Problem: Shipping’s reliance on dirty oil

Everyone knows that oil and water do not mix – except, that is, for the international shipping industry that plies their trade on the world’s waterways. It’s a triple threat: fossil fuels burned to propel the cargo ships pollute our air and our water; the world’s demand for fossil fuels is aided by huge tankers full of oil crossing perilous seas and entering ports where the threat of a massive spill is constant, and, oil-dependent maritime shipping covers 90% of all goods purchased.  So how can the consumer economy be perpetuated when the ships are not prepared to switch to another means of propulsion, even if it were known, when oil supplies will inevitably be cut and the world may start strongly protecting the climate from emissions?

Solution: Sail Transport of goods

According to Culture Change, we have passed the point of changing the economy’s energy diet to avoid petrocollapse. While Culture Change also believes in telling the unvarnished truth about mounting climate chaos, they also work to educate people about how to transition now to a fossil-independent lifestyle. To that end, they support an adjunct organization called the Sail Transport Network, which is reviving old-world ways of transporting goods using sailing ships.

The big news is that a renovation is nearing completion on a sailing ship originally built in 1920 in the Netherlands, and is to become the world’s biggest sail transporter boasting a 70-ton capacity. The 44-meter schooner, Avontuur, will have a small auxiliary engine, but it will be used primarily for getting in and out of harbors. The crew will consist of five regular crewmen and about 10 trainees, utilizing a system of volunteers as is used on the Tres Hombres, a 32-meter schooner that has now made seven cross-Atlantic cargo voyages. Interestingly, with traditional fossil-fueled cargo ships often running at slower speeds to save on fuel, there are times when wind-driven sail transports can deliver their cargo faster. Sailing ships can never provide the total trade volume shipped today via oil, but with tomorrow’s localized economies & food production, and leaving behind needless consumption of much of today’s manufactured products, it is possible to provide essential trade and travel with sailing ships.

Organization: Culture Change and Sail Transport Network

Culture Change: educates and mobilizes people to make dramatic cuts in petroleum consumption immediately in order to drastically reduce pollution, avert complete climate chaos, stop the assault of petrochemical toxins on our bodies, end war for oil, and localize economics.culture-changeCulture Change was founded by Sustainable Energy Institute (formerly Fossil Fuels Policy Action), a nonprofit organization.
Mailing address: P.O. Box 3387, Santa Cruz, California, 95063, USA, Telephone 1-215-243-3144 (and fax)

stnThe Sail Transport Network: connects people – locally and across oceans – for the purpose of building community resilience by reviving heirloom technologies that will enable them to thrive in a fossil fuel-depleted, climate-disrupted world. Trade, exchange, and travel are the basic triad of intercultural connection. STN works to establish a basis for sustainable living in a post-fossil fuel world by using the heirloom technology of sailing ships to establish trade and travel systems beginning now.

Turn21-Culture Change and Sail Transport Network

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