The new report from IPCC was published last week. The message was loud and clear – according to 6000 studies we have a need of urgent change of the course.
My opinion is that the key element of the change is behavior of us as consumers. Our everyday choices can form a new direction to the flow. There is no sense to wait for advanced technological solutions to come up to solve the problem, meanwhile we can do a lot.
The reason of writing this post is to point out that the things aren’t black and white. I also want to show few of my own choices towards more sustainable living and maybe inspire others. You don’t have to go to extremes and start to eat raw food and collect your month’s trash to a glass jar. But if you do even something to reduce your carbon footprint, and your neighbor and their neighbors and a whole town will do the same, the effect is significant.
I also want to reflect my own thinking to Li Yachts, sustainability shouldn’t be only trending terminology, which is used to boost up marketing. Whole project should progress in accordance with the values of people behind it. That forms the base to the goals of the project.
I have asked myself many times that does it make sense to design a new aluminium sailboat to a world where we should fabricate less and consume less. But again things are not black and white.
I think that we should prioritize our purchases and concentrate only to our main ambition and interest. These are the items that you use the most in your free time. Other things that are used rarely, which are just nice to own, can be made available by sharing economy.
What this means to me? I want to sail, so decision is clear. I don’t have a need of dreaming about summer cottage, which would only be used few weeks a year and during winter time just using electricity to keep up basic heat.
We are designing a boat for sustainable way of living for determined and ambitious people who know how they want to live. For me the ideal would be living onboard energy self-sufficient most of the time and the rest of the time in a small apartment on land. We are doing it already, even though old Li would not allow us to live on board in northern climate. We have learned to live last five years in apartment of 30 square meters. For many of us that would be extreme for two people, but in many cases the square meters are needed to store unnecessary items, and without them we could live in smaller space. How about the temperature during the heating season? Anything above 20°C is wasting of energy. Last ten years I have learned to live in 18°C.
When living on board with limited storage, the food can’t be wasted. It needs to be bought with consideration and used effectively. Selection of foodstuff onboard is limited, but it can however be healthy. In our live on land we eat most “red tagged” food that is close to its best before date. By doing that we save a lot of money and the wasting of food is reduced. There is no sense to use energy for producing food for huge selection of the shelves and then waste it. We also have halved the amount of beef that we eat, which means one or two times per week in average. Producing beef causes the highest amount of CO2/kg. Destiny of food rubbish has also its effect. I have composted all organic carbage in last ten years. Rotting organic waste in landfill sites produces methane and carbon dioxide, which are greenhouse gases.
I have burned thousands of liters of fossil fuel in my cars during the last 17 years. Four years ago we moved closer to points of interest and since that I have used only tenth of the diesel than before. As we know traveling by plane makes huge addition to our carbon footprint. To keep the plane in the air huge amount of energy is needed. It’s easy to be selfish – I require this holiday under the sun once in a year. I have a desire to the distant dive sites, which are calling me to fly. But it has been now almost eight years since my last flight voyage.
As you might have noticed we are designing Zero Fossil Fuel prototype of the boat. That was my initial goal. It’s better to do things and try to develop them to more sustainable direction than stop doing anything. In this case towards sustainable sailboat concept – despite the challenges. Dream needs to be kept alive and just continue working determinedly forward to reach it. Some voyages aren’t possible in safety way without diesel engine, that’s true. But for me personally that would be selfish for example to “sail” through The Northwest Passage with a rows of jerry cans on deck. How can we use the term expedition boat then, some have asked? Well, who defines what is an expedition? For me there is no sense to burn diesel on a boat which is meant to be moved by wind propulsion. You just need to accept the possible routes and areas.
I have always lived with little or minimal amount of items. All my furnitures have been bought used with few exceptions, that way it has been also easy to get rid of them when needed. When I purchase something I prefer high quality and long service life. For example this laptop has worked fine last nine years after few upgrades. If some item is showing signs of worn, it doesn’t need to be replaced immediately, few tiny holes in a T-shirt does not matter. Things should be used to an end. I dreamed about new bicycle but then decided to refit the old one from year 1993. As mentioned before when purchasing new items prioritization is needed. And if something new is bought it has to be really needed and within peak point of interests. That is how I have justified the aim to build a new boat, again things are not black and white. If the purchases of useless items will be avoided, lots of resources could be saved.
We want to design a boat so that it will have as long service life as possible. After that major percentage of it can be recycled as effective way as possible. I have recycled all sortable materials whole my adult life, so thinking a new life of building materials is also essential when designing a boat as well as seeking choices of materials that have already high recycled content. We need to move towards circular economy in all sections.
If you get this far, what is the whole point of this? You can grow your business, enjoy your meals, go for holidays and purchase items, but it can be done in more sustainable way. Little changes really matter if we all make them. Stopping won’t give any hope – improving the way of living will.