The Golden Rule for a better society
Kayak4Conservation, a social project co-founded by RAMPF employee Tertius Kammeyer, is inspiring people all around the globe for its focus on creating a better, eco-friendly future. At the center of its success stands a maxim that is as simple as it is effective – treating others as one would wish to be treated.
Dear reader, please close your eyes and envisage a dense, luscious green jungle, dazzling feathered birds, gleaming white sand beaches, and a teal blue ocean with beautiful coral reefs beneath its surface.
And now imagine paddling silently across these waters, in between a plethora of small islands and fringing reefs, stopping now and then to relax on one of the countless beaches. There is just you and nature …
“Yes, it’s that good”, says Tertius Kammeyer with a sparkle in his eyes. And he should know, having spent six years on Raja Ampat, an archipelago comprising over 1,500 small islands in
Indonesia’s West Papua province.
Denjenigen unter Ihnen, die gerade anfangen, daran zu zweifeln, ob sie einen Artikel über jemanden lesen möchten, der einen unverschämt langen Urlaub im Paradies gemacht hat, sei gesagt:
Lesen Sie bitte weiter. Denn Tertius Kammeyer hat seine Zeit ganz sicher nicht damit verbracht, in der Sonne zu liegen.
Gemeinsam mit seinem Geschäftspartner Max Ammer hat er in 2012 das soziale Öko-Tourismusprojekt Kayak4Conservation gegründet, das in der Region Kajaktouren und Unterkünfte für Touristen anbietet. „Wir betrachten das als ein kommunales Entwicklungsprogramm, da wir Einheimische als Führer beschäftigen und mit Gästehäusern zusammenarbeiten, die im Besitz von Einheimischen sind. Auf diese Weise wird Einkommen auf eine nachhaltige und umweltfreundliche Weise generiert, im Gegensatz zum Hai-Finning, zur Vogel-Wilderei und zum Abholzen der Wälder“, erklärt Tertius Kammeyer.
“We see this as community development program, as we employ local men as guides and work together with locally-owned guesthouses. This way, income is generated in sustainable, ecofriendly ways as opposed to shark finning, bird poaching, or logging”, explains Tertius Kammeyer.
Providing a source of income is all the more important in view of a poverty rate of more than 25% in West Papua. Consequently, the locals are also taught how to build the fiber-glass kayaks that are used. Having started out with four plastic kayaks, the fleet has now grown to eleven single and four double kayaks, hand-lain in fiberglass, in molds donated by Kaskazi Kayaks in South Africa.
According to Tertius, the so-called Golden Rule was the biggest inspiration for him to follow when founding the organization. “It postulates that one should treat others as one would wish to be treated by them. This basic notion not only defines the way tourists should interact with the locals, but also shines a light on how we, as humans, should live in harmony with our irreplaceable planet.”
Pointing out that the most rewarding result of the project was seeing children no longer having to work fields for food, Kayak4Conservation persistently strives for a better future for the island and those who coincide in it.
In my mind, I feel that we always strive to better the future. We plan and work towards something, to make it better – whether that is with regard to society, to the environment, or to new products. This itself is a process of discovery.
After his time at Kayak4Conservation, he continues to look for opportunities to support similar projects. He mentions a small canoe building incentive in Botswana or Malawi, where the locals cut down trees to make canoes for fishing. “By building a fiberglass canoe that outlasts a wooden one we can preserve trees and teach people a valuable hands-on skill.”