Fly less, fly light

February 27, 2009

I used to love to fly, but it’s not as much fun as it used to be. Why? Because I’ve learned that from an environmental perspective, flying is one of the worst ways to travel. A round trip from my local airport to Toronto (1:45 each way in a small jet) produces about 450 kg of CO2 emissions – nearly half a tonne! (Note: this is the average of 4 sources)

What to do? The BEST solution is to avoid flying altogether by using videoconferencing, teleconferencing and webinars when possible; and vacationing near home.

And when flying is unavoidable, fly light: critically assess every ounce you take with you, because every ounce has a carbon footprint in the air. Plus buy a carbon offset to counterbalance the impact of your flight – a small premium for the health of the planet.

You probably already know how terrible stop-and-go-driving is for gas mileage; it’s the main reason why fuel economy ratings are much worse for city driving than for highway. A lot of energy goes into speeding up, and then it’s lost and wasted when we hit the brakes.

The same thing applies to the trucks that pass by your home to collect garbage and recycling. A stop at every driveway means an awful lot of fuel spent on stop-and-go driving.

So what if… What if we all got together with our neighbours, and did one small thing: agreed to put out our trash and recycling at the same spot each week? We could cut the number of stops for the truck by half, or even more. Way less fuel burned, way less emissions, better air for all, a happier trash collector. No financial payback for us, but a warm fuzzy feeling for doing a good thing.

Why not talk to a neighbour, and try it this week – and every week?

In the news

Churches the world over can be tremendous catalysts for change, and some leaders are speaking out: an Alberta bishop has dared to publicly challenge the development of the tarsands, and the head of the Anglican Church in New Zealand has called on church leaders worldwide to show moral leadership on global warming. The Vatican is going green too, with a huge solar installation completed in November.