[Article] – If You Care About Your Impact On The Planet, You Should Stop Flying

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  • #97665

    ThouArtThat
    Member
    • Total Posts: 1,700
    @thouartthat

    If you care about your impact on the planet, you should stop flying

    That return flight you took from New York to London probably seemed inconsequential, in the grand scheme of things. Six or seven hours each way, a few hundred dollars (maybe you paid in miles?), a few days of jet lag. A small price to pay to cross an ocean, see the sights, and then head back home again.

    But here’s another way of thinking about it. Your economy class seat on that one return flight put an extra 1.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide in the air—about as much taking a round-trip, 15-mile commute every day for a year in a fuel-efficient car. By some calculations, it cost the future world as much as $60 worth of damage, or was equivalent to a reduction in polar summer sea ice cover by roughly the area of a downstairs bathroom or office cubicle.

    Snip …

    There is no quicker way to reduce your emissions than by not flying. Opting out of that return flight from New York to London, for instance, would reduce your emissions by significantly more than giving up beef for a year. By contrast, switching off the lights when you’re out of a room, or unplugging your phone charger when you aren’t using it barely even register. (One surefire way to limit your emissions is to opt out of having kids.) Moreover, choosing not to fly, and telling other people about your choice, lends climate action credibility, helping to encourage collective action, which in turn may lead to policy change.

    Snip …

    This table with data from the US Bureau of Transportation Statistics lays out the difference (between different transportation modes):

    Transport Average carbon dioxide emissions Fuel efficiency
    Bus 0.17 lbs/passenger mile 186.2 passenger miles/gallon
    Train 0.41 lbs/passenger mile 189.7 passenger miles/gallon
    Car 1.17 lbs/passenger mile 113 passenger miles/gallon
    Airplane 1.83 lbs/passenger mile 53.6 passenger miles/gallon

    Snip …

    Follow-up article on same topic: https://qz.com/1671617/how-much-does-your-flight-actually-hurt-the-planet/

    "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
    - John F. Kennedy

    "In a Time of Universal Deceit - Telling the Truth Is a Revolutionary Act."
    - George Orwell

    "They must find it difficult ... Those who have taken authority as the truth,
    Rather than truth as the authority."
    - Gerald Massey

    "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."
    - Jiddu Krishnamurti

  • #97669

    Cold Mountain Trail
    Member
    • Total Posts: 5,674
    @coldmountaintrail

    Another black mark on the 1%’s roster — cause who flies more than they do, & those in service of their agendas.

    • #97675

      ThouArtThat
      Member
      • Total Posts: 1,700
      @thouartthat

      @coldmountaintrail

      Hi cmt,

      Yep – nailed it – since we know that 50% of all CO2 emissions are generated by just 10% of global population.  All those private jets and business trips do nothing but make things worse.  This because CO2 emitted at altitude is more damaging than CO2 emitted at ground level i.e. the CO2 is already at an altitude to do the most damage.

      Source: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/02/worlds-richest-10-produce-half-of-global-carbon-emissions-says-oxfam

      "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
      - John F. Kennedy

      "In a Time of Universal Deceit - Telling the Truth Is a Revolutionary Act."
      - George Orwell

      "They must find it difficult ... Those who have taken authority as the truth,
      Rather than truth as the authority."
      - Gerald Massey

      "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."
      - Jiddu Krishnamurti

  • #97679

    Pam2
    Donor
    • Total Posts: 3,879
    @pam2

    I’m already not flying for various reasons. Good to know it helps.

  • #97681

    retired liberal
    Donor
    • Total Posts: 1,720
    @retiredliberal

    Well, there goes the Hawaii vacation.
    No buses. No cars. No trains. Ships take longer the allowed vacation time.
    I guess we just allow the Hawaiian economy to collapse and the people there to starve.

    We are an arrogant species, believing our fantasy based "facts" are better than the other person's fake facts.

    If you are wrong, it will be because you are not cynical enough.

    Both major political parties are special interest groups enabling each other for power and money, at the expense of the people they no longer properly serve…

    • #97682

      ThouArtThat
      Member
      • Total Posts: 1,700
      @thouartthat

      @retiredliberal

      Hi rt,

      Seems like a really good excuse to adopt the European practice of 4 weeks annual vacation.

      Maybe Bernie can add this to his list of reforms as part of the political revolution.

      TAT

      "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
      - John F. Kennedy

      "In a Time of Universal Deceit - Telling the Truth Is a Revolutionary Act."
      - George Orwell

      "They must find it difficult ... Those who have taken authority as the truth,
      Rather than truth as the authority."
      - Gerald Massey

      "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."
      - Jiddu Krishnamurti

  • #97687

    emme
    Donor
    • Total Posts: 242
    @emme

    The impact of flying is one of the reasons I find it difficult to enjoy entertainment.  People in that business are constantly flying, sometimes commercial, sometimes private  jets.  The carbon foot print of entertainment–movies, TV shows, concerts–is beyond my ability to  calculate. I love music, but when you walk by a concert venue and count 12 big rigs and four massive buses, it’s sobering.  Maybe time to give more support to local musicians and performers.

    And then there are those who lecture the rest of us about our resource wastefulness, while using more in one flight than I do all year. Since I ignore celebrity culture, I thankfully miss most of it.

    • #97690

      ThouArtThat
      Member
      • Total Posts: 1,700
      @thouartthat

      @emme

      Hi emme,

      Spot on – and add to your list sporting events in the US and globally.  Just imagine how much CO2 the NFL, NBA, and baseball leagues add to the atmosphere each year.  The number must be staggering.  Eventually, all life will become local again as Climate Change slowly moderates all these behaviors.  Sad that we cannot moderate ourselves.

      TAT

      "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
      - John F. Kennedy

      "In a Time of Universal Deceit - Telling the Truth Is a Revolutionary Act."
      - George Orwell

      "They must find it difficult ... Those who have taken authority as the truth,
      Rather than truth as the authority."
      - Gerald Massey

      "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."
      - Jiddu Krishnamurti

  • #97696

    David the Gnome
    Member
    • Total Posts: 1,565
    @davidthegnome

    Hmm.  The last time I flew anywhere… home (maine) from California when I was… hmm.  26?  Some nine years ago or so.  There are probably very few people I personally know (if any) who fly more than once or twice a year.

    I’ve flown maybe four times in my life.  Honestly, I dont like it.  My ears pop, the seats suck, the food and drink is way too expensive – and its uncomfortable in general.  All on top of the ticket price, dealing with the TSA and so on and so forth.

    I can see the necessity for some though.  Heads of state, diplomats, military, medical professionals, etc.  I dont think people will ever stop flying – but we can limit flights a whole hell of a lot.

    Ultimately, not flying isnt a feasible solution.  We need an alternate method or fuel source instead.  I dont know about solar powered airplanes, but there must be something we can do.

    Given the state of the climate, I do think we need to limit flights to those necessary.  It is going to damage the economy – but not as much as if we do nothing.

    Is a middle ground even possible though?  The people who write the legislation and the people who give them money dont seem to give a shit, so…

    I guess we had better start by electing better people.

    • #97860

      ThouArtThat
      Member
      • Total Posts: 1,700
      @thouartthat

      @davidthegnome

      Hi david,

      The only context in which commercial jet aviation makes sense today is in keeping business as usual neo-liberal economics alive in service of the 1%.  Tell me in what context does 225,000 flights per day make sense?

      Wednesday was one of the busiest recorded days in aviation history — and it’s going to keep getting busier

      The answer would and could only be activity that maintains and services the Global Company Store aka capitalism.

      The fact of the matter is that humans lived without aviation before and humans can live without aviation again.

      TAT

      "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
      - John F. Kennedy

      "In a Time of Universal Deceit - Telling the Truth Is a Revolutionary Act."
      - George Orwell

      "They must find it difficult ... Those who have taken authority as the truth,
      Rather than truth as the authority."
      - Gerald Massey

      "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."
      - Jiddu Krishnamurti

  • #97702

    incognito
    Donor
    • Total Posts: 2,381
    @incognito

    One more reason never to fly again. I already made that decision in 2016 when I was plucked out of my cattle line at O’Hare only to be x-rayed and chemical tested for explosives. I swore then, I would never give those assholes the opportunity to ever do that to me again. I will never fly again. It had become a PIA anyway. Nothing fun or relaxing about it anymore.

    I’ll just drive my old, old 2006 Prius everywhere I go. It has only 56,000 miles on it, so there’s many years left on it. And it’s much more relaxing than flying and I buy gas about once every 3-4 months. Only 10-11 gallons worth. :)

  • #97874

    RufusTFirefly
    Member
    • Total Posts: 1,396
    @rufustfirefly

    I’m not surprised when articles like this trigger hostile, overly defensive responses. (I’m car-less and vegetarian, but I never scold friends and family who aren’t. I hope my actions speak louder than any words.)

    Although I don’t dispute the article’s conclusion, I think we need to reframe some messages so they continue to acknowledge the harsh reality without activating what psychologists call loss aversion. People who feel defensive or despair rarely accomplish anything of long-lasting value. Instead, they push back or are paralyzed.

    In the same vein, it’s far less compelling to run against Trump than it is to run with a vision for the future. We saw this writ large in 2016 and unfortunately many Democrats still haven’t learned this lesson.

    Once again, I’m definitely not in denial, and I literally walk the walk, but I hope we’ll see more articles that say something like “The time has come to develop and implement exciting new carbon-neutral transportation solutions.”

    This is what’s great about the Green New Deal. It throws down the gauntlet and challenges Americans in a way that we haven’t been challenged since Kennedy set a goal of going to the Moon. Is it any wonder that the Fox and other fossil fuel apologist networks tried to twist the GND into “They’re trying to take your hamburgers away!”

     

    • #97950

      ThouArtThat
      Member
      • Total Posts: 1,700
      @thouartthat

      @rufustfirefly

      Hi rufus,

      When I was a child I believed in foolish things like unicorns, Santa Claus and pots of gold under every rainbow.  As an adult, I know better that harsh realities must be faced eventually.  In that regard, the GND cannot overcome the laws the physics and atmospheric chemistry.  Sooner or later limitations must and will be faced.  The sooner that is so the sooner we can move on with real climate mitigation initiates like reducing global consumption and human population i.e. living within and not overtaxing our habitat, planet earth.  Until such time we are merely whistling past the graveyard.

      TAT

      "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
      - John F. Kennedy

      "In a Time of Universal Deceit - Telling the Truth Is a Revolutionary Act."
      - George Orwell

      "They must find it difficult ... Those who have taken authority as the truth,
      Rather than truth as the authority."
      - Gerald Massey

      "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."
      - Jiddu Krishnamurti

  • #97877

    jerry611
    Member
    • Total Posts: 537
    @jerry611

    Yeah…good luck with that.

    So much of not only our economy but the global economy relies on air travel.

    • #97947

      ThouArtThat
      Member
      • Total Posts: 1,700
      @thouartthat

      @jerry611

      Hi jerry,

      If that attitude prevails then the outcome is foretold with billions dead as crops fail, seas rise and extreme weather ravages and plunders the planet.

      TAT

      "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
      - John F. Kennedy

      "In a Time of Universal Deceit - Telling the Truth Is a Revolutionary Act."
      - George Orwell

      "They must find it difficult ... Those who have taken authority as the truth,
      Rather than truth as the authority."
      - Gerald Massey

      "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."
      - Jiddu Krishnamurti

  • #97942

    David the Gnome
    Member
    • Total Posts: 1,565
    @davidthegnome

    @thouartthat

    You can convince me – and those like me not to fly.  You wont convince those who depend on it though – not without some kind of compromise.  We could stop many, perhaps even most flights if it was understood as a temporary measure until we develop an alternate source.

    The truly powerful – the oligarchs and their pet politicians… do not give a shit.  If we could build some type of global consensus that it was an absolute necessity, though….

    The price of flying would become even more prohibitive, protestors would engage, perhaps even airline employees and TSA members.  If they believed.

    Eventually it would be a situation of many fewer flights.

    You have a point about being able to survive without it… but tell that to someone who needs transport for immediate, emergency medical reasons.

    Just some thoughts.  I cant even imagine a scenario in which the entire human race abandoned flight.  Perhaps a dystopian future in which the tech no longer existed.  I guess that’s a possibility too though

    • #97945

      ThouArtThat
      Member
      • Total Posts: 1,700
      @thouartthat

      @davidthegnome

      Hi david,

      Humanity either voluntarily reduces consumption which reduces CO2 emissions or nature will force our hand.

      What part of billions dying as crops falter and weather conspires to kill you do people not understand?

      Oh wait – we can’t be bothered if it means giving up a luxury now perceived and expected as a right.

      TAT

      "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
      - John F. Kennedy

      "In a Time of Universal Deceit - Telling the Truth Is a Revolutionary Act."
      - George Orwell

      "They must find it difficult ... Those who have taken authority as the truth,
      Rather than truth as the authority."
      - Gerald Massey

      "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."
      - Jiddu Krishnamurti

  • #97948

    davidpdx
    Member
    • Total Posts: 286
    @davidpdx

    Unfortunately as someone who lives in a foreign country and visits my mom every year, eliminating air travel is impossible. I also love to travel. We need to be talking about technology to replace jet engines that use fossil fuel and come up with an alternative. Most people will not change their travel behavior.

    American living abroad in South Korea and a proud progressive.

    • #97952

      ThouArtThat
      Member
      • Total Posts: 1,700
      @thouartthat

      @davidpdx

      Hi david,

      Wishful thinking simply because there are no known alternatives to Jet-A (kerosene) that have comparable energy densities.  That is why fossil fuels are so problematic and beneficial.  They pack a hell of a lot energy in a small space and weight.  And despite all the hype, there is no known battery technologies with similar energy densities that will support large commercial airliners.

      Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_density#Energy_density_in_energy_storage_and_in_fuel

      "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
      - John F. Kennedy

      "In a Time of Universal Deceit - Telling the Truth Is a Revolutionary Act."
      - George Orwell

      "They must find it difficult ... Those who have taken authority as the truth,
      Rather than truth as the authority."
      - Gerald Massey

      "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."
      - Jiddu Krishnamurti

      • #97965

        Gryneos
        Member
        • Total Posts: 573
        @gryneos

        That would all be moot if we could ever get the same level of attention and funding for Polywell Fusion as has been focused on magnetic confinement and laser forms of fusion (none of which have ever reached net-energy, either.)

        Here’s a couple of links to peruse for anyone who wants to learn about the technology. The first one is a quick read on why it hasn’t been fully developed by now:

        https://www.quora.com/Why-is-a-polywell-fusion-reactor-not-able-to-reach-net-energy-generation?share=1

        http://www.strout.net/info/science/polywell/index.html

        or just search for it. Wikipedia seems to have a decent audience who keep the “can’t be done!!1!” cries to a minimum.

        The original methods of creating fusion from deuterium or tritium (heavy water) still rely on them generating enough heat to boil water for steam. Like fission, it’s an expensive way to boil water. There’s also a high release of neutrons, which requires heavy shielding.

        Polywell fuses a type of boron so that there is no release of neutrons, and the energy produced is captured by something called direct energy conversion. It doesn’t currently have a high efficiency (48%) but it does have a theoretical efficiency as high as 90%. That seems like something work researching and achieving to me :-)

        ‘Cause that's what it would be. "Tea and cake or death? Tea and cake or death? Tea and cake or death!" Students with beards, (mimes demonstrating with picket signs) "Tea and cake or death! Tea and cake or death! Little Red Cookbook! Little Red Cookbook!" ‘Cause, "Cake or death?" That's a pretty easy question. Anyone could answer that.

    • #97956

      Gryneos
      Member
      • Total Posts: 573
      @gryneos

      People often forget (or just didn’t know) that the second letter in N.A.S.A. is Aeronautics. And they have been researching alternatives to jet-based aircraft for a while. Here’s their page on Electric Aircraft, for example:

      Armstrong Flight Research Center – Electric Propulsion

      ‘Cause that's what it would be. "Tea and cake or death? Tea and cake or death? Tea and cake or death!" Students with beards, (mimes demonstrating with picket signs) "Tea and cake or death! Tea and cake or death! Little Red Cookbook! Little Red Cookbook!" ‘Cause, "Cake or death?" That's a pretty easy question. Anyone could answer that.

  • #97951

    Gryneos
    Member
    • Total Posts: 573
    @gryneos

    telecommute
    Telecommute
    Telecommute
    TELECOMMUTE!

    I push and push and push this, and all I ever get is pushback or worse, *crickets*

    The most common recent pushback is on security, as if it just can’t be done securely.

    Really? So all of those big businesses out there are without any decent security simply because they have offices in multiple cities?

    I understand that not everyone is psychologically right for working from home. So, rent satellite offices where people can use mass transit, walk, or don’t have to drive far. If big businesses can secure things between cities, then they can easily do so within one city.

    The majority of cubicle/office type jobs don’t need someone physically at a desk to get the same work done. And if the other problem are micro-managers with the antiquated mindset that if they can’t see the person at their desk to prove that they are working, then re-educate them or get rid of them.

    ‘Cause that's what it would be. "Tea and cake or death? Tea and cake or death? Tea and cake or death!" Students with beards, (mimes demonstrating with picket signs) "Tea and cake or death! Tea and cake or death! Little Red Cookbook! Little Red Cookbook!" ‘Cause, "Cake or death?" That's a pretty easy question. Anyone could answer that.

    • #97955

      ThouArtThat
      Member
      • Total Posts: 1,700
      @thouartthat

      @gryneos

      Hi gryneos,

      Yep – that is one very, very good solution and probably where most business interaction is headed with transportation only used when physical goods have to actually be moved.  And you are correct, security is a distracting argument for those that don’t want to change.

      TAT

      "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
      - John F. Kennedy

      "In a Time of Universal Deceit - Telling the Truth Is a Revolutionary Act."
      - George Orwell

      "They must find it difficult ... Those who have taken authority as the truth,
      Rather than truth as the authority."
      - Gerald Massey

      "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."
      - Jiddu Krishnamurti

      • #97957

        jerry611
        Member
        • Total Posts: 537
        @jerry611

        People are going to die if you eliminate air travel. It’s not just for the 1% and celebs jetting around the world. We use airplanes to transport food, aid, and medical supplies to 3rd world countries. You will have millions dying of famine.

        Also the fact that you have so much immigration now that families are splitting up and moving to different regions of the world. They are going to want to see each other again at some point.

    • #97972

      Ohio Barbarian
      Moderator
      • Total Posts: 9,001
      @ohiobarbarian

      @gryneos , that is a great observation about management resistance to telecommuting. The real reason is to exercise direct power and control over the employees, not security or even work product. If I were allowed to telecommute, I could easily work four out of five days a week from home. But noooo…

      We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.--Franklin Delano Roosevelt

      With Bernie Sanders, we have the receipts. --Nina Turner

      • #98039

        Gryneos
        Member
        • Total Posts: 573
        @gryneos

        @ohiobarbarian Yeah, what can anyone say about micro-managers, other than that their mindset needs to be re-educated into oblivion.

        ‘Cause that's what it would be. "Tea and cake or death? Tea and cake or death? Tea and cake or death!" Students with beards, (mimes demonstrating with picket signs) "Tea and cake or death! Tea and cake or death! Little Red Cookbook! Little Red Cookbook!" ‘Cause, "Cake or death?" That's a pretty easy question. Anyone could answer that.

  • #97969

    Ohio Barbarian
    Moderator
    • Total Posts: 9,001
    @ohiobarbarian

    Eliminating Air Force and Navy jet flyovers of sporting events would be a nice start, and would definitely reduce carbon emissions by a far greater amount than would happen if I gave up my very infrequent air travel(I hate airport security) forever. Eliminate imperial American wars of aggression, and we’ve done even more in that regard.

    We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.--Franklin Delano Roosevelt

    With Bernie Sanders, we have the receipts. --Nina Turner

  • #97975

    Cold Mountain Trail
    Member
    • Total Posts: 5,674
    @coldmountaintrail

    “the fact that you have so much immigration now that families are splitting up and moving to different regions of the world. They are going to want to see each other again at some point.”

    families have been moving around for a very long time, usually in search of more resources or better economic opportunity.

    My own family were immigrants in the 1800s, and they never saw their family in the old country again.  Nor did the branches that settled in different parts of the US ever see each other again.

    Nor will any of us ever see our families again if the catastrophes alleged to be coming because of climate change kick in.

    It might be better to start imagining how all people could have a safe & comfortable life in place.

  • #98304

    David the Gnome
    Member
    • Total Posts: 1,565
    @davidthegnome

    @thouartthat

    I get it.  If we do not take certain actions, billions will die.  If the world and it’s people stopped all air travel, abandoned personal vehicles, hell, even just stopped subsidizing fossil fuels.. if the 1% could be made to reduce their lifestyles, if…

    A whole lot of if – and the damage is mostly done already.  We do not have time.  Honestly – I am convinced that billions of us ARE going to die before humanity truly takes action.

    It is one thing to point out floods, hurricanes, wildfires, food and water shortages – the displacement of millions.  It is another to see it up close.

    Many still do not believe, or care if they do.  They think they will be safe.  I know that safety is an illusion.  Most of us will die before that better world arrives.  It is not what I, or you, or anyone among us wants, but it is what is going to happen.

    Say you convinced every literate person on earth to read your article… how many do you think would take action?  Or even care?

    Global warming and all the associated destruction is seen by most as a coming disaster, maybe in fifty or one hundred years, but surely not in our lifetimes, right?

    They dont get that it is already happening.  That we are already dying.

    It’s not ignorance on my part, I dont think.  It’s the acceptance of the inevitable.  The sun will rise and fall… and human civilization has had it.

    It’s a question of when, no longer if.  Maybe we can do something to cushion the blow, but we cannot stop it.  Perhaps, after billions die, we will abandon fossil fuels… but not before.

    We had every opportunity to change as a sentient race… every opportunity to listen to the right people, to care.  Some did.  Most didnt.

    We are going out, as predicted, with a whimper.

    Perhaps we will get lucky and it will happen quickly – but i doubt it.

    Stop flying?  For poor people like me, already done.  I can’t afford to anyway.  For the rich?  Never.  They own the world – and they dont give a shit what either of us think.

    Frankly I am surprised we are still free to even talk about it in any fashion.  That wont last either.

  • #98728

    mindpilot
    Member
    • Total Posts: 236
    @mindpilot

    I work in a place where the technologies to make things like electric airplanes are developed. Chatting recently with one of the engineers about this very thing, he felt that, although the long haul airliners will be gas-powered for some time, we’re probably less than five years from having a viable electric airplane to replace the regional jets.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think we have that much time.

    Slavery was the legal fiction that people can be property.
    Corporatism is the legal fiction that property can be people.

    "If you believe in god, I'm probably smarter than you." -- Tom Leykis

  • #99074

    davidpdx
    Member
    • Total Posts: 286
    @davidpdx

    I still think telling people to eliminate air travel is going to far (no pun intended). Many airlines offer offsets against the carbon footprint of the flight you are taking. You pay more and that money goes toward an environmental cause.

    American living abroad in South Korea and a proud progressive.

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