by getting the word around, visiting our website, signing up for our newsletter and following us on Social Media.

Peace Boat and Ecoship are both amazing. Thank you Yoshioka

Do you want to read more interviews?

Interview with Frederik van Deurs and Martin Andreas Petersen, GREENTECH CHALLENGE

Interview with Wiebe Wakker, the first man to drive across the world in an electric vehicle

Interview with Jill Butler-Rennie, an off-shore environmental expert


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