November 23, 2016

Back To The Sail Age

The Pamir - Last Commercial Sailing Ship To Round Cape Horn.

Often people that are currently doubling down on business as usual say that us greenies want to take everything "back to the Stone Age". While that is an extreme and unrealistic view, we will be going back to something as the limits to growth usher in a new era of no-waste, no-growth, sustainable steady state economies.

In this pursuit, one area we will be returning to is the use of commercial sailing ships. How far back would that be? Not as far back as the Stone Age. Or the Bronze Age, or Iron Age. It turns out that we would not have to go far back at all. Just to the Sail Age.

The last commercial sailing ship to round Cape Horn was the Pamir, in 1949. Sailing vessels were plying international waters right up to the 1950s, mostly moving low value cargoes great distances, like wheat from Australia to Europe.

As things turn out, sailing ships like the Pamir, or ships similar to them, are predicted to return into service in the near future. This greenie for one, looks forward to the day that wind replaces fossil fuels on the high seas.


12 comments:

  1. Not so long ago many things were done in a way that is kinder to our planet. For my part, I thought I was 'so last century' but a good friend informs me I'm more the century before!

    I still send out my business invoices hand-written with a fountain pen. It takes me a while to do them, but I feel relaxed about that, and I hear people enjoy receiving them. I am currently experimenting with things like making pesto with a mortar and pestle rather than the electric blender, and would like to try using a metal mouli to puree my soups. Here we still heat the house with a fire and hang the clothes on the line (or by the fire). I make my own tooth powder rather than buying the commercial stuff, and I'm expecting cherries on my trees in time for Christmas. The sail age feels pretty nice to me.

    Madeleine.x

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    1. Madeleine,

      I like "the last century, or the century before". Since then we have made some advances, but we have also replaced things that work with things that don't, all in the name of progress. Congratulations to you for figuring out which is which, and getting back to a sensible approach to life.

      Cherries for Christmas? I think I want to move. It snowed a bit here today, and the temperatures are approaching 0 degrees C, which is not that cold for this country.

      Delete
  2. Many people would describe the Lao zi Dao De Jing as primitavist. I feel that progress is a return to primitivism. Once people work out that the virtual world is empty and a con they may want to cultivate a simpler way if life. Wind turbines show how older technologies are the way forward. Food is another example, instead of going out to restaurants and trying fancy food, eat vegetables and grains without seasoning and once the mind adjusts there is a great variety and taste.
    Peace,
    Alex

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    Replies
    1. Alex,

      The virtual world and complexity are lures that many are unable to resist. But we can see all around us the repercussions of making that choice.

      "Once the mind adjusts" is key. If we can just work past the initial response of "I'm not going to like that", we can see that simpler ways of doing things are not just better for the planet, but also better for our personal well-being.

      Delete
  3. Madeline and Alex are right one - simplified living is actually much more robust and complex than being hooked by the modern "conveniences." The soul of living is in the daily rituals of cooking, bathing, eating, walking, and sharing love with others.
    I joked with my partner last night that if the whole world got a good beeswax candle, a nice board game, and some good company, all would be right with the world. Peace, at last! -Erin in TX

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    Replies
    1. Everyday activities are nice. Stopped on my home this evening and enjoyed the sunset and how everything was illuminated.
      Peace,
      Alex

      Delete
    2. Erin,

      This winter I am looking forward to some good times around the Scrabble board, set up in front of a warm fire.

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    3. Wonderful:) We are currently playing a lot of Bananagrams, which is a lot like Scrabble, but I enjoy it more! -Erin in TX

      Delete
  4. Here's to stopping ocean pollution and returning to a gentler form of navigating the ocean.
    "Once the mind adjusts" sticks with me.
    I was listening to NPR (National Public Radio) this week. Someone was being interviewed that spoke of how doing things the "old" way, like making clothes, cooking, quilting, farming, etc was an important because of the social connections. And how much we've lost because we don't make things together much anymore.
    I love going to museums. Never though of it before but I think the reason I value what I see so much as I think about the camaraderie that was required to make it and often to use it.
    Just looking at the ship in the picture, I immediately though of how important it was for the crew to know each other and depend on each other in order to make that ship move in the direction they wanted it to and hold steady in turbulent weather. The ship's construction must have required the same.

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    Replies
    1. Terri,

      Many people think about the sacrifices that must be made in a low impact lifestyle, but don't think much about the sacrifices that we make to sustain a high-tech, consumer-oriented, convenient lifestyle. We have lost so much.

      One problem commercial sailing ships had in the later days was finding skilled crews to sail them. We have become complacent and individualistic in modern pursuits. Life is not getting better, all of a sudden it seems like we are getting progressively worse, in spite of all the "progress" they tell us about. They are "progressing" us to death.

      Delete
  5. This is kind of extreme in my opinion. I'm not so sure about effectiveness of this way of transportation vs new ships. Maybe the result of this comparision would make new ships look more ecological but I have zero knowledge on this subject.

    Anyway, I've decided a few months ago to stop using my cellphone and not pay for it at all (it was pre-paid) and for now it is working. I only need my cellphone to get sms codes for internet banking transactions (which is fortunately free and not blocked when I don't have money on my sim account) and transitioned all the talking to free Skype - and I don't talk much anyway hehe. They won't get my money!

    ReplyDelete

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