Environmental issues in a nutshell
In the range of environmental problems facing the human race, there are many slowly increasing problems and one rapidly advancing catastrophe. The slowly increasing problems include intake of carcinogens from chemically contaminated air, water, land, food sources, house interiors and cosmetics, reduction in quantity and quality of food and fresh water supplies, loss of bio-diversity, and soil erosion.
The rapidly advancing catastrophe is climate change due to global warming, in which the carefully balanced life-supporting ecosystem cannot sustain global temperature soaring caused by high concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The major portion of greenhouse gases created by human activity is from burning fossil fuels. By burning fossil fuels at the current rate, humans are releasing carbon absorbed from the atmosphere over millions of years in just a few decades. As temperatures rise, natural factors which absorb CO₂, including the oceans, icecaps, rainforests and other biota, reduce in efficiency. All computer models therefore foresee a climate runaway scenario caused by positive feedback.
Environmentally friendly therefore means, primarily, one thing: low CO₂ emissions. The primary strategic plan developed by international governments during environmental summits including the Kyoto Protocol is called ‘Contraction and Convergence’. This is based on an eventual Global CO₂ quota system based nationally on a per capita basis. Every human gets their slice of the cake. The current estimated global sustainable CO₂ quota is 2 tonnes per person per year. In the UK, the average CO₂ emissions per person per year is currently 10 tonnes.
Luckily, most of this is unnecessary waste due to poor insulation, lighting, and unnecessary transportation of goods to and from places where they are both produced and consumed. It may well be that in 20 years time, when everyone is living on sustainable CO₂ quotas, life won?t look much different. The Rocky Mountain Institute in Colorado, USA, where the hybrid petro-electric engine was developed, has an external temperature range of plus to minus 40 degrees centigrade, yet uses no powered heating or cooling systems.
One activity which will have to change is transport, as this cannot easily be done without high levels of energy. Modern sail craft display performance never dreamed of in the heyday of sail. If you can fly to the USA for 1 tonne of CO₂ return, but you only have 2 tonnes to spend per year, going by sail and taking 2 weeks each way but using none of your CO₂ quota at all sounds rather attractive, as it still leaves you 2 tonnes to spend elsewhere in your lifestyle!
And if you can buy a micro-yacht for a couple of hundred kilos CO₂ in production, and spend your weekends and holidays cruising the coasts of your own and neighbouring countries, and not eat into your CO₂ budget at all, this similarly leaves you most of your quota for other, more essential activities! It is for this purpose that Explorer was designed.
Mitchell Yachts Ltd • Rat’s Castle • Clovelly • Bideford • Devon EX39 5TF • 0845 3455075 • Email
Mitchell Yachts Ltd. is registered in the U.K. • Company No 5256127 • Registered office: 12 Chingswell Street, Bideford, Devon EX39 2NF