One Man`s Junk Recycler Plans To Sail Vessel Of Styrofoam, Tires Across Ocean.
October 27, 1992|By DANA BANKER, Staff Writer
Some Idlewyld residents were less than thrilled when Christopher Weiland anchored his creation, the Eco-Raft, in front of their waterfront homes in Fort Lauderdale`s Las Olas Bight.
The neighbors might call it a floating junkyard – the blight of the bight.
Weiland calls it an environmental masterpiece, proof that
there is no such thing as trash.
The hull of the 45-foot-long vessel is made of about 450 used tires, stuffed with 50,000 cubic yards of discarded Styrofoam and 12,000 empty bottles. The mainsail was an exterminator`s tent.
Weiland says he is an eco-adventurer, an envoy of environmental consciousness.
He plans to spend two weeks in the harbor at the Intracoastal Waterway and Las Olas Boulevard before embarking up the waterway to New York.
From there, Weiland said, the vessel will begin a trans-Atlantic journey to his native Germany.
During his stay in Fort Lauderdale, Weiland hopes Broward County schools will send children on field trips to his raft. He said he can teach them about creative recycling and capture their imaginations with his tale of environmental adventure.
This is an image of positivity in the morbid topic of environmentalism, said Weiland, 42, who wears a ponytail and beads in his salt-and-pepper beard.
From the million-dollar yachties to the homeless people under the bridge, it just evokes smiles and positivity.
Of course, Weiland realizes,
In the rich neighborhood here, they`re not too pleased about this pile of junk on their doorstep.
Resident Harry Diehl agrees.
I sure don`t think it`s very attractive, said Diehl, Fort Lauderdale
s planning director. ``Ive got a garage full (of junk), if they want some. I could make their day.``
Weiland said he and his brother, Klaus, created the raft with junk scoured from illegal dumps, beaches and mangrove stands in Key West. They first launched it on Earth Day 1990.
In recent months, the boat – which Weiland affectionately calls the Kon- Creaky – has been in Miami Beach. At least one Dade County school, South Pointe Elementary, took Weiland up on his offer for a field trip.
When school officials would not allow them on the boat because of liability concerns, Weiland pulled it close to the shore.
The kids sat and they were amazed, teacher Beth Rosenthal said.
We were studying about making a difference in this world and what they could do. It was clear to them that this guy was making a difference.