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Why pirates were energy saving pioneers

By James Fritz Friday 19 September 2014

Why pirates were energy saving pioneers

The golden age of pirates was surprisingly progressive. They were accepting of gay marriage, had no glass ceiling for women and even had widespread health insurance to compensate for all those peg-legs and eye-patches. That’s why every year the world gathers together as a family, hang decorations and exchange gifts in celebration of that great old holiday - international Talk Like A Pirate Day! 

In cel-arrr-bration, we’ve put together some (very tenuous) reasons why pirates were the energy saving heroes of the past, giving everyone at OVO a rather flimsy excuse to talk about them all day.  

1. They were big fans of wind power

OVO have a few things in common with pirates.  

  • We’re adventurous. 
  • We have a strong Bristol heritage.
  • We’re very massive fans of wind energy.

Many pirates got everywhere using the power of wind, meaning zero pollution. A successful pirate ship relied on being fast and light, and would be powered by several sails. Ok, so the petrol engine hadn’t been invented yet, giving them very little choice. But still. Good on them. 

Hoist the mainsails!

2. When they couldn’t use wind power, they used manpower

Not all pirates had to sail by the good grace of the wind . Many used galleys instead, giant row-boats powered by dozens of men. It allowed them to sneak up on their enemies as they were able to sail against the wind. Although it wouldn’t have been very fun for those rowing, it does tick all our boxes as a real green way of getting from A to B. Heave! 

3. They used energy-efficient heating;

You’re on your ship, slap bang in the middle of the chilliest of the seven seas, with a gale a blowin’ and old Jack Frost leaving icicles on your cutlass. What do you do to stay warm?

Sadly it doesn’t make much sense to start a ruddy great fire on a boat made of wood, which thankfully that saves the environment from any nasty pollutants. And it’s not very appealing cuddling up for body heat when your crewmate is sporting a hook for a hand. So what did pirates do to keep warm? 

Why, drink rum of course! Lovely, hangover-inducing, non-greenhouse gas producing rum. A most excellently green way of staying warm.

4. They had green burials

Green burials are on the rise. There are now nearly 300 burial grounds in the UK as more and more environmentally conscious folk do away with cremation, coffins, embalming and gravestones and inter their loved ones in unmarked conservation sites so that their bodies can be recycled naturally.

Pirates, however, were way ahead of the curve, burying their dead at sea (where else). No fuss, no expense, no carbon footprint.

5. They loved to recycle

Pirates were adept at taking things they found and putting them to good use. If something could be re-used, they’d re-use it. In many ways they were the first great recyclers.

I mean, so what if they called it ‘looting’?

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