Friday, May 31, 2013

The Good Ship, Planet Earth

photo of a sailboat in the San Juan Islands by Nancy Zavada

Have you ever dreamt of living on boat?
How life would be different aboard ship?

The thrill of pulling up anchor and filling the sails with wind to set off on an adventure.  For the voyage to last any length of time at all, you would need to be very efficient with water, energy, food and waste.  You would quickly realize how important it is to conserve resources.  Spending time away from port requires you to be mindful of daily activities such as:

  •  Turning off the water while brushing
  • Only flushing when it is solid waste
  • Turning on the lights when absolutely necessary
  • Leaving the blow dryer behind
  • Having multiple uses for everything on board
  • Minimizing the packaging of food and supplies
  • Being aware of your surroundings as the sea and sky change rapidly
Food is no different than any of the other necessities.  There is only a finite amount of space for storing, refrigerating, cooking and serving meals on the water.   As the grandchild of a boat maker with a good deal of my youth spent aboard his vessels, I learned very early about food.  While there was always plenty to eat, you ate what was served, when it was served.  There was no such thing as “leftovers,” because leftovers were going to be used in the next meal, in a sandwich, salad or soup later on.  We didn’t have room to either store a great deal of food or hold the food waste for disposal once back at the dock.  Food waste gets stinky very quickly in the summer sun.   

Snacks took the form of whole pieces of fruit or pieces of cheese that didn’t require wrappers.  If you were lucky enough to find a bag of tortilla chips, they were probably meant for a Mexican meal one night and a taco salad with the leftover hamburger, lettuce and salsa another.  Everything was well thought out and nothing went to waste, ever.

When I had children of my own and my grandfather’s boat, I trained them the same way.  Even at home when they were growing up, we always pretended we lived aboard a pirate ship and followed the same rules.

To this day, I still use those guidelines at home and at work because I live aboard The Good Ship, Planet Earth.  Her limited resources require me to be thoughtful about the water, electricity, and food I use.  Minimizing waste is essential in this small space.   

I love this ship and want her to sail on for many generations so that my children and their children will know what it feels like to have the wind in their hair, the sun on their faces, and the beauty of nature as far as the eyes can see.

Care to join me on this voyage?

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