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

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

North Cowichan councillor Christopher Justice wants to see rare habitats protected in the municipality. (File photo)
North Cowichan wants rare ecosystems to be a priority in OCP

But some council members want public input into decision

The Chemainus Health Care Auxiliary is taking a pro-active approach and closing the thrift shop as a precautionary measure as of Saturday. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Chemainus Health Care Auxiliary Thrift Shop closing again as a precautionary measure

Second closure this year will last at least six weeks due to the COVID situation

The Santa’s Workshop fundraiser being put on by Camosun students on Dec. 5, 2020, will benefit Providence Farm. (Submitted)
Camosun students harness spirit holiday season with Providence Farm fundraiser

The next event, coming up on Dec. 5, is a virtual “Day in Santa’s Workshop”

Colwood resident, Geoffrey Irwin, has been missing since Sep. 27. His vehicle was found in Vancouver on Nov. 25. (Courtesy of West Shore RCMP)
Police search for former Caps player last seen in September

Geoff Irwin’s vehicle was found in Vancouver Nov. 25

Cowichan Tribes’ artist Darrell Thorne (left) and Phil Kent, chairman of the Island Corridor Foundation, hold Thorne’s first-place winning design in the ICF’s First Nations artist competition. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Cowichan Tribes’ Darrell Thorne wins ICF art competition

Artists designed perspectives on passenger trains of the future

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

BC Ambulance Services reassures people that the service is well staffed and ready to respond. Photo by Don Bodger
BC Ambulance assures the Island community they’re ‘fully staffed’

‘Paramedics are not limited to a geographical area.’ — BCEHS

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

A coal-fired power plant seen through dense smog from the window of an electric bullet train south of Beijing, December 2016. China has continued to increase thermal coal production and power generation, adding to greenhouse gas emissions that are already the world’s largest. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
LNG featured at B.C. energy industry, climate change conference

Hydrogen, nuclear, carbon capture needed for Canada’s net-zero goal

An RCMP officer confers with military rescuers outside their Cormorant helicopter near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
Good Samaritan helped Kootenay police nab, rescue suspect which drew armed forces response

Midway RCMP said a Good Samaritan helped track the suspect, then brought the arresting officer dry socks

Most Read