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|Stuart Ballantyne – a Greenie in Disguise?|
|Wednesday, 02 December 2009 13:29|
Humorist, columnist and marine zealot Stuart Ballantyne is often criticised by EPA and a variety of green groups for his cynical and derisory remarks about environmentalists in general, and extremists in particular. He refers to the extremists as CAVE men –“Citizens Against Virtually Everything”.
I’ve been alarmed to learn recently that certain bureaucratic green zealots have acted beyond their powers in trying to suppress his right to be heard. This, apart from its general offensiveness is anti-democratic behaviour at its worst.
What most people don’t know about Ballantyne is that the biggest and oldest file in his design office is the “Alternative Energy” file, and as a man who likes yachting as his hobby, he practices what he preaches.
In 1982, he was a key tactician in establishing Fiji’s coastal shipping service between the two closest points in Fiji’s two main islands, and cut down 13 ships travelling for two days between the two main ports to three vessels on a three-hour crossing. Huge reductions in green house gases (GHG).
As tactician to Kangaroo Island Sealink in 1984, he put the world’s first offshore Ro-Pax design across the one-hour stretch from Cape Jervis to Kangaroo Island in 1984, ending the 80-metre heavily subsidised “Island Seaway” that did a six-hour crossing from Port Adelaide
He was the founding Director of Peninsula Searoad Transport which finally bridged Port Phillip Heads near Melbourne in 1987 after 100 years of failed attempts by a variety of groups. Today that service carries 900,000 people and 300,000 vehicles per annum and certainly has reduced GHGs around Port Phillip.
He won the Seatrade Environmental Award in London in 1997 for the design of the Lead zinc carrier ‘Aburri’, which established new and better levels of dust and spillage control at the time
His semi-SWATH Crusader and Ro-Pax designs have been sold to 45 countries worldwide because of their low horsepower requirement and hence their low emissions and carbon footprint, winning the Cruise and Ferry Award 2003.
His crusade for the revival of Australian coastal shipping and the reduction of truck traffic emissions, road accidents and road maintenance are well recorded over the last 20 years
He also won the AUSMEPA award in 2006 for the clear environmental advantages of the SeaSA ferry across Spencer Gulf in South Australia.
The new IMO Energy Efficient Design Index (EEDI) is a ship design benchmark where Ballantyne and his Sea Transport Solutions designs are clear leaders, and hence his willingness to constantly improve hull efficiency by tank testing at AMC and elsewhere.
He is without a doubt a “practising greenie”, a term that would probably make him squirm.
Ask this straight talking Scotsman what he doesn’t like about greenies and he will give you a succinct answer. He despises “unbalanced” greenies who are paid to police green policies but use their positions to obstruct anything and everything, even projects that have clear environmental advantages with employment opportunities to boot.
He sees the coastal waters as an unused highway that doesn’t require thousands of tonnes of tar sealing or repairs to pot holes!
So while he may poke fun at and cast disdain on sectors of the EPA, he is ahead of the game in environmental practice
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