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I take around 10-20 flights per year, almost exclusively for leisure, and I’m beginning to feel somewhat guilty about the environmental impact of flights. I understand that some flights are necessary, but does anyone else feel at all bad about taking unnecessary flights?
[QUOTE=”Fire Guy, post: 68013″]Hey everyone,
I take around 10-20 flights per year, almost exclusively for leisure, and I’m beginning to feel somewhat guilty about the environmental impact of flights. I understand that some flights are necessary, but does anyone else feel at all bad about taking unnecessary flights?[/QUOTE]
Interesting… Yes, I do feel bad (not really the right word – perhaps angst?) about taking unnecessary flights. But what is [I]unnecessary[/I]? You say you travel almost exclusively for leisure. Would you drive instead? Or just stay home? Driving is not as bad for the economy, but still causes carbon emissions.
But yes, I have concern that unnecessary flying is harming our environment – I am not a climate change denier. But I fly anyway. For work and leisure. I could probably eliminate 75-85% of my work flying if I really wanted to – what with Skype, etc. But I don’t want to. Does that make me a hypocrite? Perhaps. The reality is that those planes are flying whether I choose to or not. Granted, if we [B]all[/B] made more of an effort, then flying would decrease, etc. Economists say the way to shift behavior is through “taxes” – shifting / adding costs. Whether it be a carbon tax, regulations about fuel efficiency, etc. We want our cake with as little cost and little regulation as possible. Make flying more expensive, whether through carbon taxes, regulations, etc., and flying will decrease. Do we want that? Or can we achieve our goals through other means – efficiency, offsets, etc.
I choose to live in a city and work from home / walk to work. Does that offset my flying? Probably not – though maybe. I drive less than 30 days a year. I’m lucky I can make that choice. Anyway, proselytizing over…
I have a slightly different approach. When it’s reasonable to take a train or drive, I use that option. Obviously, for trips to Europe and Asia several times a year, I must fly. Within Europe, I take a lot of high speed trains. All my flights are work related except for (at most) one to two international vacations each year.
I also try to apply the “what is reasonable” filter. I’d take the train most places if I could, and definitely do when I can. I generally drive and fly when I have to. When I’m not working, I try to use public transport, my feet, or my bicycle as much as possible. My flights these days are almost all leisure anymore, but they are also almost all long haul.
Some airlines offer you to buy carbon offset, usually a few dollars for US domestic flight, which doesn’t make your flight green as the airline can advertise, but better than nothing and it is my understanding that they don’t manage the money themsleves. You can also look at your hotel (LEED certification for instance, which again doesn’t make the hotel green but better, or go buy your own soap/shampoo if they are still using small disposable plastics).
Otherwise in Europe, it is easier to use train/metro/bike, not more expensive or neither challenging.
Very good piece from Sunday’s NYTimes: