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

Robert Smithson of Smithson Employment Law Corporation presents a $10,000 donation to the Habitat for Humanity Okanagan’s Kelowna ReStore. (Contributed)
Habitat for Humanity’s Lake Country build gets $10,000 boost

“I couldn’t be more pleased to offer my support,” says Kelowna employment lawyer Robert Smithson

A Kelowna clinic decided to immunize their patients in a drive-thru flu clinic earlier this month. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
Interior Health anticipates increase in flu vaccinations this season

Some 300,000 doses of flu vaccine ready for distribution across Southern Interior

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 18 COVID-19 cases, highest daily count since July

The total of COVID-19 cases in the region is now at 662

The District of Lake Country’s wildfire reduction work near Beaver Lake dam will repurpose ground debris for firewood to warm Okanagan Indian Band seniors’ homes. (District of Lake Country)
Lake Country to keep Okanagan Indian Band seniors warm through winter

‘Ironic and satisfying’ repurposed wood from fuel management project to provide heat: OKIB Chief

The North Okanagan Friendship Centre Society is seeking a letter of support from the City of Vernon ahead of its provincial grant application to establish a 37-space daycare facility to serve the Indigenous population. (submitted photo)
Organization looks to bring urban Indigenous daycare to Vernon

North Okanagan Friendship Centre Society seeks letter of support from city ahead of grant application

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Thanks to efforts by a Kelowna shelter and Elections BC, anyone who wishes to can vote in the 2020 BC Provincial Election, even if they don’t have a fixed address. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Kelowna group ensures people experiencing homelessness can vote

Shelter supervisor says voting ‘a fundamental right’ even for those without a fixed address

(Big White Ski Resort photo)
Big White receives 21 cm of snow in 24 hours

Resort’s snow base 41 cm deep, one month until opening day

The deer were allegedly shot within Princeton town limits, late at night. Black Press File Photo.
Armed man, in full camouflage, allegedly shoots deer in downtown Princeton

‘The list of charges goes on and on,’ said RCMP Sgt. Rob Hughes

Copies of an unsolicited newspaper have been reported arriving in mailboxes in Lavington and Predator Ridge among other municipalities across British Columbia. (Caitlin Clow - Vernon Morning Star)
LETTER: Questionable newspaper appears in mailboxes

‘I would suggest people do their own research of this ‘newspaper’ before subscribing to it,’ Morning Star reader says

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

Most Read