Thanks for bringing up this issue.
As cruisers, defining living green is much more than just our carbon footprint. A few years ago, I lived aboard a sailboat and sailed the coast of Mexico
developing a terrible addiction to the lifestyle associated with cruising. I'm now looking for a boat I can call my own, so that I too can travel long distances with the least amount of impact. But I am a bit conflicted by the environmental impact of cruising.
At first glance, sailing appears much more environmentally friendly especially compared with driving a comparably sized motor
home or living in a small house. Hey, we can even use biodiesel – sailing from restaurant to restaurant. But, just because we are not using massive amounts of fossil fuels and stockpiling consumer products in land based homes, we need to remember that cruising can have a tremendous impact on the environment
The major issue is the destruction of natural coastal areas to develop marinas
. Natural lagoons, estuaries and surf spots have all been destroyed so that we might find shelter from wind
and waves. I'm the first to admit that sleeping in a marina can be a lot more comfortable then those rolly, bumpy, windy nights at anchor
. And walking to the showers and bathroom is at times much more civilized than the bucket method for either. As comfortable as they may be, I have yet to see a clean marina. How many of us have spilled something extremely toxic overboard
and assumed that it was just a little bit and my little mess won't matter? Or even worse, how many folks have considered painting their bottoms with toxic anti-fouling
chemicals because they are sick of those monthly scrapings? Of course, we won't do this in our own backyards, we wait until we can do it in another country with less stringent environmental regulations
and where it's actually available in stores. But even without the major pollutants, marina waters are expected to be filled with bacteria and excessive nutrients just from our day to day living, no matter what that Clean Marina sticker on the wall says. And, I can't expect that living on the hook would eliminate my impact on the environment
OK, just a quick rant. It would be great to hear from folks who are actively trying to reduce their impacts and maybe even go the extra step to clean-up, not because they are forced to, but because they want to.