Trade winds. A voyage to a sustainable future for shipping

Christiaan De Beukelaer, FIAS Fellow 2023-2024 IMéRA Aix-Marseille & University of Melbourne
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In 2020, Christiaan De Beukelaer spent 150 days covering 14,000 nautical miles aboard the schooner Avontuur, a hundred-year-old sailing vessel that transports cargo across the Atlantic Ocean. Embarking in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, he wanted to understand the realities of a little-known alternative to the shipping industry on which our global economy relies, and which contributes more carbon emissions than aviation. What started as a three-week stint of fieldwork aboard the ship turned into a five-month journey, as the COVID-19 pandemic forced all borders shut while crossing the ocean, preventing the crew from stepping ashore for months on end.

Trade winds engagingly recounts De Beukelaer's life-changing personal odyssey and the complex journey the shipping industry is on to cut its carbon emissions. The Avontuur's mission remains crucial as ever: the shipping industry urgently needs to stop using fossil fuels, starting today. If we can't swiftly decarbonise shipping, we can't solve the climate crisis.


Trade Winds. A voyage to a sustainable future for shipping by Christiaan De Beukelaer. Published by Manchester University Press (2023). 360 pages. ISBN 978 1 5261 6309 7


Maritime shipping is the driving force behind the economy that threatens the climate. Setting sail for climate action - but will it work? Interview with Christiaan De Beukelaer in MO* by Gie Goris, 4 May 2023