Last night we had a long conversation with our scientist son Peter about what we should be doing, personally, about global warming. He, alongside 55% of the UK population according to a recent survey, is extremely concerned about it. You may well think, after reading about the apocalyptic fires in Australia that 55% is a poor showing. Peter reads up a lot on the science and has done some sums on the effects of sea level rise due to ice melt and the potential effects on our island nation are not pretty to say the least.
Anyhow, much as I distrust empty New Years resolutions, we've decided there is more we can do in our personal lives to limit our carbon footprint. There are some very simple things such as stopping our current habit of just popping out in the car practically every day for a couple of items for dinner when we could a) walk or catch a bus and b) plan our shopping and meals better. We could I'm sure do a bit more to reduce energy use at home. Then of course we could try to eat less food that has been imported by air (stuff like green beans from Kenya for example) and we could cut back even more on red meat. These are small things but they do add up, especially if millions of people do them.
Now I'll get to the point. What can we as boaters do to reduce our impact? Sadly we are pretty reliant on fossil fuels, but here are some of our first thoughts.
Engine running - One good thing is that when we're boating, we're not using the car. Also we have solar panels which help reduce engine running for battery charging, we have led lights and all that, but what else could we do? Well, move less would be one option. I reckon we could enjoy our boating just as much by lingering longer in pleasant spots before moving on, so when we're out boating for two or three weeks, we could spend more days stationary. Of course I recognise that the live aboard continuous cruisers already do this, so good for them. I think we're pretty frugal on electricity on board, so I can't see us making much of a dent in that, except perhaps set the fridge a bit less cold. Overall though I reckon we should set ourselves a target of using less diesel. Would a reduction 25% be possible?
Heating - this is a bit of a worry. Burning wood and coal is bad, not only for releasing CO2 but also form a polluting point of view. My only solution is to wear more warm clothes and to refuel the fire less. Maybe trying to keep the fire in overnight is not a good idea. What do you think? We do have three radiators heated by an Eberspacher diesel heater - would we be better to use that more? It does use electrical power too though.
Then for us there are the journeys between home and the boat. Hmm, not ideal then that we are contemplating a mooring further from home. I think our answer to that will be to cut back on short boating breaks in favour of fewer, longer ones.
Then I'm running out of ideas, except for one thing. If I can encourage someone else to make similar efforts then that doubles my result, and if they do, then it goes up again. So how about it? Two questions
1. Can anyone suggest further things we can do as boaters to reduce our impact on global warming? I'm all ears.
2. Would anyone like to join us by spreading the message amongst other boaters?