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Old 04-09-2012, 00:40   #31
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Re: First Sail Boat Through the McClure Straits

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Ok, so put your hand up all you guys on both sides of the debate that sold your cars, disconnected you house from the electricity grid, threw away your boat motors and are posting here using a computer operating purely on green energy?
Hey! That is us! Actually, not quite because we still do have a couple of small outboards to power us into and out of port. But no generator onboard. This computer gets its energy from solar panels. The water we drink comes from the sea via solar panels and a 12V watermaker. We rarely use the outboard on the dinghy, we prefer to row. When the wind drops, we just wait rather than switching on the engines.

But we don't do any of this because we are worried about global warming!

It is about economics, a mental state of mind and getting in touch with our surroundings. I have an open mind but I am still not convinced about anthropogenic climate change. Could be right, could be wrong, not enough info to say. The time frame is too short but the correlation between sun spot activity and global temperatures certainly looks interesting and requires further study.
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Old 04-09-2012, 00:48   #32
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Re: First Sail Boat Through the McClure Straits

For those that are interested in a scientific discussion, this site goes into many of the arguments that those who are skeptics about man's impact on climate change make. Depending on your level of scientific understanding, most areas are delineated between basic, intermediate and advanced. I don't even pretend to understand most of the advanced.

It is worthwhile taking a look at the various sections if you have heard one side or the other and wondered what the science really says.
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Old 04-09-2012, 02:11   #33
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Re: First Sail Boat Through the McClure Straits

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Ok, so put your hand up all you guys on both sides of the debate that sold your cars, disconnected you house from the electricity grid, threw away your boat motors and are posting here using a computer operating purely on green energy?
More to the point, hands up those who voted for someone from an organisation which actually recognises that if we get this wrong, nothing else matters much.

And who, in the absence of such an organisation or person in their electorate, took steps towards setting one up?

That's how to achieve change in a democracy.


I hate the idea of single-issue voting, and have never done so in my life until now. This is the only issue in my lifetime * which has impelled me (as a person who is socially conservative on some issues) to hold my nose and vote on the basis of one issue.

(with the possible exception of nuclear disarmament, which -- luckily -- the mainstream parties where I live both supported, so I wasn't forced to make an unpalatable choice for a fringe party)
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Old 04-09-2012, 09:53   #34
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Re: First Sail Boat Through the McClure Straits

I'm not convinced that democracy is the answer to solve situations demanding a planetary response. Democracy is great on the level of the local and the immediate. It's got a poor track record when the timeline involves decades and requires individuals used to individual freedoms to expect those freedoms to be modified or curtailed for a greater good that may be both nebulous and unavailable to those making the "sacrifice" of reducing personal choices.

The British wartime economy became a command economy with restricted civil liberties in order to preserve a parliamentary democracy from Axis fascisms. Food itself was strictly rationed. When the British public had little or no access to crappy or excessive food, health improved dramatically.

Would Americans and Canadians, who experienced far less rationing inside America, accept a "war footing" in order to transform their economy into one that greatly reduced personal car use, energy consumption and sold only healthy, local foods in local shops instead of cheap sacks of corn chips in WalMarts out by the highway?

Hell, no. That's why we fought the war!

Strangely, the very restrictions for which most people would be unwilling to submit on land are seen as rational at sea on a small boat (unless you "sail" a dock queen). It's clear that if you make every amp aboard through diesel, sun or wind, you can't leave lights on, can't leave the stereo blasting and can't, mostly, have hot or pressurized fresh water in unlimited quantities. Everything must be planned and measured...even if you have money...if shortfalls are to be avoided.

Boat living is therefore intrinsically "greener" if only in the sense that the skipper and crew are directly involved in the means of energy production and storage. Be oblivious to these aspects of life aboard, and you are soon reading by oil lamps, assuming you remembered to bring lamp oil, and trying to spin your diesel's flywheel with the crash-gybe method, assuming you have compression levers.

In this sense, Earth is a very large passagemaker. We may disagree on how best to address the excess and bulky crew who are forgetting to turn off the lights, but can we agree that the lights need more turning off?
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Old 04-09-2012, 17:54   #35
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Re: First Sail Boat Through the McClure Straits

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I'm not convinced that democracy is the answer to solve situations demanding a planetary response. ...
You make telling points. I agree with you more than I'm prepared to concede, in detail, in public.

However, democracy is the only tool we individuals have, here in the so-called West, and if we turn our backs on that, we turn our backs on the problem (and, for those of us who consider this to be a potentially existential threat, our descendants).

If we elected fascist governments in the major powers, it could be expected that they would band together to achieve common goals (as in Europe in the first half of last century)

So... if we elect green governments, it may also happen that they make common cause, trans-nationally.

I'm open to better ideas if anyone has one.
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Old 05-09-2012, 08:21   #36
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Re: First Sail Boat Through the McClure Straits

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Ok, so put your hand up all you guys on both sides of the debate that sold your cars, disconnected you house from the electricity grid, threw away your boat motors and are posting here using a computer operating purely on green energy?
The reason I own two boats (a fixer-upper and a classic plastic) is because I have never owned a car and bought a house (see: no car) close to the water. When all the panels and wind gens, etc are installed on the boat, and we live aboard, we will closely be meeting your scenario.

It is indeed close to impossible to live not touching the earth. But it is surprisingly simple to live a hell of a lot lighter. If I run 10 gallons of gas through my Atomic 4 and my Honda outboard and Honda 2000 in a year, that's been a pretty engine-intensive year. I intend to operate my new diesel on my refitting passagemaker more intensively, but not to spin alternators and to endeavor to keep my carbon footprint smaller than we do shoreside.
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Old 05-09-2012, 08:26   #37
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Re: First Sail Boat Through the McClure Straits

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You make telling points. I agree with you more than I'm prepared to concede, in detail, in public.

However, democracy is the only tool we individuals have, here in the so-called West, and if we turn our backs on that, we turn our backs on the problem (and, for those of us who consider this to be a potentially existential threat, our descendants).

If we elected fascist governments in the major powers, it could be expected that they would band together to achieve common goals (as in Europe in the first half of last century)

So... if we elect green governments, it may also happen that they make common cause, trans-nationally.

I'm open to better ideas if anyone has one.
Fascism can come in any colour, in my experience. The paradox is that a more ecologically oriented democracy would, as happened in the Second World War, have to restrict freedom of choice in the marketplace in order to preserve freedom of quality of life on the planet.

It's a tough order. People have difficulty working credit cards, so saying "we need to do X.Y and Z for the next two centuries in order to make a better, more sustainable world, and it will involve not having everything you want at a cheap price shipped overnight to your front door, which won't be made of tropical hardwoods" is, frankly, going to be a hard sell.

We are only grabby monkeys with a slightly better puzzle-solving talent, after all.
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Old 05-09-2012, 08:40   #38
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Re: First Sail Boat Through the McClure Straits

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I'm absolutely serious.... so what's wrong with global warming or climate change?? What can we all do to help speed up the process??

I love warm weather, lower heating bills, and look forward to making the same northern passage someday.
To begin with, one of the negative aspects of climate disruption is ocean acidification. The oceans function as an enormous carbon sink. As more carbon dioxide is absorbed, the oceans become more acidic. (That's chemistry, by the way, not politics.)

As acidity goes up, calcification goes down. In other words, it becomes more difficult for organisms that build shells and plates out of calcium carbonate to do so. There's basically a saturation horizon, over which organisms such as coral polyps cannot grow.

We're getting close to that horizon.
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Old 05-09-2012, 09:36   #39
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Re: First Sail Boat Through the McClure Straits

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(and, for those of us who consider this to be a potentially existential threat, our descendants)
That too could be part of the problem. Balancing one side of the equation can start with fewer of those descendants.
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Old 05-09-2012, 09:56   #40
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Re: First Sail Boat Through the McClure Straits

Following up Bash's comment.

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About one third of carbon dioxide (CO2) released by human activities since the start of the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s has been taken up by the oceans. This addition of anthropogenic CO2 has altered the basic ocean chemistry, specifically the marine carbonate system. Carbon dioxide dissolves in the surface water and forms carbonic acid which has decreased ocean pH by 0.1 units over the past 200 years. If CO2 emissions increase as projected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on Emissions Scenarios, by 2100, the global surface ocean pH will reduce further by 0.3 to 0.5 units.

The most direct biological impact of lowed pH will be on organisms that form calcium carbonate (CaCO3) shells and skeletons, because a decline in pH decreases the saturation state of CaCO3.. The surrounding seawater needs to be saturated with carbonate ions to allow shells to form and to protect shells from dissolution (or breakdown into individual ions).

DFO scientists are studying ocean acidification on all three of Canada's coasts:

Atlantic: pH in the bottom waters of the Lower St. Lawrence Estuary has decreased notably by 0.2 to 0.3 pH units over the past 70 years in response to increases in atmospheric CO2. As a result of this exposure to corrosive waters, bottom-dwelling, carbonate-secreting organisms, such as mollusks, bivalves, and benthic foraminifera, must now expend more energy to secrete their skeletons and aragonite shells (a crystal form of calcium carbonate). Further, the Arctic outflow through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago (CAA) influences the highly productive Canadian Atlantic ecosystem. The Arctic outflow is more “corrosive” than other waters in the region and preconditions of Canada's east coast might make it more susceptible to future variations.
Pacific: The sub-surface water of the Pacific inherently contains high CO2 concentration due to the age of water. This low pH water is brought to the surface over the British Columbia continental shelf during summer by seasonal upwelling. While this upwelling is a natural phenomenon, the oceanic uptake of anthropogenic CO2 has increased the acidity so that for brief periods surface waters are already undersaturated with respect to aragonite (pH < 7.7) on parts of the coast. The combination of higher carbon concentrations with projected increases in upwelling winds along the west coast will act to exacerbate this problem over the next few decades. Historical data of pteropods, an important food source for salmon, are being examined in the context of model predictions.
Arctic: DFO scientists are currently involved in various regional and international studies to more accurately describe the frequency and extent of acidification events, to identify areas that are the most vulnerable to acidification and to better understand the potential impacts on marine organisms. Current research indicates that the uptake of CO2 from the atmosphere is accelerated in the Arctic due to the cold water temperatures. This, combined with more rapid sea ice melt, is making the Arctic particularly vulnerable to ocean acidification.
Ocean Acidification
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Old 05-09-2012, 10:03   #41
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Re: First Sail Boat Through the McClure Straits

As I said earlier more people living on boats would be great for the environmental issues...when YOU are the one providing for your energy and water needs, there is much less wastage than when there is an apparently endless supply available with no more effort than flicking a switch. I have never owned a house and have been happily car-free for years, a big supporter of bicycle as great solution for many of our problems. Andrew, as much concern as you have for this issue, I hope that you are actually doing something about it, not just talking. The point I was trying to make earlier was not about trying to remedy the issue, but to take adversity and try to use it to our advantage. Back to the OP, this thread was supposed to be about a remarkable trip by a sailboat in an area that I am very interested in...
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Old 06-09-2012, 22:23   #42
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Re: First Sail Boat Through the McClure Straits

Good news for those who want to make the voyage; bad news for the rest of the planet.

Quote:
The loss of Arctic ice is massively compounding the effects of greenhouse gas emissions, ice scientist Professor Peter Wadhams has told BBC Newsnight.

White ice reflects more sunlight than open water, acting like a parasol.

Melting of white Arctic ice, currently at its lowest level in recent history, is causing more absorption.

Prof Wadhams calculates this absorption of the sun's rays is having an effect "the equivalent of about 20 years of additional CO2 being added by man".


The sea ice extent at 26 August (white) is markedly different from the 1979-2000 average (orange line)
The Cambridge University expert says that the Arctic ice cap is "heading for oblivion".
BBC News - Arctic ice melt 'like adding 20 years of CO2 emissions'

It is called the albedo effect.



Your white sails produce a minuscule albedo effect.
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Old 06-09-2012, 22:41   #43
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Re: First Sail Boat Through the McClure Straits

I welcome Global Warming. Let's work together to speed up the process.
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Old 06-09-2012, 23:30   #44
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Re: First Sail Boat Through the McClure Straits

I'm a paid up member of the unscientific people who inhabit this planet but after reading this thread i want to ask:-

As far as quantity/volume goes is there more or less gases in or on our planet than what there were some 2, 3 or 20 million years ago?

?
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Old 07-09-2012, 04:10   #45
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Re: First Sail Boat Through the McClure Straits

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.... Andrew, as much concern as you have for this issue, I hope that you are actually doing something about it, not just talking....
You may put your mind completely at rest on that score.


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....The point I was trying to make earlier was not about trying to remedy the issue, but to take adversity and try to use it to our advantage....
Adversity generally refers to something which happens beyond our control, not something which we actively participate in causing.

If I belong to a community of crappy parents and our kids run riot and bust all the shopfront windows in the central business district, that's not adversity, that's just a consequence of our societal failings.

Sure, I can use that to my advantage. I can go and help myself to some free goods... Would it not be better to treat this as a serious message, take a grip, try and lift my game as a parent from here on in, and try to take some parents with me?

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.... Back to the OP, this thread was supposed to be about a remarkable trip by a sailboat in an area that I am very interested in....
The remarkable thing about the trip is that it's possible. It's on the way to being commonplace.

It's the changing conditions which are truly remarkable. Sure they present an opportunity; by all means make the most of it, and take lots of photos ... because once the ice is gone, it'll look much like anywhere else.
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