Sail Transport Network is Unfurling
By Jan Lundberg
A sail transport revival is afoot and afloat around the world. As the cheap,
easy crude oil has mostly been extracted from the Earth and spewed into the
sky and water, the desirability and economics of sail power get stronger.
Sail Transport Network (STN) is an open project for almost anyone to
participate in. Most of the inhabited world is coastal or on rivers. STN was
put forward originally by Culture Change in 1999. We sail-transport
activists envision linking coastal communities, islands, and river
communities together sustainably — without the extreme petroleum dependency
we have known.
Post-petroleum travel and shipment of goods are about communication and
exchange that we might have a hard time doing without. Long distances may be
bridged only by sail in the fairly near future. However necessary this might
be, sail power will allow any local surpluses to be traded. This helps
specialized areas gain diverse sources of needed products, skills, heirloom
A few years ago sail transport was thought to be off on the distant horizon
and impractical in the “real world.” This is changing rapidly.
Without the continuity of affordable oil supplies — a toxic and
planet-warming commodity whose use has greatly afflicted the world’s
ecosystems and peoples — arrangements to go oil-free need to be made
immediately. For in today’s post-peak oil world, millions of people may soon
need sail power, along with pedal power transport, for local self-reliance.
Our STN website does not yet tell of the rapidly developing planning for
sail transport that excites my colleagues, fellow sailors and me. This
report is our latest thinking for you to consider. It is the result of our
investigations into opportunities for truly sustainable, renewable wind
power and human power for certain products as well as for benefits such as
sharing information and enabling education. A look at
SailTransportNetwork.com presently features the Dutch concern Fair
Transport, a sail transport group whose schooner recently took a cargo of
rum from the Caribbean to Holland.