Kurtis Baute built the 1,000 cubic foot cube on his brother’s property in Courtenay. Here he is pictured inside 13 hours after sealing himself in. Photo by Jolene Rudisuela

B.C. Youtuber exits homemade, air-tight ‘biodome’ after 14 hours

Kurtis Baute sealed himself ‘in a jar’ to continue the discussion about climate change

Kurtis Baute has left his homemade greenhouse, just over 14 hours after he sealed himself in.

A cloudy day resulted in carbon dioxide levels rising quicker than expected, creating a dangerous environment for the Vancouver-based Youtuber.

“The air feels sort of thick,” said Baute an hour before leaving the confines of the cube, built on his brother’s property in Courtenay. “I feel not at my normal high energy, witty self. I feel kind of slightly stupider.”

Baute sealed himself into the 1,000 cubic foot airtight “biodome” at midnight on Wednesday to raise awareness and start a discussion about the impacts of climate change.

With a Master of Science, Baute has always been passionate about the environment and this experiment was meant to be a tiny example of what is currently happening to the earth.

READ MORE: B.C. Youtube to seal himself ‘in a jar’ in Courtenay to demonstrate impacts of climate change

The biodome was filled with over 200 plants to produce oxygen, including sunflowers, corn, and evergreens. Throughout the experiment, Baute measured levels of oxygen and CO2 inside the cube to determine how long he could safely stay inside.

Through his calculations, Baute estimated he would be able to stay in the biodome for 21 hours, but adds there were so many variables, it was difficult to predict. However, the lack of sun was perhaps his biggest issue.

“Sunlight is essential for plant photosynthesis. Without photosynthesis, the plants aren’t taking in carbon dioxide and they’re not putting out much oxygen,” he said. “Without any photosynthesis, they’re actually going to be competing with me for oxygen.”

Baute’s friend and paramedic, Mark Van Eijk, was on hand to make sure nothing went wrong during the experiment.

An hour before Baute exited the biodome, Van Eijk said measuring the levels of CO2 and oxygen was vital because it can be difficult to tell when the levels are too high. In Baute’s case, his oxygen levels were okay, but the CO2 levels were concerning.

“In terms of re-oxygenating… really all he needs to do is come out and take a few big gulps of air and really breathe out. Once he breathes outsides of the box, he should be fine,” said Van Eijk.

Baute’s “abort level” of CO2 was 10,000 parts per million, which was reached just after 2 p.m. on Wednesday.

“My issue with carbon dioxide is a slightly different and much smaller example of what’s happening globally,” he said.

To put it into perspective, Baute says the earth’s atmosphere currently has 400 ppm of CO2, or 500 ppm in an urban environment, compared to 300 ppm 60 years ago.

“It’s 0.04 per cent of the air – it’s a tiny amount, but a small increase makes a big difference,” he said.

But though Baute did track the oxygen and CO2 levels throughout the night and day, the real reason for the experiment was to engage people on the topic of climate change and inspire lifestyle changes.

“There’s tons of data, and scientists know and are at a consensus that climate change is happening and it’s caused by humans. I don’t need to contribute to that data set with an experiment I did in my backyard. But hopefully I can engage people and get them on board with making lifestyle changes.

“We need to eat less meat, we need to drive less and we need to vote and we need to have conversations about [climate change].”

Baute documented his experiences and will be posting his videos on his Youtube channel with the same name.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The third photograph of Robert Johnson

An old photograph comes to light — a reminder that mythology is real and the past is still alive

East Kootenay snow packs still moderately high

EK snow packs at 114 per cent of normal

City launches guide to help simplify development processes

A new guide that provides information and background on development applications and… Continue reading

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Car stolen from Cranbrook airport

Cranbrook RCMP are investigating a report of a stolen vehicle. The 2020… Continue reading

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Snowbirds to remain at Kamloops Airport indefinitely after fatal crash

small contingent of the Snowbirds team is staying in Kamloops, acting as stewards of the jets

Most Read