Since there are no currently active contests, we have switched Climate CoLab to read-only mode.
Learn more at
Skip navigation
Share via:


Our sail transport cooperative is riding the wave of peer-based sharing and relocalizing the economy to bring carbon-neutral transport.


Guidance on collaborative pilot

This is a pilot test of a new, collaborative approach for getting work done in the Climate CoLab. It will run during March and April of 2012.

Just like in the 2011 activities, anyone can create a proposal. But there is also a community proposal, where members are encouraged to work together in a collaborative way. Any member can contribute to the community proposal as long as they are logged in.

The community proposal is like a wiki, so the history of edits is tracked, and you can revert to prior versions of the proposal if desired.

Please also use the Comments to express your opinion on whether or not you would like to see this collaborative approach used in the Climate CoLab in 2012.

Feel free to organize the proposal as you see fit. One thought—it's good to have a brief summary of the overall proposal at the top, as an aid to readers.

Proposal Text


Salish Sea Trading Cooperative, a Ballard non-profit, relies on wind and tide to transport locally produced goods around Puget Sound by sailboat. Our goals are to conserve precious energy resources, lower our carbon footprint, and re-introduce the idea of sail as everyday transport while building resiliency into our local food shed. And have fun along the way.

We've worked out most of the community-scaled model as we enter our third season, and are seeking the prize award in order to share out this model with other sustainability organizations, whether Transition Towns internationally or closer to home within our regional network of Sustainable Communities ALL Over Puget Sound (SCALLOPS).

We're also delighted to be joined by Vermont Sail Freight(Vermont to New York City) and Dragonfly Sail Transport(Lake Michigan), also revitalizing sail transport.

Category of the action

Reducing emissions from transportation

What actions do you propose?

We propose working out the final kinks in the model, and then widely sharing the blueprint with the rest of the world. At a glance, it may seem simple to just create another transportation system. But each region is different, and because we are a cooperative, we seek grassroots, egalitarian structures and partnerships. That is, becoming part of the mesh.

Who will take these actions?

Our worker-owned (sailor-owned) cooperative. Our cooperative will live underneath a 501(c)4 framework. We're entering our third season and have not just the legal infrastructure but also the carefully nurtured relationships of 3 years.

Where will these actions be taken?

Initially in the Puget Sound. As noted earlier, sail transport initiatives have also started up in the US in Michigan and Vermont. Europe maintained their commitment to short-sea shipping (coastal trade), so there are for-profit groups such as Tres Hombres and New Dawn Traders that are actively sailing and trading.

We differ in that we are a non-profit and a cooperative, and deeply committed to our community first rather than profits first.

How much will emissions be reduced or sequestered vs. business as usual levels?

Our boats currently either have biodiesel or electric. The scow we're thinking about building will have electric. Emissions will be either zero or minimal, excluding the energy embedded in the original creation of the boats.

What are other key benefits?

A small-scale sail transport system is easily within the reach of a lcommitted. ocal community group. This model allows our brothers and sisters to put the transportation reins in their own hands, freed from fossil fuel and knowing they're building a future that is healthier for themselves and their children.

What are the proposal’s costs?

$10,000. We've invested $6000 already in legal costs and researching issues such as the Jones Act. Winning the prize award would allow us to finalize discussions with insurance brokers, naval architects, and other experts. We can then share out the final model.

Time line

November 2013: vet final model

Winter 2014: create sharing model and online website to share best practices, develop trade route reservations for local goods.

Spring 2015: share out model and launch website.

Related proposals


City Council President, Richard Conln, blog post about the cooperative

Sustainable Ballard co-founder and skipper, Vic Opperman