Green Pedals visits QSI school in Tbilisi, Georgia

There are now 5 apple trees, 4 peach trees and a pomegranate tree in the grounds of the QSI school in Tbilisi, Georgia. In 10 years, if the kids that planted the trees return, they will be able to eat the pesticide free, organic fruit that has grown. Probably the trees will bear fruit a lot earlier. Organic food and rubbish were focal areas of the Green Pedals visit at the school.

Planting trees at QSI school

Planting trees at QSI school

Green Pedals cyclist Matthew Harris passed through Tbilisi in Georgia, and visited the QSI school. Lasha Kurdashvili from GREEN – a Georgina NGO focussing on organic farming, explained to the kids what organic farming is, and why this is important for a healthy and sustainable future. Matthew told how he has cycled past a lot of rubbish on his bike trip, seen many plastic bag trees and coke bottles filled with urine (thrown out by truck drivers on a tight schedule). Rubbish and waste is a major issue, and awareness is important in countries like Georgia.

Lasha talking about organic farming

Lasha talking about organic farming

Matthew talking about the bike trip

Matthew talking about the bike trip

Then the kids got out the spades and pick-axes, and dug up the school lawn. The result are 10 sticks in the lawn, soon to be producing delicious organic fruit.

But this is just the beginning – the Green Pedals Tbilisi kick-off. The school is going to work further on organic farming, rubbish and other sustainability topics. They are keen to join the Green Pedals movement, hear the latest from Matthew and the other schools, and share their activities.

Thanks to Dylan Crawford, Lasha Kurdashvili and the Tbilisi team, and to the Green Pedals founder Mansi Jasuja, helping develop the Green Pedals Tbilisi concept.

Green Pedals visits two primary schools in Istanbul

‘Ben bir çilginim’ – ‘I am crazy’.
Green Pedals cyclist Matthew started his talk with the children at the Anakent and Sener Birsoz primary schools in Istanbul.

Matthew at Anakent school

Matthew at Anakent school

Matthew might be crazy but the kids certainly are not. Matthew talked about his cycle trip from Holland to Australia, and about what he has seen on the way. The kids know what sustainability is about – caring for the planet, less waste, recycling, less pollution and waste (rubbish). They were all really excited and engaged, asking questions, and telling the teachers, other kids and me what they know and think about sustainability.

Matthew at Sener Birsoz school

Matthew at Sener Birsoz school

The kids are making drawings showing how they and their families are sustainable, and about Matthew’s cycle trip. A new weekly sustainability workshop will be starting on sustainability at the Sener Birsoz school. A really cool initiative. Thanks to the whole Istanbul Green Pedals team!

 

Anakent school

Anakent school

Anakent school

Anakent school

Sener Birsoz school

Sener Birsoz school

Green Pedals Golden Time. Willemsparkschool

Tijdens de duurzame Golden Time hebben de kinderen met verschillende materialen gewerkt die normaliter weggegooid worden.
Er zijn prachtige vogelhuisjes en wensputten geknutseld van oude melkpakken. Glazen potjes werden bewerkt tot betoverende waxinelichthouders en de kinderen zijn creatief bezig geweest met kurken en knopen.
Het was een bijzonder leuke, creatieve middag met als doel de kinderen te leren dat je afval op de mooiste manieren kan hergebruiken.
We willen de hulpmoeders en juffen bedanken voor de begeleiding en natuurlijk ook de kinderen voor hun inzet. We hopen dat jullie een fijne middag hebben gehad!
We hebben ook een handleiding toegevoegd met alle knutsel activiteiten die we tijdens Golden Times hebben gedaan. Dan kun je samen met je kinderen leuke knutselmiddagen houden tijdens de kerstvakantie.

Gelukkig nieuw jaar 2015!

Doeiiii Drahtesel! We hebben al zoveel meegemaakt. En er komt nog zoveel meer!

Mijn fiets ‘Drahtesel’ staat nu in Istanbul, en ik zit aan de andere kant van de aarde in Australië. Oost-Turkije, waar mijn reis nu naartoe gaat, is koud. In de hoge bergen daar kan het -20C worden! Die plekken moet je niet in de winter fietsen. Daarom heb ik nu winter/kerst-pauze met familie en vrienden. De afgelopen 5 weken zat ik in Australië bij mijn familie, en heb een zomerse kerst gevierd. In maart ga ik Drahtesel weer zien, en we gaan verder naar het zuiden en het oosten fietsen.

Terugkijkend naar de afgelopen 3 maanden heb ik zoveel mooie plekken gezien en aardige mensen ontmoet. Onze planeet barst van de schoonheid. Ik heb prachtige zonsopgangen gezien, bergpanorama’s, en ik heb in glashelder blauw water gezwommen onder de warme zon.

Uitzicht over de Bay of Kotor

Uitzicht over de Baai van Kotor

Ik heb ook veel afval gezien – in rivieren, velden, bossen en gewoon overal op straat. Het ziet er echt lelijk uit en is slecht voor het milieu. Ook heb ik voor het eerst van ‘dumpster diving’ gehoord. Fietsers die ik ontmoet heb, hebben maandenlang uit prullenbakken geleefd – en hebben geen euro uitgegeven. Ze hebben vis, vlees, vers fruit en groente, brood en alles mogelijke gegeten. Alles wat anderen gewoon weggegooid hebben. Toen merkte ik pas hoeveel goed eten we verspillen.

De gelukkigste mensen die ik heb gezien zijn gelukkig omdat ze familie en vrienden hebben. Ik ben de kerst en nieuwjaar bij familie en vrienden in Australië geweest. Een erg leuke tijd. Nu is het 2015 – een heeeeeel spannend jaar, denk ik wel! 🙂 Ik wens jullie een super 2015!

Matthew Harris

Cycling up blue-plastic-bag valley. A world of rubbish.

There is nothing better than standing on the side of the road and breathing in a beautiful vista in front of me. It is even better knowing that I have cycled there under my own steam. More and more, as I travel east, there is rubbish everywhere. The brain needs to blot out and ignore the plastic bag, empty water bottle, chocolate bar wrapper or whatever. And this stuff is everywhere.

The D100 road from Erdine to Istanbul

The D100 road from Erdine to Istanbul

Cycling in Greece towards the Bulgarian border, James talked about cycling up the ‘blue-plastic-bag valley’. The blue plastic bags were everywhere, even hanging like flags on twigs. And you can see how it gets that way. People simply throw rubbish wherever they are. Some places are real rubbish heaps – not official ones, of course.

Rubbish in Bulgaria

Rubbish in Bulgaria

A guy in Ivaylovgrad in Bulgaria was telling me about the rubbish heap on the way up Mt Ararat in eastern Turkey. This is a mountain with biblical importance – it is where Noah’s ark came to rest. It is also where a lot of rubbish has come to rest – all the way up the mountain. This guy suggested to the park rangers that it might be nice if they went up the mountain just before the tourist season starts, and collect all the rubbish. It may even boost tourism. They did this. Many people joined in, and they cleaned up the mountain. Good work!

Rubbish ends up somewhere. A lot doesn’t degrade, and hangs around for years. If we can get by with less packaging, reuse what we already have, and properly dispose of what we use, we could use less resources, and have a better looking and enjoyable environment.

Water – the key to life

Climbing up and down mountains on a bike makes me hot. And if the sun comes out, it makes me hotter. I sweat a lot, and I need to replenish that water. If there are not many villages, I need to take extra water with me. In any case, I need drinkable water. In Europe, on my trip, everyone has access to drinkable water, and usually, I don’t need to take too much with me. In the Balkan region, there have been lots of public drinking fountains everywhere, which are perfect for me to fill up with water. They are on the side of the road, straight from the mountain creeks without any need for cleaning for drinking – in villages, and in convenient places when I need water.

Public water fountain in Bulgaria

Public water fountain in Bulgaria

Public water fountain in Bulgaria

Public water fountain in Bulgaria

Public water fountain in Greece

Public water fountain in Greece

Drinkable water is the key to life. Without it, we cannot survive. In some of the countries I will be visiting, drinkable water is not as easily available as it is in Europe. I will need to use my water filter, and take more water with me on my bike.

Water is valuable, and many of the sources of water are being used faster than they can refill naturally. People are very careful with water, and have ingenious methods to use the little water they have in the best possible way. I will be looking and learning how people live and use valuable water.

Dumpster diving

It is amazing the amount of food thrown away each and every day. Anything that is just past its use-by date. Any piece of fruit or vegetable that is not shiny, round, or aesthetically pleasing, gets thrown away. Bread at the end of the day from the bakery. Fruit at the end of the day from the market. We are using the resources of the planet to create food that goes to waste.

Today in Dubrovnik, I met Clèment – a cyclist from France that is cycling around the world. He told of ‘dumpster diving’ where you collect, prepare and eat food that has been thrown away. He travelled over a month around France living this way, and he lived like a king!! Take a look at what he says.