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January 31, 2014

Kon Tiki Goes Green - greening your raft

The biggest annual Scouting event in my province is Kon Tiki, a weekend rafting competition. The theme this year is 'Kon Tiki goes Green' so I'm kicking the year off by looking at the various components of the raft and how you can reduce, re-use and recycle the various components.

It would be a great ideal to have every component of your raft made from a salvaged or recycled item, but where that isn't possible, it's still important to look after the new items so that they last as long as possible. Reducing the number of things we throw away is an important part of going green. I would note that I'm not a judge at Kon Tiki, and this list hasn't been approved by the judges, these are just suggestions to get your gears turning about ways of reducing the environmental impact of your raft.
  • Decorations - recycled decorations, decorations that are biodegradable and decorations that serve more than one function (eg. a coloured sheet that serves as decoration AND shelter at the same time) are a good idea.
  • Poles - Bamboo has a lower environmental impact than solid timber, but has a shorter lifespan. Re-using pioneering poles for many years is a good way to reduce their impact- and a good way to extend the life of poles is by maintaining them well, giving a good coat of creosote or varnish, and ensuring the ends don't split.
  • Barrels - Again, reducing the impact of barrels by maintaining them so they can be used for many years is a good strategy. There is also the chance to go avoid conventional drums altogether and make a raft out of plastic bottles - it has been done (very successfully) at previous Kon Tikis by 1st Honeydew.
  • Lashing ropes - An adventurous troop might look into making their own rope.
  • Food- Apart from cooking your food using a haybox or a solar cooker, what about cooking with vegetables from your garden? There is still time for tomatoes and beans planted this month to be ready for Kon Tiki

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