Letters to the Editor: Save the planet. Read Thor Heyerdahl

A lone sailboat is seen off Ventura on Jan. 21, 2021.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
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To the editor: I loved Charles J. Doane’s words in his op-ed article, “To save the Earth, think like a ‘blue water’ sailor.” They inspire a message of hope and optimism.

He writes of living alone sustainably, off the grid in his little boat, with limited resources and technology, forcing voluntary conservation. In contrast, we consider it our right to waste everything, diminishing our future possibilities.

Therein lies the predicament we face. All of our technology comes with tremendous permanent environmental damage to our increasingly crowded planet. It is not sustainable to live this way.


A passage from the book “Kon-Tiki” by Thor Heyerdahl describes a different ocean journey in 1947. Six men built their own reed raft and sailed thousands of miles across the Pacific Ocean. The passage reads:

“All the blue purity that surrounded us had washed and cleansed both body and soul. To us on the raft the great problems of civilized man appeared false and illusory.... Only the elements mattered.”

Phil Beauchamp, Chino Hills


To the editor: My wife and I, together with our son who was 8 when we left, sailed around the world in just under 6½ years, living on our boat for most of that time. Often, for months at a time, we would not be connected to land, being either at sea or at anchor.

We were “off the grid” for extensive periods. In many of the places we visited, the local inhabitants practiced exactly the same self-sufficiency we did, but without our ability to move on if they got it wrong.

Therefore, I would extend the headline to Doane’s article: “To save the Earth, think like a ‘blue water’ sailor, and many of the developing world’s inhabitants.”


Lawrence Pane, Burbank