All hands on deck

July 5 is the deadline for my Hawaiian ride. We’re down to the wire. 11th hour. Time to ship or get off the ops. Now or never. Magic!

In last weeks episode…

Riding the Transpac would have been an exciting and upbeat opening for On Desire. The concept was to present what could be rather than what is – a metaphor for what’s worth striving for. Sailing is a lovely and romantic image for a renewable future. Approaching the Transpac community as a resource for implementing a sustainable society makes sense, though it may be a bit niave. According to Kai, wealthy racers think nothing of making a big footprint with mylar sails and other energy intensive materials if it’ll help them win. These folks are often successful entrenpreneurs thriving on challenge. I wanted to get in with Transpac to explore whether these super successful people could be recruited to take on the most important challenge of our time, survival.

A worthy inquiry for another time. Meanwhile, the present moment. Getting back to what is rather than what could be. Sustainability stands in contrast to what is, it’s a change. My intuition is that change is triggered by awareness of both what is and what could be. To be sustainable, we notice what isn’t. Even if this is not a valid approach, there’s a certain morbid fascination with the apocalyptic circumstances of the present. Am I making a horror movie?

I digress. It should be clear now that finding a ride is the start of the project, it’s not pre-production or incidental. How I get to Hawaii is everything. It’s magic, it’s sustainability – the whole shootin’ match. Flashy sailboats winging across the Pacific is not how the story of sustainability begins. What about starting with anathema – consumption?

The container industry enables the global economy as it’s currently configured. Containers are uniform steel boxes used to transport goods via truck, rail and ship.

Container ships churn out more carbon than cars and possibly more than jets. In one year, the biggest 15 container ships produce more carbon than all the cars on the planet combined. Pollution from container ships burning bunker fuel causes snow melt, desertification and death. All this to stock the shelves of the local big box. Perhaps our story has a sublime start – queue the discordant synth!

Matson and Horizon service Hawaii with container ships. Both companies are proud of their environmental record. How do they compare to the industry in general? Are they implementing stack scrubbers to minimize the impact of bunker fuel? Have they implemented fuel efficient design in their ships’ construction? Would they welcome documentation of their operations? Could we start the story of sustainability in collaboration with these companies?

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