Land Based Operations

It’s been slow going, but we’ve found a space to begin our plastic recycling operation here in Port Townsend. If we’re successful we’ll end the use of fossil fuels in the collecting of recyclables in our town, and beyond.

Once we get some traction in our community we’ll be taking our model to surrounding communities. If we supported local recycling in every community we would make an unprecedented move forward away from the economic style which makes pollution a central product it’s operations.

But to be clear, recycling in itself is not the solution. In fact, the results of decades of our national recycling program has been an increase in production and consumption of single use-plastics. The current recycling industry is a profit driven model which creates profit through high volume. To accomplish this it requires incredibly large amounts of fuel to transport material from hundreds of miles away to central locations. Also fact, there isn’t much actual ‘recycling’ going on. We collect and packager recyclables and ship them off to other countries. China was just one. There are some productions which actually shred material in the US but they are few.

So we see no end in sight of the production and consumption of single use plastics. And we see no future in the large-scale fossil fuel dependent recycling programs. It is our belief through a small-scale approach community organizations can drastically reduce the costs associated with recycling and provide sustainable jobs in that community. A local recycling program also begins to close the loop on consumerism which is the only way to truly face the consequences of our consumer habits. Though I feel this model would be a positive encouragement for community members to participate once in for all in community change. When our communities change, our country will follow.

We can’t leave our garbage for the big trucks anymore. We have to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle WITHOUT contributing to our dependency on fossil fuels or the creation of ever more pollution. In the least, “global warming” is the result of global pollution, so our only hope is in programs like this which will stop the causes of pollution at the source. Gas for garbage is not a good way.

Below is our first machine. It will take at least 6 of these to handle our share.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/30814569@N04/5565297976/

The New Narrative: Biocentric Worldview

i see it clearly

the view outside my portlight

beauty and sorrow

There comes a time in a culture when the narrative becomes an anchor preventing thoughts from evolving. Today that anchor is anthropocentric worldview. The fundamental cause for the local gone global pollution is the persistence of human-centered activity. And even though from the industrial revolution to present day industry we still burn rocks and sludge to make the day’s products (like solar panels) we regard that same force as our hope; technology. It isn’t that there isn’t clear understanding of the causes of air, water, and land pollution, it’s that those causes are unavoidable if we wish for our consumerism to continue. We haven’t ended the crisis because it isn’t convenient.

So the departure from the inherent pessimism in mainstream new age society; the unspoken belief that since “nobody else” will stop driving I shouldn’t either”, begins with worldview. If we shift from anthropocentric we will arrive at the seed of solutions, biocentric worldview.

Imagination is to credit for the genius of Albert Einstein and it is the force behind every triumph over insurmountable odds. Imagination is the product of mental health and free thought. That is why we see little imagination among adult generations, we see only reiteration with different fashion.

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Signs of Life

It may not seem like a pretty picture, but you would have to understand and value clean water. This is what the bottom of my tiny home, S/V Nita Jacqueline looks like after the first summer afloat. I kept up on cleaning, diving once every 1-2 weeks and between boat projects i’ve even been sailing a little. I’m please to report that this Pearson Ariel with food-grade bottom slides along nicely in light airs, even with the bio bottom.

Another hobby i’ve started is reporting fuel spills in the marina I live in. I can say here at the Port of Port Townsend Boat Haven marina that hobby keeps me pretty busy. I see fuel in the water at least once a week but I can go a couple of weeks and see fuel in the water every day. I know it doesn’t take much fuel to make a sizable sheen, but I also know it’s poison no matter how little and the number of spills alone in this marina is staggering. Even if this is “the way marinas are” it cannot continue. Water is life, not a dump.

I work in the marine trades so I’m sensitive to the livelihoods here, which is exactly why I take wate pollution seriously. We can’t afford to continue to excuse environmental destruction for economic security. And it’s not like the marine economy is all that secure anyway. Water is invaluable and I believe the maritime culture needs to step up to change this mentality of Turing our heads. I believe stewardship is the future of the maritime industries. Time will tell.

But i’m happy that I can ease on on the bottom cleanings now that the weather is changing. And i’ve completed a lot of rigging projects on the Nita Jacqueline so sailing is wide open. I hope to cruise the San Juan islands this fall. So if you see the Nita J you’ll be seeing one of the only boats anywhere that is pollution free.

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The Bottom Chronicles: vanquish the barnacle

Summer is almost over, and so too is the barnacle’s season of conquest. This was my first summer with a food-grade bottom paint on my sailboat's underside and much anxiety has been alleviated due to my recent discoveries. From where I sit there is no rational argument to use poisonous paint on smaller boats.

The barnacle is known as a tenacious little creature, not only is the male endowed with the largest penis to body ratio of any other creature but their attachment to a substrate is akin to cement. . But clean up as I discovered was not much of a issue, if you get to them before too long.  I was injured for a few weeks and couldn't dive so before i found a friend willing to handle my hull three weeks had passed.  All barnacles were removed and there is still no viable damage to the epoxy coating.  On my normal weekly intervals I use a scrap of organic wool carpet and a lexan scraper I made from an old portlight, Either will do the job however the carpet gets destroyed after some use. 

So i’m completely satisfied with foregoing the typical poison you find on just about every other boat in the water all around the world, and in the water itself as a listed pollutant. There was a sailboat in Florida with a nonpoisonous bottom I saw on Craigslist, where the owner was only gonna sell it to someone who would keep up with his commitment to protect the water. So i’m Not totally alone.

Feel free to contact me with any questions about the paint and the maintenance. I believe in change, and in changing the way we live.

Progress?

Never has society accepted the visionary. Or in my case, the realist. Over the past few months i’ve Been working from the other end of this project: recycling. Along with a friend we’ve been putting together a plastic shredder and working towards creating a smal-scale, decentralized recycling facility capable of handling our community’s plastic recyclables. Our goal is to create a working model of community based recycling so we may once and for all face our wasteful consumer habits with an effective approach. It will be much easier to convince our community the dire need to abandon single use plastics if we store and recycling them within sight of our community members; no more can the consumer mentality consider “away” as the destination for our waste. 

Along with the continuing work in preparing the Nita Jacqueline for service in the Puget Sound and working full time in the boatyard i’ve Been very busy. I even made time to injure my foot, which I’m happy to say has all but completely healed. 

So, the question of progress. For me it isn’t so cut and dry. I still share my idea with everybody and try to stay positive. But as of yet no one shares my passion or will to endeavor. I have exhausted the existing organizations, all maintain only research and education can change things, not actions based on research and education. I am a bit jaded and don’t mean to say anything against the body of science and education. I mean to point out the prejudice against direct action, and biocentrism. We must change our thinking if we're to change our world. 

So today we are further from a solution, and we have less time to reach it. But I'm not even working to 'solve' these problems as much as I simply wish to be real and set out to address them so that perhaps there might be less for nautre to overcome in it's recovery after we vanish from the earth. So if I see things objectively I cannot say any bprogress has been made. But I’m still breathing and so far I still am hopeful someone will see the validity in a movement of cultural stewardship and will divert some resource into Human Solved so that it may venture on and inspire a culture to change.

 

 

 

The Bottom Chronicles: Progress Report

I've gone ahead and got my Open Water SCUBA certification in order to be more able to document my adventure. And I’ve made my first dive on my sailboat and was amazed to find nothing but a lite spread of algae on the hull. I understand barnacle growth will be intense during the summer season so I can't be certain how this experiment will work. But I can be certain about the other; toxic bottom paint along with a myriad of other urban, automotive and industrial pollutants is accumulating and is having an adverse effect on the marine ecosystem.

Below is a picture of the hull I took while diving. As I’m sure you can imagine, diving is not cheap. The expense is not something I scoff at, and right now I must rent equipment until I can afford my own. Though there are many recreational opportunities for a diver this was not my reason. I'm doing this because I want to promote non toxic bottoms which will require regular in-water maintenance. I want to be able give people an accurate expectation based on practical experience. I’ve invested in this training and equipment to help improve water quality, it just so happens that diving is an amazing experience!

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My hobby

I have a great respect for freediving. On a few occasions now I've donned my suit, flippers and mask and took to the water to maintain my hull. I can hold my breath for more than two min. on land sitting in a chair. But swimming in chilly water im up to about 12 seconds.  needles to say this takes a while.

So necessity has bore an invention. I call this one the "J" brush and I made it with 316 stainless. It breaks down into three sections so it stows easily in my cockpit locker. I know I couldn't save the world with one idea so I made the brush to allow me to maintain the hull without the whole diving process, which takes almost two hours after I've rinsed all the gear. With the brush it takes 30 minutes.

After one month, no growth below.

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Human Solved: One Human at a Time

I've decided to move this project away from a focus on the larger picture of sea plastics to instead document my personal actions, and the actions of others I find in my travels. This is largely due to a gross lack of imagination surrounding me which makes pushing a visionary concept wholy depleting. Add to that my full time job, and off time projects and it turns out i've reached a limit. By "off time projects" I mean applying "Human Solved" to my personal lifestyle.

So from here i hope to share my own little metamorphosis of lifestyle- from compromising land-air-water for my ideas of happiness, to compromising my ideas of happiness  for land-air-water.

So there it goes, and here it comes. Human Solved, one human at a time.

Forgotten Love

I remember as a child they side of a parents love which showed when their's or another's child was bullied or treated wrongly by an older person. This love as angry and resolved to intervene with swiftness and directness. Even today among the groups of Americans and any of other nations there is a"calling out" in direct terms of the unjust nature of governance. We have forgotten that the deepest of love is not only gentle but fierce when called to protect. 

My words and will are no different, only I seek justice for the whole of life, which we have forgotten is were we live. We are not capable of existing without it, at least not without NASA and a will to live in a high tech space bubble. Nope, we must make do with the planetary lifestyle and we must accept that WE have greatly challenged this planets ability to sustain the myriad life. We must accept that WE are the solution.

I have no children. I have only my neighbors and my love for the system of life as I understand it through my knowledge of the living biosphere. I know there is a direct connection between cancer rates and the urbanization of the lands; behavioral disorders and the adulterated preservatives in foods and the pollution in the air. There isn’t a single city on the face of the earth which has not rendered all waterways within its range toxic to varying  levels based on proximity. Where humans live all else is sacrificed. Now, even humans. 

I want to explore a different path. 

 

Bottom chronicles: On, Under and In the Water.

As love calls for sacrifice and for the gift of our time and effort I honor this by spending three hours in a week preventing the establishment of an aquatic garden on the hull of my home afloat, a 1964 Pearson Ariel. I accomplish this through my commitment to nature and my life as a human to act on behalf of my own survival and that of what I love. 

Sometimes I dive and other times I use a special brush I made. I use a piece of wool carpet as the scrub pad to wipe the non-toxic hard epoxy bottom of the Nita Jacqueline's hull. It takes me about 30 min to wipe the entire hull which I do every 3 or 4 days.  Many would think this is impractical for larger vessels. I think it is impractical to pollute water. 

Water quality is synonymous with quality of life even if we are largely distracted by technology to realize this connection. In context, as a herd we are not at all healthy so it makes sense we would be having a difficult time seeing clearly the solutions. And more and more humans suffer from some form of behavioral disease- this is a sign in herd animals that something is wrong.  Also in context, the realized and potential threats presented by the myriad global environmental crisis are undeniable. Call it "global warming" if you must, i simply call it “cultural disconnection from nature”, or simply "sophistication".  I choose not to classify problems by names different than the root of their cause. Global Warming is a consequence to lifestyle, not an anomaly. Whatever you call it- it calls us to do more than research wait to vote and begs us to look beyond our optimism to see the urgency and clear cause to act now; action consonant with the severity of the matter at hand; Fresh water is poisoned where YOU live and YOU are poisoning it. I am too. What can we do about it though? Could we begin ending our personal contributions to it and work up from there. 

The global environmental crisis is born from unchecked localized pollution, such as the paper mill In Port Townsend where I live which has rendered all the bottom feeders in It's surrounding waters toxic and currently emits a toxic vapor into the local air from it's evaporation ponds. Across the country and throughout the world there are mills and factories, mines and drilling all continuing to poison the air, land and water. The political processes the world over did not prevent this. Optimism and belief did not prevent this. It is a lifestyle they all serve- The lifestyle of consumerism, from the ghetto to the university, from the churches to the stadiums.  

It is through the use of industry and the advancement of technology that we humans have a damaging impact on the planet's biosphere. All of life, to include now our own species, is suffering directly from the anthropocentric world view and the human-centered lifestyles which issue forth from it. 

We have many excuses to continue contributing to these local- turned global crisis, but we have every reason which matters to effect change in our very own lifestyles, such as great great grand children; the currently endangered Orca population; your own physical and mental health. It is a lesson we teach to our children; to improve the world around them, yet we act so flagrantly in our personal refusal of this lesson and act to literally make the world; the land air and water worse. We can no longer afford to excuse and justify the destruction of local ecosystems, in the name of  recreation above all.

We have lost our sensitivity for life on this planet and now we destroy life through our very existence.  This trend is reversible only through an effort equal to the that which has gone into establishing it. It is time for setting new thinking aside and acting upon timeless wisdom. We live on the earth, we must reorganize our priorities.  

The planet isn't going anywhere and neither are we, so we must find a way to live in harmony together. I think a sailboat , as in "sailing vessel" is one way to do that. 

 

Write here...

 

 

I got to start by saying I’ve made mistakes, and I’ve been responsible for many of them through ignorance and negligence. I've owed apologies to strangers and loved ones, and owe still to a few whom I’ve loved. And it should be known it wasn’t through my own cunning or inherent wisdom that I’ve found the opportunities that I have or learned the lessons I’ve learned, no. In fact I believe only a degree or so of stupidity can find truly great opportunities.

Great as in an ocean or adventure, not ice cream.

I’m not saying I’m great, at least not any more or less so than any other creature who stood up in the face of crisis and volunteered both mind and body in the service of it's solution. I am saying great experiences lead to great ideas.

Great as in uncommon, unimagined.

Electric light has stolen our attentions from Star light. All we seem to imagine as possible solutions to the myriad environmental crisis involve more advanced technology i.e. more energy; burning rocks and sludge.  The problem isn't that stars are too dim, it is that electric light Is blinding us. 

The basic chemistries of the oceans are being changed due to pollution from urban activities and maritime commerce. This is how it is today, not something we should be aware of or concerned about. We have failed to be aware or concerned enough to prevent it; it has happened and we must wait for the consequence to evolve. But we know plastic pollution is rapidly moving through the food chain and chemicals contained in plastics is in seafood all around the world. It is even so blatantly obvious throughout history where human cities exist on water front, that waterfront ecosystem collapses: New York, Baltimore, Seattle, California. 

The problem was never because we are consumers, it is that profit is more sacred than life. The problem was never because had or didn't have faith, it is that we replaced discipline with belief. This is why the work to change this global crisis the human culture has caused is going into ideas and mitigation rather than empowing humans to live in the service of the earth. 

There is plastic in the ocean right now that we can remove, not with technology but by hand. This will require a presence of mind and body, heart and soul. It is not guaranteed to work, any such promise under such great a challenge as this should be considered a lie. 

There is plastic in the ocean that we must endeavor to remove. We should  comment nothing less than total support to any sailor willing to use their personal or capital vessel to implement a standardized collection method ( methods for all manor of ocean worthy vessel: a 30’ sailboat;a container ship, etc.)

The danger of doing nothing has far greater reaching consequences than sending vessels into the fray.

It is of the utmost importance that we support a cultural shift towards a lifestyle of stewardship; environmental stewards as committed as metal workers or coal miners; willing to risk their health and life for pay.  Those who sailed for this cause would be as any service member- serving a greater good in the face of a clear and present threat. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher

i've finished the bottom of the Nita Jacqueline. There are some more projects to complete before splashing. I’m working full time at a rigging shop so between weekends, some evenings and the occasional lunch break the work goes slow, but steady. 

As I work away the call of the ocean remains steady. There is talk of the extinction of the resident orcas here in the Puget Sound. How close i feel to the sadness of the orca, knowing the death of their children and the poison in the water. Tonight I sat at a Port of Port Townsend meeting between members of the Marine Trades and Port Officials, which as you would expect anywhere working class people are getting squeezed out by the quest for higher profit, was tense. Economic interests are the focus of people's concerns, they resist change and allow others to decide their fate. What I find most curious though is why these marine trades-women and men don’t see how closely tied their economic fate is the the fate the marine ecosystem.

Engaged in service, answering the call, serving a higher purpose. This is the future of the marine trades, if there is to be a future.