Grossly ignorant or climate criminals?

15 Jan

G’day folks,

I got the below email from friend BC in response to my post “what does 6 star mean”. BC is a man that always has his finger on the pulse when it comes to environmental and human rights issues, a man that if you want to know what bad things Starbucks and Mcdonalds are doing you turn to him, a man that if you want a good organisation to back you turn to, he doesn’t give you the Fox news view, he gives it to you how it is. He wrote me an email about a subject I have been meaning to write a post on for some time. Here’s BC’s email (BC mate I deleted some of the more emotive words, haha, love it mate)

And you can add to that the fact that such cruises are perhaps the most environmentally destructive practices imaginable. If there was any environmental justice they would be illegal. Consider this… we all know how environmentally damaging air travel is, so much so that some pundits suggest ours will be the last generation to which this transport option is available. Now consider that when the QE2 travels from Southampton to New York it uses 7.6 times as much carbon as the same journey by plane! Unfortunately people who buy tickets on cruise ships are basically either grossly ignorant or climate criminals. And the irony is that your ship cruises waters of the Antarctic – a frozen wonderland very much under threat from the same attitudes that breed rampant climate change. Oh well, at least your passengers get to see it. Who needs the ecosystem?

Apologies. And don’t work yourself to death there hap!

Big love,


Yep BC has a very good point, there is no doubting that these cruise ships are floating islands of over consumption in every aspect. The other day I went up to the bridge and got the token photo by the steering wheel –at which I was very disappointed at the size of it, apparently size doesn’t matter- and was talking to the officer. Our ship like all the Antarctic cruise ship uses 10 tonnes of fuel a day! Yep that’s a lot of fuel.

That’s only one aspect, the amount of food that is consumed onboard, the left over food, the food that is thrown out is mind blowing, and to think that there are people starving and we are throwing out thousands of bread rolls each cruise. To think that some guests are paying over $20,000 for a suite and poor little happa is making $2.64 an hour for the 15-20 hours of overtime he does a week.

When we are in Ushuaia off loading the rubbish from our 11 day Antarctic trip really puts it in perspective how much is consumed. When you have 132 passengers drinking from 1.5 litre water bottles using single serve glass jars of jams for breakfast you can imagine it all starts adding up.

So are the Antarctic cruises all bad?

The Antarctic environmentalists say that the cruise ship benefits outweigh the negatives. Antarctic environmentalist Robert Swan said in his book pictured below that if passengers experience the wonder and pristine wilderness of Antarctica then go home and off set their carbon foot prints and become Antarctic ambassadors, then it helps the cause.

But how many passengers actually do anything about it when they get home, or is it all just about bragging rights?

On the positive side, the Antarctic cruise ships have expedition staff made up environmental experts and scientists that offer extremely informative lectures about the Antarctic ecosystem and climate change. And I have been impressed with my ship at the high standards they follow in keeping to the IAATO standards and policing the passengers actions when ashore.

Anyway, just some thoughts, I don’t know the answers, and I suppose I’m just another person exploiting the continent to complete my goal.

But let me share with you a little fact that I learnt in the climate change lecture I attended onboard the other day. You know those little stand by lights on your TV’s, laptops etc, those little ones that when you turn the TV off by the remote and the little red light stays on. Well apparently all those little stand by lights account for 8% of your electricity bill.


5 Responses to “Grossly ignorant or climate criminals?”

  1. mandysue January 15, 2010 at 12:59 pm #

    quit now, emergency!! get out of there my love!!

    • Hap January 15, 2010 at 8:55 pm #

      life jacket on, preparing lifeboat, just have to make the most of this environment, it is providing me with a lot of fuel for writting. Not long now.

  2. Jo January 15, 2010 at 9:21 pm #

    An interesting insight from your current location Hap. I’m advocate for the turning off of switches and embrace by “Scottish/Scarfy/Minimum wage” money saving ways with the guise of saving the world every switch at a time.

    Waste is definitely something that should be addressed in your environment (as I struggle with in my new work environments policies after being VERY green in my last office)- I’d suggest using said bread rolls to make tomorrow nights dessert of bread and butter pud or the crumb for your fish entrée.

    The challenge for companies is to have buy in from their staff and clients to see we have rather hedonistic tendencies that hinders the next generation let alone our grandchildren. If we don’t do it at work where we must conform to norms we are less likely to do it at home (if not inclined to care about anything than your gas gussling car and your oversized electrical equipment in your over heated houses) .

    The snap shot you see of Antarctica today wont be the same again. Enjoy it as you see it and always know you have this treasure in your sights.

    • Hap January 17, 2010 at 11:24 am #

      Nice Jo,
      Reading you comment takes me back to Otago Uni days of sitting in an uninsulated lounge area, all the flatmates wrapped up in beanies and in sleeping bags watching TV as we don’t want to pay to turn the heater on! classic days.

      Yeah, I read today that the Antarctic peninsula where I currently am is melthing faster than ever, and you’re right, in years to come it would have changed, if not completely melted. The expedition crew onboard even say they have seen visible signs of melt even from previous years. One thing is for sure, when cruising through the icebergs, climate change is real!

      Who said “switching off” wasn’t good.

      Hope life treating you well love.

      NBL Hap


  1. Best Wishes from Robert Swan. « Hap Working The World - November 22, 2010

    […] Working on the Antarctica cruise ship disgusted me, as a mode of transport its criminal (read this blog post), the over consumption of passengers and not to mention the 10 tonnes of fuel used each day! So I […]

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