Mar 21, 2009

Why Pirates Like Being Green...

I've put together a short list of why pirates (in the romantic, Pirates of the Caribbean sense...not the literal take-over-Ukranian-tankers-with-tanks-and-weapons-and-hold-it-for-ransom sense...) like environmental sustainability and clean technology:

1) Pirate ships run on one of the cleanest sources of energy available: Wind.

(The above picture shows you how Pirate ships are case you were wondering)

It's no surprise then, that companies these days are looking again at wind to power the world's fleet. Not only does it reduce costs for shipping companies, it makes ships emission free. A German company called SkySails is bringing that one step closer to that ideal, making giant parachute looking sails for cargo ships. The company's website claims that ships can reduce fuel consumption by as much as 35% and in optimal cases as much as 50%.

2) Pirates like recycling.

Recycling instead of dumping stuff into landfills and dumps means there are more places to bury your booty. Pirates like to bury stuff: gold doubloons, chalices, precious stones, etc. They particularly like to bury stuff in remote areas where no one will find it.

Unfortunately, people like to build landfills in remote areas, since no one will be affected. If people keep dumping trash in landfills, then how are pirates going to bury stuff and keep it safe?!

Thankfully, some people are taking this pirate's woes into consideration. A company called RecycleBank is offering some incentives for individuals who recycle - drugstore discounts, grocery coupons, etc. According to this Newsweek article, communities with RecycleBank programs have seen 10-fold increases in recycling rates.

3) Pirates like clean air.

Pirates need to be able to actually see land if they want to know where they are going, and they can't do that if the coast is covered in smog and haze from pollution.

One company in Lima, Peru called Tierra Nuestra has developed an Urban Air Cleaner to hopefully fix this vexing problem. It uses a liquid filtration system that runs on the electricity of a vacuum cleaner, but has the air cleaning power of 1200 trees. The machines cost $100,000 to produce and the mud and wastewater by-products from the machine are deposited in the city sewage system.

You can check out a video about the UAC by National Geographic here.

4) Desalination projects are a pirate's best friend.

Pirates are constantly surrounded by water as they sail, but they can't drink a single drop ("Water, water everywhere, not a drop to spare," anyone?). However, desalination technology which allows salt water to be converted to drinkable fresh water is one of the best things ever, allowing us to tap into the vast resources of the ocean.

(The future of water on Pirate ships...)

While water desalination presents other problems (like what do to with all the salty junk taken out of the salt water and how to make desalination cheaper), there are companies like NanoH2O which has developed nanotube membranes that can process salt water much faster than the traditional reverse osmosis process.

So there you have it, with all these clean technologies being developed to make the world a cleaner place, the future of pirates (and probably everyone else in the world...) is looking pretty bright.

Source for pictures: Flickr Creative Commons


Andrew said...

Didn't I post a comment here already? Are you censoring my free speech, Sir? In any case, all of these piratical technologies suffer from the same flaw as most of your green fetishes: they're too expensive! You've got to be one rich-ass nigga to be able to afford a $100,000 air filtration system, when just inhaling smog and getting birth defects is cheaper (don't lecture me about negative externalities either, Sir). And although I'm looking forward to the day when sails will make their comeback, something tells me burning dinosaurs will remain substantially cheaper for quite some time. Wake me up when this stuff is affordable.

Shyaam said...

Andrew, your earlier comment about pirates was just ridiculous.

In any case, in order for these green techologies to be affordable, we need to invest in companies that are researching cheaper and better ways to deliver them.

J. Cameron Boyle said...

How dare you call them pirates! Don't you know they're "maritime terrorists" now?

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