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  • Environmental Motivation

    I'm an environmentalist

    In life and in our work.  This is a bit of a ramble, and a tad soap-boxy.

    I couldn't put my finger on it.   I don't feel right supporting some of the national and international initiatives.  Carbon, sustainable, shop local, green, globalism all feel to me like buzz words with no real world application.  Even worse, to me they often sound like marketing words rather than pragmatic ways to help.  I am the New England skeptic when it comes to conferences on environmental issues and cringe when I see inconsistencies between lifestyle and message.

    Until now, I rarely speak on these issues.  I had an inconsistency the other way.  I quit my job 6 years ago because I didn't feel right driving the miles I did.  I didn't feel right throwing broken parts away where 90% of that part was still usable because there was no money rebuilding the part.  I put my main shop walking distance from where I live, and when I build my workshop it will be right in the middle of a local city with employees able to reach the shop by foot or bike.

     Yesterday, Top to Top visited the Mystic Aquarium.  Their presentation 16 hours ago put a focus on how I live and the message behind how I see the world.  Dario said one thing.  I think it was a 'throw away line.  He said, and I'm sure this isn't a perfect quote


    Speed is killing our planet.  Go slow, enjoy experiences, and save the planet.  The human mind is designed to explore and experience at a walking pace.  When we slow down, we get more enjoyment out of experiences.


    That reminded me of the 55 Saves Lives campaign of the 70's, how much walking just feels good, and even how I don't like running unless I'm late or something is chasing me. Its why we chose sailing over powerboating. While my mind races from idea to idea, my body remains relatively calm.

     Sailing, biking, rowing, and walking are all about the journey, not the destination.  The more we can enjoy the journey, the less we feel a need to go faster.

    When it comes to food, the thought of a food mile is a little more difficult.  I've been thinking this month about that.  As my patience is tested by my manila shipment taking 45 days at sea to cross half the globe, I'm reminded of what a slow mile feels like.  I also know that the container is traveling in the most fuel economic way possible, saving an additional 43% of the already efficient water transit.  Per ton, 7,000 miles slow over the ocean cost the same emissions as 200 miles by truck.  Buying local is good, but slow transportation and local is best.

     I think slow miles rather than just looking at the mile itself.  If a hearty vegetable, carrots or potatoes come to mind, is brought very slowly from distant farm to table, I'm not too worried about it.  If a very bruise prone or quickly rotting fruit is brought quickly from farm to table, that 'food mile' I want short and the food to be local.  Have you noticed how much tastier the local tomato is from the one that traveled 1,500 miles to get to your salad?

     This applies to us too.  All our materials are sourced as locally as we can, except for the manila, all our materials are bought on the East Coast of the USA.  It took me 10 years to find these partnerships.  I love them dearly, but I'm not sharing.  We do take the step of buying in high volume and having our goods 'shipped slow.'  We also patiently wait for the 'machine time' to have our material made when there are gaps in their production.  That keeps your prices down, but it also keeps the damage we create in the environment to a minimum.