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Beyond Peak Oil: Sail Transport Network Is Unfurling

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Environment and Climate Resource page and our Organic Transitions page.

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 seeds, etc.

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. 

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