Aug
07
Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Debbie on 07-08-2008

It seems to me a sailboat would have the least impact on the earth via a carbon footprint, than any other type of boat.  I find myself pondering Global Warming since the mantra of some within the boat industry is going on about how we are all doing terrible things to our waterways with our boats.  The recent near intrusion of the US government into recreational boating, by way of the EPA discharge permit has placed this debate square in front of me.

I’ve tried to find some real answers to this question but can’t seem to find any real evidence.  The clashing sides spout conflicting information, sometimes using the same news.  I spent sometime today reading two different stories and if you’d like you too can read them.  Story A is pro global warming and Story B is con global warming.

In one of the national sailing monthly publications I recently found an editorial about this very topic.  The author stated that he’d sailed to a far off tropical island with visions of pristine beaches and was upset to find he had to pick up a massive number of flip-flops.  (He also admitted to having tossed tons of stuff overboard in the past.)  I know that cruisers are not throwing their flip-flops overboard so I must conclude that a container ship encountered a severe storm and lost part of its cargo.  I know too, that many countries dump their garbage into the ocean.

I think back to the late 60’s early 70’s when the mantra was the waterways needed to be cleaned up.  They had rallies where groups when out and cleaned the streams, creeks and rivers of all fallen tree branches and things that blocked the waters flow.  Then discovered later as fish began to die off, they needed the debris to oxygenate the water.

Currently there is the belief here in my area that the salmon population is declining.  Although I think several things have compounded/created this problem.  First off, when I was a kid the Willamette River was dredged so the salmon had easier access.  Secondly, I saw the Department of Fish and Wildlife destroying salmon (hatchery salmon plus accidentally some of the wild salmon)…decapitating them,  electrocution…it was very distressing for me.  I also understood they took any of the salmon eggs from the hatchery salmon and plowed them into farm fields so they couldn’t be accidentally fertilized by wild salmon.

Again, confusing to me since the orginal eggs for the hatchery fingerlings came from the ‘wild’ salmon.  The only difference between wild and hatchery is the little paper punch notch that identifies the hatchery ones…..  All of this was done just prior to the head count to determine salmon levels for the federal government and NOAA.

So, with that thought in my mind it’s hard to figure out Global Warming.  My history classes in grade school, back when we all rode horses and walked up hill in snow storms both ways to get to and from school (you know the joke) well, those classes told me that we had dinosaurs and they all died due to an ice age.

Remember the ice age?  What stopped the ice age? I’m sure it wasn’t SUV gas emissions.

I read recently the north polar caps are getting smaller.  I also read recently the south polar caps are getting bigger.  My daughter came home from school talking about a magnetic shift that happened to the earth thousands of years ago and is proven by some kind of iron in the rock and the direction it goes…I don’t know.  But the thought at least in the class is that the earth is shifting again.  That’s why the polar caps are changing.

I do believe we need to pay attention to what we’re doing while boating.  We’re very careful while fueling up, we don’t throw stuff overboard and pack out our garbage even if we’ve gone for a long weekend.  We’re using some bio-diesel and make sure we change the oil carefully and dispose of it properly.  The bottom paint was the marine yards choice and suitable for this area.  Plus, it’s a sailboat, so for the most part our engine only runs a bit.  There is something to be said for using the wind to move your boat.

I’m sure the Global Warming debate will continue with zelots from both sides beating their chests.  I still don’t know which side is correct but I’m happy to be on my sailboat!



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