Read e-book The Economical Environmentalist: My Attempt to Live a Low-Carbon Life and What it Costs

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With no carbon-heavy offices, Articulate has kept its carbon footprint naturally low. Individuals A whopping 50, pounds a year! We are all responsible for climate change and we all must be part of the solution. You will help the environment, fight global warming, and help make the transition to a clean energy future possible. Truck Stop Electrification Project Carbonfund.


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Environmental Benefits Mitigate climate change Reduce localized air and noise pollution Reduce fuel usage and the environmental harm caused by fossil fuel extraction. Environmental Benefits Reduce carbon dioxide emissions Mitigate climate change Conserve habitat for endemic bird species and threatened tree species Improve local water quality Retain top soil and control erosion.

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Environmental Benefits Mitigates climate change Waste management Odor control and less localized air pollution Reduction of local water pollution. Facebook Twitter. Copyright Carbonfund. Well, when we make it cleaner, to refine the fuel we power our cars with, we have to make heavy oil. It is an inevitable by-product. There is no cleaner diesel, no cleaner petrol, without this by-product. Occasional alternatives based on natural gas and hydrogen are technically feasible, but due to the incredibly cheap availability of heavy oil, these alternatives are nowhere near to posing an economically viable alternative.

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In a globalized trade world, where globalized customers call for lowest cost, globalized products, there is no room for cleaner, more expensive shipping. What I want to limn out here, is that the whole ship and all of the energy used on board runs on heavy oil. Not only are the cargo and yourself being moved by the burning hydrocarbons, but they also power the reading lamp next to your bed, the TV, the kitchen equipment that refrigerates and makes your food, the laptop, your camera battery charger… Every electrical appliance used on board is powered with the heavy oil-run auxiliary engine.

How much this fact worsens your personal impact depends on your comparable electricity demand on land. Plus, in most countries, the grid is dependent on coal to a dominating extent. This affects the climate in a similarly bad way as heavy oil, although it has to be said that most coal plants in Western countries have better end-of-pipe filters than most ships.

The Other Cost of Climate Change | The New Yorker

But, if you, like me, decided to have an electricity provider that offers only renewable energy, you will have increased your carbon footprint when living on the ship, simply by using plugs and light switches. Oh, and, the pumps that deliver water to your cabin? On the other hand, tap water on a ship is made by evaporating sea water.

The necessary process heat for the steaming is taken from the waste heat flow of the engine. Here, the ship scores better: efficient combined heat and power for sweet water generation.

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The same goes for hot water. Apparently, life at sea offers an incredible amount of shipping , but not much shopping. Technically, this lack of opportunity to consume is an advantage of the ship because no shopping means no negative impact caused indirectly by buying harmful products. As we noted earlier, there is a mixed picture of sustainability on the freshwater-front. But still, at the end of the treatment, the flow of waste water goes directly into the sea.

Along with organic waste and paper, which is legally thrown over board, this generates some considerable share of extra nutrients that further burden marine ecosystems. Speaking of nutrition, in 99 out of cases, the chef on the ship will seek to satisfy the requests from the hard-working crew and cook hearty, red meat-dominated dishes. Meat production has an enormous climate impact, it pollutes local water bodies, and under the usual circumstances is ethically doubtful.

If you bother to read this article, you will probably be concerned with this, and you may, just like me, try to limit your meat consumption.


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  4. However, on board, with three well-cooked, nice smelling dishes served every day, limiting your meat consumption can most adequately be described as torture …. Separating plastics, metals, and hazardous materials from other wastes, at least officially, has become a common practice on ships and among the European and American shipping companies. Dozens of bins of all colors, suitable for all kinds of waste, can be found on many vessels. Whether and how well the crew has been trained to follow the recycling rules is, however, highly divergent. So deciding whether the waste you produced at sea ends up in the same place or not is out of your control.

    With shipping companies forced to cut costs at all corners, just like any other transport company, organically produced food is not a consideration. So, in comparison to my usual food consumption of mostly locally or regionally produced organic and vegetarian food, the impact of food consumption on board is much bigger and can never be compensated by the energy savings produced by cooking for a crew of 20 at once. Whale collisions happen regularly; various people in our crew have experienced one in the past.

    Biodiversity is a bigger issue. To combat invasive species, new marine regulations, to be implemented in the coming years, make ballast water treatment mandatory. Before ballast water is released back into the sea, it has to be treated either chemically or electronically to kill all possible life it contains.

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    Up to this day, however, not many ships have been upgraded. Although important in the overall comparison of different freight transport modes, they are irrelevant to your personal footprint as passenger. With all these considerations on freighter travel sustainability stuffed into your head, just make up your own mind. It certainly beats flying.


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    Personally, I am convinced that there is no sustainable way to travel fast. Moving from one place to another always uses energy, and moving thousands of kilometers in a few hours uses vast amounts of energy. A slow means of transport is always inspiring, and freighter travel is no exception. After a low-carbon world trip from Europe through many Middle Eastern, Asian and Oceanic countries, mostly overland and over sea, I found it very suitable to round up my experience by crossing oceans at a modest pace.

    A ship is not that slow, anyway! Other carbon-neutral transport modes like cycling and hiking are far less comfortable. They are also limited to maintaining your bodily activities, which are naturally restricted by sleep. No motorized transport is free of environmental burdens of all kinds.

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    But in my humble opinion, freighter travel offers a reasonable compromise between caring for your personal footprint as responsibly as possible and still traveling long distances from time to time. There are travel agencies that specialize on this unusual form of changing location.