NATURE MAGAZINE MENTIONS THE INUIT WINDSLED PROJECT
The publication mentions Larramendi’s eolian vehicle in an article emphasizing the need for scientific research to contaminate as minimally as possible.
‘Nature Magazine’, 22nd June edition, highlights the importance of undertaking ‘clean science’ and describes the WindSled, designed by polar explorer Ramón Larramendi, as “an excellent opportunity for a low carbon emission scientific platform.” The article points out the WindSled can save as much as 100 barrels of fuel, in comparison with the ski aircraft commonly used in scientific expeditions similar to this one just completed in Greenland, Ice River 2017.
The article in the prestigious scientific journal is signed by journalist Julia Rosen and focuses on the need for researchers in different areas to become aware of the impact of their work on environment and try to remedy it. Precisely many scientists are focused on the study of these impacts.
In particular, in relation to the WindSled, the article explains this year’s participation in the Dark Snow Project, with climatologist Jason Box (Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, GEUS), and the collaboration of scientist and expeditionary, Ross Edwards (Curtis University, Australia).
Beforehand, Box’s team, with the intention of reducing emissions, had used ski planes (less polluting), instead of helicopters to collect data on the Arctic ice cap. This until they discovered Larramendi’s vehicle and decided to use it in Greenland Ice River Expedition 2017.
‘Nature’ depicts WindSled’s origin in the design of Inuit sleds pulled by dogs, although Larramendi has redesigned it to be driven by a giant kite. The author, Rosen, recalls the vehicle has performed several successful voyages in Greenland and Antarctica (having traveled 20000 km/12428 mi) and is “an excellent opportunity to further demonstrate the vehicle’s ability to serve as a low carbon emissions scientific platform. “
For Larramendi, this article “significantly supports the concept that I have developed during these last 17 years because it reflects the evolving of a, once upon a time anecdotal project, to become a fundamental tool in sustainable polar science. In the future researchers must set an example. “ Edwards, who has also collected information for Ice2Ice project under Paul Travis Vallelonga and for others by Hans Christian Steen-Larsen at the EastGRIP base, acknowledges the impact has been minimal: “Just some slight carbon dioxide emissions to cook and melt water, but we have already thought of solutions through solar energy that will allow 100% non-polluting expeditions. ”
Rosen mentions in her article that Shahzeen Attari, researcher at Indiana University, has discovered that the personal behavior of scientists is important to the general public. According to a study published in 2016, climate researchers are more credible when they are aware of their own impact and avoid leaving large carbon footprints behind. Consequently, the public is more willing to reduce their own footprint when acknowledging this.
Evidence suggests that scientists may leave higher carbon footprints than the average population. The author recounts the case of 13 scientists who evaluated their own greenhouse gas emissions and concluded that they were 10 times higher than the world average, mainly due to air travel.
Among the measures that many researchers are taking, Edwards mentions reducing flights, finding creative ways to do field work and saving energy in laboratories, thereby improving their ethics, benefiting the environment, and reducing their budgets. As reflected in the WindSled case, with a very low expedition cost as compared to other transport systems.
Some other examples of ‘clean science’ Edwards explains are the 2012 Alaska Ice Core Drilling Project using solar panels, a wind turbine and batteries; The case of Elly Knight, University of Alberta (Canada), who used bicycles to install monitors in the boreal forest; Or closing up chimneys in laboratories to prevent energy from escaping.
The Inuit WindSled project, sponsored by Tasermiut South Greenland Expeditions, aims to facilitate the transition to zero-emissions science in two of the most fragile territories on the planet: the Arctic and Antarctica, which are precisely greatly impacted by pollution. Thanks to this wind-driven convoy, scientists can avoid contaminating while carrying out their field work.