But here’s the peculiar thing: although no other human activity pushes individual emission levels as fast and as high as air travel, most of us don’t stop to think about its carbon impact.http://theconversation.com/its-time-to-wake-up-to-the-devastating-impact-flying-has-on-the-environment-70953
This video tells the story of a Swedish family that came to realize the high carbon cost of flying and instead relied on trains for their vacation travel.
Obviously it can be very inconvenient to have to travel distances by means other than flying. Years ago I would need to get to Washington, DC, to attend the annual meetings of the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL). The train was scheduled to leave Indianapolis at midnight, but was often late. It isn’t easy to sleep on the train. Although the trip was scheduled to be 22 hours long, we were often delayed, usually because of freight train traffic.
I imagine many of you have shared this observation, this paradox of people who say they care about our environment but fly frequently, often to attend climate meetings!
One of Greenpeace’s most senior executives commutes 250 miles to work by plane, despite the environmental group’s campaign to curb air travel, it has emerged.
Pascal Husting, Greenpeace International’s international programme director, said he began “commuting between Luxembourg and Amsterdam” when he took the job in 2012 and currently made the round trip about twice a month.
But Mr Husting defended the arrangement, telling the Telegraph that while he would “rather not take” the journey it was necessary as it would otherwise be “a twelve hour round trip by train”.Greenpeace executive flies 250 miles to work, The Telegraph, By Emily Gosden, Energy Editor, 23 Jun 2014
Several studies have found people to be quite ignorant of how their own flying behaviour contributes to climate change. It’s not hard to see why. Research into airline websites shows little mention of environmental impact. Green NGOs are often quiet on the issue, perhaps being reluctant to “preach” to their members to fly less, and concerned over accusations of hypocrisy as their own staff fly around the world to conferences.http://theconversation.com/its-time-to-wake-up-to-the-devastating-impact-flying-has-on-the-environment-70953
The following graphic from Sweden shows:
That graphic is from this video:
Climate activist Greta Thunberg refuses to fly:
We recommend four widely applicable high-impact (i.e. low emissions) actions with the potential to contribute to systemic change and substantially reduce annual personal emissions: having one fewer child (an average for developed countries of 58.6 tonnes CO2-equivalent (tCO2e) emission reductions per year), living car-free (2.4 tCO2e saved per year), avoiding airplane travel (1.6 tCO2e saved per roundtrip transatlantic flight) and eating a plant-based diet (0.8 tCO2e saved per year). These actions have much greater potential to reduce emissions than commonly promoted strategies like comprehensive recycling.The climate mitigation gap: education and government recommendations miss the most effective individual actions. Seth Wynesand Kimberly A Nicholas Published 12 July 2017 • © 2017 IOP Publishing Ltd. Environmental Research Letters, Volume 12, Number 7
Radically reducing fossil fuel use has long been a concern of Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative). A previously approved Minute urged us to reduce our use of personal automobiles. We have continued to be challenged by the design of our communities that makes this difficult. This is even more challenging in rural areas. But our environmental crisis means we must find ways to address this issue quickly.
Friends are encouraged to challenge themselves and to simplify their lives in ways that can enhance their spiritual environmental integrity. One of our meetings uses the term “ethical transportation,” which is a helpful way to be mindful of this.
Long term, we need to encourage ways to make our communities “walkable”, and to expand public transportation systems. These will require major changes in infrastructure and urban planning.
Carpooling and community shared vehicles would help. We can develop ways to coordinate neighbors needing to travel to shop for food, attend meetings, visit doctors, etc. We could explore using existing school buses or shared vehicles to provide intercity transportation.
One immediately available step would be to promote the use of bicycles as a visible witness for non-fossil fuel transportation. Friends may forget how easy and fun it can be to travel miles on bicycles. Neighbors seeing families riding their bicycles to Quaker meetings would have an impact on community awareness. This is a way for our children to be involved in this shared witness. We should encourage the expansion of bicycle lanes and paths. We can repair and recycle unused bicycles, and make them available to those who have the need.Ethical Transportation Minute
Approved by Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative) 2017