Maritime sustainability links – Monday, 05 September 2022

A few interesting things I found recently:

Green Corridors: Definitions and Approaches – A Discussion paper from the Global Maritime Forum (Global Maritime Forum)

.As interest in green corridors ramps up, and various entities and signatories to the Clydebank Declaration start in earnest to work out what they actually need to do, the Global Maritime Forum has published a paper that compares how the green corridors are defined, and how plans are being initiated and implemented. From the paper’s executive summary:

…the paper considers emerging approaches to defining, initiating, and governing Maritime Green Corridors, and puts forward recommendations in each area. These recommendations attempt to reinforce the most effective and impactful approaches while acknowledging the need for flexibility

Global Maritime Forum, 2022

Get ClimateReady – What is meant by sea level rise? (The Met Office)
Monitoring and responding to sea level rise (The Met Office)

Two recent blogs from the Met Office relating to Sea Level Rise. From the first blog:

Rising sea levels can cause significant impacts for infrastructure, coastal communities and wildlife across the globe, and it is clear that a combined approach, implementing both mitigation and adaptation measures, is necessary to avoid the worst of these impacts.

Met Office Press Office, 2022


Maritime sustainability links – Tuesday, 30 August 2022

A few interesting things I found recently:

Major sea-level rise caused by melting of Greenland ice cap is ‘now inevitable’ (The Guardian)

We’ve known for a while that sea-level rise is inevitable: that is, whatever we do to address carbon emissions now or in the future that the seas have already warmed enough that some glacial ice will melt. The question is one of “how much” rather than “if”.

Two things stand out: the figures quoted are alarming (27 cm as a “very conservative rock-bottom minimum”), but also of note is the way that the research was conducted. This study makes predictions based on analysing satellite images of previous losses, rather than using mathematical models which have an inherent amount of uncertainty.

The research shows the global heating to date will cause an absolute minimum sea-level rise of 27cm (10.6in) from Greenland alone as 110tn tonnes of ice melt. With continued carbon emissions, the melting of other ice caps and thermal expansion of the ocean, a multi-metre sea-level rise appears likely.

The Guardian, 2022

World Maritime Day (United Nations)

Two links to share that relate to developing economies, and the opportunities and challenges of a sustainable maritime sector:

First, a reminder that this year’s World Maritime Day is on Thursday, 29 September 2022. This year’s theme is New Technologies for Greener Shipping. From the UN page for this observance:

The theme for this year reflects the need to support a green transition of the maritime sector into a sustainable future, while leaving no one behind. It provides an opportunity to focus on the importance of a sustainable maritime sector and the need to build back better and greener in a post pandemic world.

United Nations, 2022

Decarbonizing shipping: Strategic opportunities for South Africa, Mexico and Indonesia (Global Maritime Forum)

Last week I attended a webinar on decarbonising the shipping sector, presenting examples from South Africa, Mexico and Indonesia. If you’re interested in viewing this webinar, the recording can be found on the Global Maritime Forum’s channel on YouTube. From the video description:

Developing and emerging economies around the world are integral for the transition to zero-emission shipping. With their substantial renewable energy resources, these countries have great potential to not only develop production and bunkering of green fuels – ranging from the domestic fleet and small vessels to deep-sea ocean-going vessels – but also in some cases to export these fuels as a new commodity. The benefits associated with the production of scalable zero-emission fuels are widespread, supporting sustainable development goals, reducing maritime and land-based emissions, bolstering economic and job growth, among others. South Africa, Mexico, and Indonesia are three such countries with strategic opportunities to contribute to shipping’s decarbonization.

This webinar will share outcomes from the P4G-Getting to Zero Partnership project, highlighting key findings and recommendations from our recently published & soon-to-be published reports on these three countries.

Global Maritime Forum, 2002

You can learn more about the Getting to Zero Coalition here.

Screen Holiday

Why we all need a long weekend away from our devices

Photo and graphics: author

August 2022: Two summers ago, I wrote about the concept of using a public holiday to take a break from our screens. It’s an idea I’ve lost sight of during recent holidays, but I’ve just deleted social media apps from my phone (which I’ll write more about later). With luck, this will make the coming holiday a little easier to be screen-free.

I dream of three days without beeps and flashes. Three days without scrolling. Three days without picking up a glowing rectangle.

Just as a normal public holiday (or bank holiday) gives us time off from work, I propose celebrating a screen holiday to claim time off from our devices.


Reducing screen time benefits our sleepour posture, and our attention spans. There are also positive effects on our family relationships and social lives, allowing us to focus more on the people we love.

What’s this got to do with sustainability?

Anything that improves our health and wellbeing is sustainable. Remember that sustainability is not only about the environment, but the social and economic aspects. If we can spend less time on our devices then we could all be healthier as a result.

There are secondary benefits: we can spend more time in, and engaging with, the natural environment; we can focus on noticing things and stop our interactions with the world from being surface-level only; and we can be of the world, instead of just passing through it.

What does it entail?

Just as a public holiday gives us time off from work, a screen holiday gives us a break from our phones and other devices. This coming public holiday weekend (Summer Bank Holiday in England and Wales) is a good place in which to anchor such an experiment: a time, not too long, when not too many people are trying to get in touch with us.

And who knows? If the screen holiday weekend is successful, maybe we’ll be inspired to try a screen holiday week?

How do we do it?

I don’t advocate a complete removal of our phones, but an end to non-essential use. I plan to keep my phone on me in case I need to make an emergency call, take a photo, or check the weather.

What I suggest is an end to casual use: the aimless scroll, the pick-up during moments of boredom. Some suggestions on how to make this work:

  1. Carry other distractions. If we’re in the habit of picking up our phones as a distraction in quiet moments, we should carry something else that can serve that purpose, say a book or a magazine, a sketchbook, or a pocket notebook. Otherwise, make a habit of noticing our surroundings, stretching, or grabbing a moment of reflection.
  2. Turn off notifications. An extreme example would be to turn off all notifications, particularly for the most distracting of apps, but I find the easiest thing is to switch on do not disturb. For peace of mind, we can change our settings to make exceptions for family or close friends, so they can still reach us in an emergency.

August 2022: I’ve actually changed my mind about this last bit of advice. I’ve come to think we don’t owe anyone an explanation if we seek to change our communication habits, especially if we’re doing it for reasons of self-improvement. Most messages we receive can wait. If anyone can’t understand or support that, then there’s a deeper question we need to ask about that relationship.

Finally, I suggest we start our screen holiday on Friday night, as soon as we finish work. That’s when most of us consider the holiday starts, right? No putting it off until Saturday morning, because there’s always the risk that we’ll put it off further still.

This post originally appeared in Rethink Convenience on Medium.

A Week in Textures 2

Monday, 15 to Sunday, 21 August 2022

Netting at the cricket club
(Monday, 15 August)

We found a pigeon flapping, caught in the netting. Dog frantic barking. The bird freed itself but almost got caught by the dog as it skirted the ground trying to find a way out from behind the net. No blood, no explosion of feathers, but it was close. Dog disappointed.

Rainwater on a steel coffee table
(Tuesday, 16 August)
Red stone cladding
(Wednesday, 17 August)
Sun-parched grass
(Thursday, 18 August)
(Friday, 19 August)
Children’s book spine (specifically Jane Foster’s Pets)
(Saturday, 20 August)
Last minute brick wall
(Sunday, 21 August)

Previous week:

A Week in Textures 1 (Monday, 8 to Sunday 14 August)

Notebook Changeover: White Winter Edition

Pocket notebooks have become my everything books. They are my sketchbooks, home to my to-do lists and shopping lists, my planners, my idea-books, my journals, and my commonplace books.

I’ve tried keeping multiple books at once, each with their own purpose, but honestly it’s too much work. Ensuring the right book is with you at the right time, keeping track of multiple open loops… I find it to be a massive energy and time sink and so I’ve sought to simplify my processes¹.

I’ve learned, very recently, to stop being precious about a book’s contents. Spill ink, cross out mistakes, practice your handwriting, or devote whole pages to fruit labels. Books are made to be used, and to be used now. Who cares about the presentation? Regardless, these books are for my use anyway

Now my books look lived in. They have stories. They are messy and chaotic and I love them.

My outgoing book is my last Field Notes Group Eleven special edition from Winter 2019, specifically the Silver book. Fitting because the Commonwealth Games wrapped up during this usage and silver is, of course, the medal given for second place. “Second place” is kinda how I feel about this edition. Very good, but not the best. The books feel great in the hand and the foiled page edges are a nice touch, but the graph ruled paper doesn’t like fountain pens.

The incoming book is Field Notes Snowblind. Also a winter book, also a white cover, and also my last one of a three-pack


¹ I keep only one other book, and that is for work notes. Gotta have some work-life notebook balance, right?

First day back

Reflections on a late return to the office

Last week was my first day back in my base office in almost two and a half years. Since becoming a father it has been easier and more beneficial for me to be at home, and with my projects all being distant there hasn’t been the drive for me to see the local team.

But I never wanted to be a full-time teleworker. As amazing as it is to spend these formative months with my baby, I miss the hubbub of the office, the harder boundary between work and personal life, and the serendipity of a chance encounter helping to solve a problem.

I’m probably the last office worker in the country to return to the office, but thought it is important I capture my impressions.

How was it? Quieter than I remember, but otherwise the same. Partly this was down to most people now being part-time teleworkers, but also because it’s the middle of the summer holidays and half of my colleagues appear to be on leave at any given time. There were enough people in for my visit to not feel weird.

There are some changes. Our office footprint halved, but most people seem to still sit at their old desks. We’re hot-desking now, but we’re creatures of habit. I’d say that includes me, but I forgot what desk I used to occupy.

Also, very exciting: there’s a shiny new coffee machine, which I’m sure will enrich my working day once I work out how to use it.

It makes me wonder what the future of all of this is. Looking around our building there are a few empty units, and the ones that remain are far from busy. The building is missing its buzz, but it remains to be seen how much of this is holiday-related and how much is long term. Will we eventually get new neighbours?

To end on a positive note, it was great to catch up with some of my office mates, some of whom I haven’t seen in almost 30 months. I don’t normally work with these people so I’ve missed the opportunity to interact at a mostly social level.

It’s great to be back in a place of work again, where I can concentrate on one thing. I have the opportunity to enforce some separation between my work and personal lives. That separation will never be absolute, and nor would I want it to be: the foundation of a strong team is the incorporation of our personal lives into our professional interactions.

Looking forward, I’ll go in more often and try to get some regular days so things are more predictable for my family. It will be nice to get some routine back into my working life.

This post originally appeared on LinkedIn

A Week in Textures 1

Monday, 8 to Sunday, 14 August 2022

Sunlight through parasol fabric
(Monday, 8 August)
Timber bought for new flower beds
(Tuesday, 9 August)
Office carpet
(Wednesday, 10 August)

Related Reading: First Day Back – Reflections on a late return to the office

Parasol weight
(Thursday, 11 August)
Wear and tear on pocket notebook (specifically Field Notes Snowblind, winter 2015 special edition)
(Friday, 12 August)

Related Reading: Notebook Changeover: White Winter Edition – Field Notes Group Eleven to Snowblind

Barbecue embers
(Saturday, 13 August)
(Sunday, 14 August)

Not Getting Stressed

It’s okay to be late

An image of an empty open suitcase on a rug. The suitcase lining is light grey. The dark grey exterior of the suitcase is just visible.
Photo: author

We were getting ready to visit my parents and it was taking forever to get everything ready and for us to get out of the door. Temperatures were flaring, words were being said.  The dog was getting more and more wound-up and the baby more and more confused. it’s regatta week in Salcombe and there is a risk that some or all of the events we want to attend will be missed.

I know I shouldn’t get stressed when things take longer to do because of the dog or the baby, or when it takes us forever to get out of the house. I know this, but in the heat of the moment – when it seems like you’re the only one who cares about a looming deadline – it’s hard to remember.

I’ve always hated being late for things.

This is my life now and I accept it willingly, but again, the heat of the moment. I have this theory that the amount of time it takes for us get ready increases disproportionately with the number of people in the house. Like when we went from 1 to 2 people, departure started taking more than twice as long. We’re now four counting the dog. We’re screwed if we add another child or dog

In these situations, here are some things that I find help.


Consider what is in your control, and what isn’t. Have you taken care of the things that are within your control as best you can? Then the rest, logically, is outside your control, and no amount of stress will change anything about them.

Think about those things you didn’t execute well; is it worth wasting energy getting angry about what happened, or do we learn the lesson for next time and move on? The same approach applies to something you could have influenced but didn’t: learn and move on.

An example: you could have told your partner what time you would need to leave to make the “important thing”. You didn’t. That’s your mistake, but there is nothing to be gained from being short or blaming others. Move on.

Remember that the events outside of your control are not often intentional and they are very rarely malicious. There is no conspiracy here, so stop thinking the world is against you.

Finally, consider that the events happening right now are the important ones. What are you missing whilst you’re fixating on that point in the future? Quality time with a baby girl who is changing every day? A beautiful sunset? A new song on the radio that might introduce you to a new band or artist? Five minutes of calm?

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans

John Lennon

Or, indeed, while you’re stressed about your plans not working out.

As it happens, we were so late to my parents we missed all the things we might have rushed for: the beer festival, the street party, the Euro 2022 final, a beer with my dad. But I don’t focus on that. I focus on the quality time spent with my daughter whilst mum ran into the supermarket, the lunch we were able to enjoy, the family dog walk around my home town.

Be present, and stop stressing your life away.

Using What We Have

On keeping notebook collections modest

I bought new pocket notebooks, a rare experience these days. Birthday money doesn’t burn holes in my pocket like it used to, but I still like to spend on analogue products when I can.

One of the key principles for living sustainably is to buy less. With this in mind I try not to buy more than I need and I only buy things that I think I’ll use. In terms of notebooks, this means my pile of “to use” notebooks never gets much more than ten to fifteen books high.

I didn’t used to be this way. I had subscriptions to quarterly releases from Field Notes and others. I chased the new shiny thing. I coveted new rulings and layouts. But as I’ve become more interested in green living I don’t want these things as strongly.

There’s a concept amongst stationery collectors (and other hobbies) known as SABLE, which stands for Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy, i.e. you’ve bought more than you could ever hope to use in your own lifetime. I’ve never been close to SABLE, but I wonder if, for sustainability reasons, it is time to consider another acronym. Just Enough Stationery for Tomorrow, perhaps?

Other things to consider if you want to make your notebook use more sustainable:

Use the good china

We use this phrase in our house to remind us that things are made to be used. You could save certain items for some unspecified future use, or you could enjoy them now.

Imagine the scenario: you die, and whoever gets the job of handling your estate doesn’t even realise how awesome your notebooks are and pitches them

Complete things

And use as much of them as you can. I don’t necessarily mean you have to fill each page with blocks of densely packed, tiny writing, but it stands to reason that if you get more use out of each item you will buy less things

Only buy what you need

This is where I lose the collectors amongst us, but I refer back to my earlier point: these things are made to be used.

Is it right to imprison these books in boxes or cupboards, knowing that the energy, time and materials used to create them was wasted? I like to think of those great notebooks, those ones I could have bought more of, as better fulfilling their purpose out in the world, hopefully in the hands of someone who values them

Buy local

Buy more notebooks manufactured in your own country. This reduces the energy consumption associated with shipping, but also supports your local economy

Buy sustainable

Look for FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified paper or recycled paper