WHO reports that smoke from cooking fires kills over 1.6 million people every year. After working full time on stoves for 8 years in 15 countries, Prakti has the key to be the first enterprise to unlock the global stove market. Minh Cuong Le Quan is the co-founder of Prakti Design – here is a snapshot of the beginning of his company’s journey at sea.
Barely 10 days into it, the voyage already proves to be a landmark experience on an intimate level. Most of us know about the wonders of our planet, at the same time it is confined and on the verge of environmental collapse. “Spaceship earth” as astronauts call it. However that knowledge remains in the head, intellectual. This journey is about experiencing it and making it real, hands on.
Indeed it was a deep emotion, sighting humpback whales a few hundred meters away as the ship was reaching for safety in Honolulu. Here they are, the largest mammals that accompany mankind and populate our legends, myths and tales since the beginning of ages.
Likewise, I was aware of the pollution of oceans. The very same day as sighting the whales, I gave a quick hand moving some trash from a stage. A bag full of all sorts of plastic pieces, fish nets, fine particles, that Protei had collected from a beach in Hawai’i for a presentation. Cheesy as it may sound, touching stuff makes it real.
Feeling that emotional pulse -and feeling stuff in the hands- sheds a new light on previous learning about our place on earth. The experience transforms awareness into knowledge, and connects it to the heart. What was once a moral responsibility to better our world, with an endless list of good reasons, suddenly simplified into just common sense.
For a green-worker, keeping spirits high is hard while isolated in a materialistic society. The like-minded community of global thinkers + doers at unreasonable at Sea nourishes the soul. I quietly and slowly find my space here, and enjoy every bit of it – slight sea sickness included!
The Unreasonable at Sea approach to tackling global challenges is what I have been seeking over the past 15 years: optimistic, embracing the globe, leverage in whatever ways possible, innovative, yet down-to-earth and rooted in action.
The teaching by Daniel Epstein (Unreasonable Institute) and George Kembel (Stanford’s d.school) make it practical, cost effective and fast to innovate. The acceleration of learning by doing, with a structured and systematic approach, is creatively destroying old patterns constructed by “professional” experience.
This teaching connects with the curious, empathetic and creative child that had been silenced. Striving to open ears, eyes and to experiment.
This inside joyful buddy buried under walls and rigid frames that learnt by force to constrict time and action in logical linear sequences, to be reasonable. It feels real good to wake up!
I can’t wait to spend more time on ship, go through rough and quiet seas. I can’t wait to enjoy reaching ports, going out and listening to people, interacting on the burning issue of food and cooking. I can’t wait to gain insights in the cultures, needs and aspirations of women, girls and cooks across Asia and Africa. And be of service rolling out as many wood stoves to new markets as possible.
Endless as it may be, the continuous work on oneself is part of being a green-worker, a development professional. 1000 kudos to Unreasonable for stretching the limits!
Minh Cuong LE QUAN