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Old 30-08-2013, 01:33   #61
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Re: How to be an Environmental Steward?

I decided at 19 that did not want kids. Stuck to it. I hate littering and litterbugs. When I go somewhere I do not want to see rubbish lying around. Would rather not have human noises such as loud music shattering the tranquil surroundings of the anchorage. Does that make me an enviromental hall monitor? Nope! Just bloody selfish.

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Old 30-08-2013, 06:00   #62
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I think this thread illustrates well that humans are animals and as such are never satisfied with what they have.
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Old 30-08-2013, 06:22   #63
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Re: How to be an Environmental Steward?

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Originally Posted by nimblemotors View Post
I thought it was a gun thread
Give it some time. We're getting there.
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Old 30-08-2013, 06:33   #64
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Re: How to be an Environmental Steward?

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Respectfully, (edit)...at the risk of offending some older forum members here who may have been responsible stewards of their environment..." - which means if you were a good steward in your day, my beef is not with you.

When considered as a demographic sailors are regarded generally as intelligent, highly educated, technically minded people with a higher than average environmental consciousness. This is also my view.
Thank you for making the issue clear, and thanks for the compliment. I'm actually a very young 56...
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Old 30-08-2013, 06:35   #65
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Re: How to be an Environmental Steward?

Blaming those old farts for all our problems is as common as old farts complaining about "the kids today." It's both comically common and just plain silly. Yeah, the world is in bad shape environmentally speaking (despite the fact that some areas are better now). And yes, if previous generations hadn't utilized resources the way they did, we might be in better shape. But as they say, hindsight is 20/20. No doubt this generation of youngsters will also be lambasted for being so myopic and selfish once their kids have kids.

What is clear is that we are approaching (or have gone over) a number of thresholds which make human life on this planet sustainable. We know that now, so now is the time to do things about it.

And before everyone gets whinny or shrill, I recommend to you two nice reports. They are based on real research, not someone's gut feeling, or how it looks out their back yard. They are easy reads, and not that long. They take a global perspective on resource use and potential limits. No one region or county is the universal "bad guy".

Population and Natural Resources (AAAS source)

Trends in Sustainable Development (UN source)

From all this two obvious conclusions arise:
  1. We in the developed countries need to use less. Less per capita and less overall. In some cases, and in some resource sectors, a lot less.
  2. In the developing countries, they need to stop having so many kids (a rate that has already been trending down for time). And they have to avoid following in our resource-hungry steps.
As cruisers, it is possible to have a much smaller environmental footprint. Barn's list is good, as is Kenomac example of going renewable with the business. I think it comes down to the idea of "enough." How much does any one person really need? Living in a small space makes it easier to live with less; to have enough.
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Old 30-08-2013, 06:53   #66
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Re: How to be an Environmental Steward?

We must ask ourselves if solar or wind are greener indeed. For they may be green here where we use them, but what about the damage to the environment in the countries where the devices are produced? Diesel generators may be in fact greener than solar panels and windgens.

I agree what we should strive to use bio-degradable chemistry onboard. And use as little of it as possible. But how does this play with the trend to 'must have' a watermaker onboard. The extra water is used for shower, laundry, etc. And this implies more chemicals, even if they were 'more biodegradable'. So what.

Overpopulation in some areas is a huge factor. I can't see any way out of it. Family values were given priority over environmental values. Future generations will pay up. They already do.

Fishing, spearfishing. No comment. 99% cruisers are out there to have fun killing. The first image you see on any cruising FB is her or him with a big bleeding tuna. Very sad way to celebrate our 'new life', 'no ties', 'in sync with the nature' lifestyle.

These apparent issues have no solutions. These are facts of life. That's what we are. Talking about the environment friendly sport of cruising is hypocrisy.

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Old 30-08-2013, 08:22   #67
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Re: How to be an Environmental Steward?

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Talking about the environment friendly sport of cruising is hypocrisy.
oh Id agree with that, talking about being environmentally friendly while sailing around in a high tech GRP boat filled with stuff !!!!!!!!

dave
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Old 30-08-2013, 08:31   #68
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Re: How to be an Environmental Steward?

Thank you all for opening the shades and baring the window to your souls. This is a topic I rarely think about yet is required thinking from a legacy point of view. With children, grandchildren and great grandchildren to consider, even us old duffers need to change our behaviors to set an example, lay down a new set of markers for what is acceptable and what is not, use environmental issues as a teachable moment for those who are teachable and permanently eliminate consumption where ever we can.
There is nothing we can do about the inner city gangbanger who has no interest in improving his environment except through the hot end of a gun, but he won't be around long enough to worry about or change his behavior anyway.
It makes me feel good to have others of the same point of view state them so clearly and convincingly... thanks for that... Phil
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Old 30-08-2013, 09:07   #69
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Re: How to be an Environmental Steward?

Having no children is the least
selfish thing one can do.
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Old 30-08-2013, 09:57   #70
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Re: How to be an Environmental Steward?

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We must ask ourselves if solar or wind are greener indeed. For they may be green here where we use them, but what about the damage to the environment in the countries where the devices are produced? Diesel generators may be in fact greener than solar panels and windgens.

I agree what we should strive to use bio-degradable chemistry onboard. And use as little of it as possible. But how does this play with the trend to 'must have' a watermaker onboard. The extra water is used for shower, laundry, etc. And this implies more chemicals, even if they were 'more biodegradable'. So what.

Overpopulation in some areas is a huge factor. I can't see any way out of it. Family values were given priority over environmental values. Future generations will pay up. They already do.

Fishing, spearfishing. No comment. 99% cruisers are out there to have fun killing. The first image you see on any cruising FB is her or him with a big bleeding tuna. Very sad way to celebrate our 'new life', 'no ties', 'in sync with the nature' lifestyle.

These apparent issues have no solutions. These are facts of life. That's what we are. Talking about the environment friendly sport of cruising is hypocrisy.

b.
I agree with some of this but not all. There is always going to have to be a balance between an acceptable way of life and sustainability. It's clear that our history of over consumption and consumerism is not sustainable at the current levels. But going back to living in caves with only a fire for heat, light and cooking is not a real solution.

We do have to generate power and we should find the most sustainable way of doing so. No choice is perfect. As you pointed out, solar and wind have their downfalls. They produce mass amounts of hazardous waste. But through their continued use, methods to reduce the amount of waste will be reduced. If we abandon the technology, it should only be for a longer upside. While an argument can be made that currently, a diesel generator is currently "greener" the upside to that technology isn't comparable. Even if biodiesel were to eventually surpass diesel generated from oil fracing, it still has far more down sides. You have to process the biodiesel in a facility and continuously ship it to refuel. Once solar panels are in place, they require very little additional maintenance and no refueling during their service life. So, IMO, they have a much better upside when all is considered.

Almost all things on this planet are "bio-degradable"; to me this has always been one of those "green" false logic items. For me the focus has always been two fold, first on the acute reactions then on the chronic. For instance, a lot of soaps have a high load of phosphorous that can cause algae and bacteria growth by acting as a fertilizer. This can have a significant acute reaction by removing the oxygen from the water and suffocating local fish. Other things like gasoline can have long term effects like genetically modifying the offspring of local fish and shellfish. Understanding these type of properties when making the decision on what to use has always been more important to me. Generally I find that Starbrite's Sea Safe line has done a good job of taking these factors into account.

We are doing our part for over population; no kids.

Now the fishing part is where I have the biggest disagreement with you. We are omnivores; we are genetically evolved to eat things like fish. If we don't, we have significant health issues unless we find other ways to get those nutrients. As long as we are fishing for food and practicing sustainable harvesting, I have zero issue with it. I feel this is very in sync with nature. In fact, in some areas you are actually helping the local ecosystem. In the Bahamas for instance, you can harvest as much lionfish as you can because it is not a natural fish for that area and interferes with the natural ecosystem. So by eating lots of lionfish there you are going a good thing for the environment.

As far as the "no spear fishing" part, I ask why? Spear fishing is much better for practicing sustainable harvesting then using a rod and reel or net. You are selectively targeting only what you intend to eat and a close range so you are more sure of what you are getting. You can more easily bypass overfished species while getting the sustainable species.

As far as the environment friendly sport of cruising is hypocrisy, I also disagree. We all have to live somewhere. By choosing to live on a used cruising sailboat, we are making more environmentally sustainable choices than most. We are reusing the boats (most buy a used, older boat not a brand new one), reducing the need for new ones. Generally, cruisers use less water than people in houses. We have smaller spaces which restricts how much we can consume in new goods. Most use far less electricity than those on land and a larger percentage of our electricity comes from sustainable sources like solar and wind. Generally we don't own and very rarely use cars. We also buy more local grown food instead of stuff that has been transported great distances. If we follow the advice of people like Cap'n Fatty Goodlander, we are recycling far more things than we are buying new (mainly to save money) and reducing the demand for new things.

I think Bash had a good starter list (with a few minor disagreements) and others have added some good ideas like lower toxicity antifouling paint (I have been using Pacifica Plus for the last two years and really like the product, no copper), recycling more (remember its reduce, reuse, recycle in that order; the best option for waste is not to generate it) the meatless days (or choosing pasture raised or wild animals for food). We can all certainly do a little more in this regards and threads like this are a good reminder.
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Old 30-08-2013, 10:10   #71
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Re: How to be an Environmental Steward?

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Wow. Whiners suck, and so do generalizations. Any of us with a boat, or computer to online bicker, are a lot better off than most of the world population.

So lets stop complaining and finger pointing. What have you personally accomplished to better the environment?
As for me:

Fought against the Shoreham Nuclear Plant in my younger days and won. The Scientist and engineers kept saying at the time the plant could never explode.
EXHIBIT A: Fukushima!

Have had solar hot water since the mid 1980's.

Built a whole house LED lighting system completely powered by solar panels without government grants or tax breaks .

House heating is set at 50 degrees and use solar hot air panels and fireplace to provide heat so it rarely turns on. Will be adding on to it this winter converting to solar hot water heating. No government grants or tax brakes involved building the system either.

Converted my boat to electric propulsion six years ago use solar and wind for charging and rarely have to use Honda 2000 generator. Again no government subsidies or tax grants were used for the conversion either!

Bought an electric outboard for the dingy and will be using my idle electric propulsion battery bank for charging via the solar panels and wind turbine.

As far as I'm concerned Al Gore and a lot of the environmental activists can kiss my carbon footprint! As others have said. This is a much better world than when I was growing up in the early 60's. Not the best world but, much better than in the past. I'm tired of the Chicken Little's predicting doom and gloom. I also think Bash's list is a good one to live by.
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Old 30-08-2013, 10:14   #72
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Re: How to be an Environmental Steward?

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oh Id agree with that, talking about being environmentally friendly while sailing around in a high tech GRP boat filled with stuff !!!!!!!!

dave
When one buys a used boat... the "stuff" inside already exists. It's like buying used clothing at the second hand store. I personally can't think of a more eco friendly lifestyle than cruising around on a used boat.

Jeepers, we use the head and nature's bio mass takes care of the processing of waste, use a watermaker for the production of fresh water which only uses the residual electricity produced by the engine... or it can be done via solar panels, wind vane, generator or a towable generator.... I only require 10 gallons of fresh water a day, which rises to 40 gallons when my wife is onboard. Catch a fish or two for dinner. Ride a bike with a large box on the back for carting stuff home from the market like I do.

Come to think of it, I haven't ridden in a car, bus or plane for over four months now. When I return home next week, it's kind of going to be like Mowgli from the "Jungle Book" returning home to civilization..... if you consider Massachusetts civilized. The most difficult adaptations will probably be getting used to underwear and carrying a gun full-time again. 'Just realized... I've spent four months in swim shorts and the same four tee shirts.
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Old 30-08-2013, 10:17   #73
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Re: How to be an Environmental Steward?

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As cruisers, it is possible to have a much smaller environmental footprint. Barn's list is good, as is Kenomac example of going renewable with the business. I think it comes down to the idea of "enough." How much does any one person really need? Living in a small space makes it easier to live with less; to have enough.
My apologies Bash, it was your list I was referring to; although I always appreciate Barnakiel's views as well.

As to whether a high tech fibreglass boat can even be considered environmentally wise is an interesting question. Its contraction certainly uses a lot of resources. And it's certainly not a zero-impact way to live and travel, but nothing is. To live is to extract resources and pollute the environment. Sustainability does not require we stop doing these things, it just means we do it at levels that can be sustained over a long period. Use non-renewables wisely and judiciously, use renewables at replacement rates, and don't poop in your backyard to the point where Nature can't process it.

To me, the biggest potential plus living on a boat has is that it is a small space. It forces limits and it demands that we use resources more consciousnessly. It is certainly possible to have as big a eco footprint on a boat as anywhere, but it is also easier to live with less, and to use less.

Using less is the single best thing we in the West can do.
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Old 30-08-2013, 11:19   #74
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Re: How to be an Environmental Steward?

It's always nice to hear other people talking about the same environmental issues that I think about. Sometimes it can seem the world doesn't give a sh!t... Although I would say that cruisers probably tend to be more environmentally minded than the rest of the population.

I am torn between an attitude of doom and gloom and one of optimism. There are so may things that are getting worse about the environment; ocean plastic levels, population explosion, deforestation, overfishing, Fukushima, the continued failure to end usage of fossil fuels, the painfully slow increase in recycling rates etc etc. However, there are many things which give me optimism. More and more environmental legislation is being put in place by national governments and international bodies, even if the US does continue to refuse to sign international legislation (and that isn't really meant as a criticism of the US, I know that the legal system makes this difficult, but please, please petition your government to start signing this stuff...). Recycling progress might be slow, but at least there is progress. The rate of population increase is reducing, as is the rate of deforestation in the Amazon and other key areas. Multimillion pound/dollar projects like the Elwha dam removal in the US are a sign we are finally realising that nature sometimes needs to come before industry.

Back to the point. Why don't we keep working on Bash's list and really make something of it... I've added my own and others points, removed the one about spear fishing that didn't really seem popular, and clarified the one about smaller spaces.

A cruiser's guide to better environmental stewardship (with thanks to Bash)

1. Sail more; motor less
2. Generate power with solar and wind rather than diesel
3. Don't anchor in coral. Ever.
4. Use biodegradable, non-antibacterial soaps and cleaners
5. Eat at lower trophic levels whenever possible
6. Avoid recreational use of internal combustion engines: kayak rather than jet ski; SUP rather than wake board, row the tender rather than outboard
7. Sail a smaller boat if practical
8. Use LED lighting whenever possible
9. Cool off with fans rather than air conditioning
10. Use certified, sustainably sourced wood
11. Use lower toxicity antifouling
12. Recycle rather than landfill or deep-six
13. Cook with alcohol rather than propane
14. Try to prevent oil spillage, and clean up spills properly
15. Buy local produce
16. Deal with sewage appropriately
17. Prevent spread of invasive species

Additions/corrections anyone?
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Old 30-08-2013, 11:40   #75
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Re: How to be an Environmental Steward?

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Using less is the single best thing we in the West can do.
The notion that the planet is a big zero-sum game where everything we take out, some other poor creature or person looses out in the process is complete folly. Some of the posters use a model that looks like the world is a big apple, and us humans are surrounding it and eating away until there's nothing left... complete scientific nonsense.

When I flush my head or toilet at home, little microscopic creatures called bacteria and plankton get really happy that dinner is being served. They gobble it up as fast as they can... because it makes them happy to have full tummies. The world is not harmed in any way.

When I sit down to eat a meal.... it does not mean that someone elsewhere is going without or there's less for the critters. There's still plenty of farmland to grow more food and grow it more efficiently.... just take a plane across the middle states in the USA and provinces in Canada and look down if you don't believe me. The commodities market will continue to produce what the market demands. Governments however, are what usually gets in the way and create shortages and gluts by interfering with the fair exchange of products. For proof, just look at the former Soviet Union... enormous natural resources, but the people went hungry, they stood in lines for food and the union eventually went broke.

Anything that is mined or extracted from the earth is eventually put back to be used again.

One area that I will agree, is when it comes to polluting with chemicals and careless nuclear waste, these should not be tolerated.

But a zero sum model..... nonsense. The world is not getting smaller as we eat away at it.

Mike, I'm not picking on you, but rather disagreeing with the zero sum model others continue to use to justify their self-loathing environmental activism.

I don't live part time on a boat for environmental reasons.... I just like the freedom. I don't live on a boat because I feel guilty about how much stuff I have.... I just like living on a boat and the lifestyle. I don't have a solar array at home because I feel the need to correct past injustices done to the planet.... I'm basically a penny-pinching Scott that wants to reduce my energy costs.
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