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.

Just Posted

Flames lose at home, win in Mission

Host Kodiaks on Friday night

Weavers and spinners to kick off holiday shopping

The Whonnock Weavers and Spinners’ 38th annual exhibit and sale takes place Nov. 25

Strong support for Pitt Meadows transportation projects

Overpass/underpass projects get majority support

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead in Maple Ridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

Ridge Meadows Hospital parking is still pay, but streets free

Surrey has removed meters on streets, asking Fraser Health for free parking at the hospital

UPDATE: IHIT confirms identity of Hells Angels homicide victim

Chad John Wilson was one of four men arrested in Spain in 2013 on allegations of smuggling cocaine.

Former NHL player and coach Dan Maloney dies at 68

Maloney coached the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets

Ex-MSU president charged with lying to police about Nassar

Lou Anna Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police during an investigation

Otter makes a snack out of koi fish in Vancouver Chinese garden

Staff say the otter has eaten at least five fish

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

B.C. lumber mills struggle with shortage of logs, price slump

Signs of recovery after U.S. market swings, industry executive says

25% of Canadians still won’t say they use pot, survey says

Statistics Canada poll says Canadians on average were 18.9 years old when they first tried pot.

Canucks’ 50/50 jackpot expected to surpass $1 million

The guaranteed prize for one lucky winner will be $500,000 minimum when Vancouver hosts LA Nov 27

The latest advent calendar trend: Holiday cannabis

A Canadian company is giving people from coast to coast a new way to celebrate the Christmas countdown.

Most Read