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  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perseffect View Post
    I’m really curious, what other environmental impact(s) in the past have now been forgotten?

    The panic over an impending ice age and glaciers advancing across North America back in the '70s is the most memorable, but moral panics over video games, saturated fat, etc. are almost innumerable. The MMR/autism panic is still dangling, but is on it's way to the same place. And not even touching on the lunacy brought on by full moons or eclipses...

  2. #32
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    I must respectfully disagree. Over time, the common wisdom on ice ages and MMR/autism (to take two of your examples) has been updated.... by scientific study. And there is now irrefutable proof that the climate is changing, in a way that will have dire impacts on most/all of humanity.

    I must say I am perplexed by the general acceptance of technology (say, air travel) that was developed using the scientific method, or medical treatments and procedures (modern drugs; dialysis, laparoscopic surgery) that require years of training as well as R&D; yet at the same time people will question a global scientific consensus on how we as a species have changed the atmosphere in a way that we cannot easily reverse. The earth is not flat, and it is getting warmer.

    Quote Originally Posted by imperator View Post
    The panic over an impending ice age and glaciers advancing across North America back in the '70s is the most memorable, but moral panics over video games, saturated fat, etc. are almost innumerable. The MMR/autism panic is still dangling, but is on it's way to the same place. And not even touching on the lunacy brought on by full moons or eclipses...

  3. #33
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    I found something out today! (well, two things). One is that the average person in my municipality has a little under 3 tonnes of carbon emissions (I'm not sure that's the right term) per YEAR, while a flight for me to New York is about 2.5 tonnes (to Aus was 3.5tonnes). So basically flying to either of those destinations would be like driving a normal amount for a year plus everything else. So that's a lot! The second thing I found out is that emission at high altitude contributes more to global warming so that although airline emissions are 2-3% of carbon they contribute 10-12% of warming. Which is also a lot!

    I should say I have travelled and flown SO MUCH in my life -- long distances and many times a year, often. And I have to fly to see my family, or they have to fly to see me. I'm not ready to cut myself off yet :-(

    What I am *totally* ready for are alternative non-climate-destroying methods of long distance transport!!! Meanwhile, when and where possible: public transit, bike, and foot plus videoconferencing...


    @imperator (speaking of lunacy (which IMO climate change isn't) -- you may enjoy the long discussion about a movie that a bunch of people remember but which doesn't exist! https://www.newstatesman.com/science...-think-it-does ) BTW I hear what you are saying about fads. I believe in alternative viewpoints. I just think the evidence on climate change -climate emergency really - is pretty overwhelming.
    Last edited by ejvc; 05-17-2019 at 09:16 AM.

  4. #34
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    If we shouldn’t be flying, should we really be biking? Airplanes take fuel, food production requires fuel, and our bodies need food fuel to bike. A calorie is converted energy and has waste products whether in a lab, in ourselves on a cellular level, or in an internal combustion engine. A gallon of fuel is 35,000 kcal. Biking takes about 50 kcal/mile. Globally we waste 30% of food, US is about 40%. To net 50 kcal of consumed food with 40% waste, 83 calories is required to be produced. Average plant-based foods require 10 kcal per 1 kcal of food produced. So to bike 1 mile, we need 830 kcal of energy to produce the consumed food fuel to power the bike.
    In a car getting 42 mpg carrying 1 person, that is a net equal of calories from food burned biking versus driving.
    $350 plane ticket NYC to LA. About 2500 air miles. Average jet fuel price about $2.10. Airlines spend about 25% of total budget on fuel. For simplicity’s sake, consider 25% of the plane ticket cost divided by fuel price to be gallons per passenger equals 41.5 gallons. 41.5 gallons times 35,000 kcal per gallon equals 1.45 million kcal or 581 kcal per mile. (almost identical to the above biking scenario is if all food waste was eliminated, 592 kcal/mile biked) (Looking at fuel used per passenger air mile, this fuel per passenger lined up with other means of calculating fuel use)
    So should we be going anywhere by any means? Should we not exercise because it is a waste of energy? Should we not buy anything because it empowers the seller with our money to use energy and create its pollutants? Rationally thinking, if I gave up not biking 2500 miles, I could fly 3600 miles because that is the same fuel used with same carbon footprint in theory making it a carbon neutral choice. They say Americans don’t get enough exercise, maybe we subconsciously are trying to be carbon neutral.

  5. #35
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    I guess you mean it as a joke? Excuse me, but I don't find it funny. Consensus is that we are heading towards catastrophe. In our children's lifetime. My children's lifetime. My little John and my little Charlotte. No food and sinking cities style. No, polluting more and flying more are not the answer. No, I really don't think it's funny. I think it's terrible and tragic and wrong and evil. And I would like to stop it.

  6. #36
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    Hey again everyone. As we mentioned earlier, this is a super important and potentially very intense topics. There’s going to be differing opinions and argument and discussion around this, but so far, we think that space needs to be made in this case for that — sure, this is just a bag forum, but this is something that impacts all of us. Share what’s going on for you and at the same time understand that everyone here is contributing what they think is best. When we can talk about this even if we disagree — which we see is happening here — this is good, this is important. Ultimately, we're all in the same boat.

    Yours in service,
    FMK
    We're here to post friendly reminders of the TOM BIHN Forums Rules and Guidelines.

  7. #37
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    Only in the end of my statement about Americans not exercising was meant to be a joke. I am not an eloquent writer, but the posited statement "we should not be flying" infers carbon pollution as the source reason. I am not, nor never ever was debating about climate changes. I posed basic facts following the carbon's use thus its emissions to demonstrate the singular comment "if we shouldn't be flying, we shouldn't be biking either." Either the hydrocarbons burned in engines, the carbon oxidized in our life processes, the carbon released from sedimentary rocks all contribute the carbon emissions. I meant to show if someone follows the carbon, the alternate may or may not be better leading to the position that maybe doing neither is the best thing to do.

    "I believe none of what I hear and half of what I see" as Ben Franklin had written and I must prove to myself anything is as it is perceived. Freakonomics is the best process of explanation as sometimes what we are told to believe doesn't hold true. The disruption in our thinking can give us pause.

    My point can be summarized in this:

    Food is very carbon expensive fuel (hydrocarbons to cultivate, transport, store, carbon emissions from soil tillage and composting).
    When humans do anything, we expend this food energy (carbon).
    We can not deny the all the carbon used to make the food to power the bike as it is not much different than the fuel to fly the airplane.

  8. #38
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    Hi folks,

    I just wanted to offer another perspective.

    1) We can all probably do something to reduce our carbon footprint.

    Whether that's bringing reusable bags from home when we go shopping, eating a plant-based diet, opting to walk rather than drive, operating an electric rather than a gasoline powered vehicle, taking public transportation rather than driving, composting, recycling, or growing vegetables. I think we would all agree that many if not all such choices will help the situation to varying degrees. At the least, they won't hurt .

    What each of us is able to do in a practical fashion will vary, and I think that's okay.

    We each have different lives with different responsibilities, and the choices we will be able to make will vary. If I have a small yard, I might only be able to have a 4x8 vegetable bed while someone with more land may be able to have a larger garden. Another person who lives in a condo may only be able to grow some herbs or tomatoes or something in planters. And that's okay.

    You may be able to walk to the market to pick up groceries, whereas the responsibilities and demands on someone else's schedule may not permit them the time to take that time. And that's okay.

    2) We all have a sphere of influence -- we touch the lives of everyone who we have the privilege of coming in contact with, and those people also touch our lives. The choices we make set an example that speaks rather powerfully. I often say to my son -- be an example of the behavior you want others to embrace. We make an impact with the choices we make with regard to how we interact with the environment, and those choices also impact those around us.

    I forget sometimes the power of influence. In the smallest things we do, we are setting an example. Whether it's the products we use -- walking into a cafe with a given bag or the laptop we use, we are setting an example. With the tone we use, with the words we choose, we are setting an example.

    Someone was late to arrive to an event the other day. He was scheduled to go on later, but because the schedule was changed, his part got moved up. This person apologized for being late, and a dear friend who is the coordinator responded so sweetly -- saying that life presents to us situations so that we may learn. So these are just opportunities to learn. Now, it's up to us if we want to take what we learned and apply it.

    The tone she used and the words she chose were just so sweet. She could just as easily said something else or used a more abrasive tone. But I think her words and tone had more of an impact on the situation. Not only that, but it also stuck with me, and I imagine with others who were present -- and it will hopefully shape the way that I interact with others.
    -m

  9. #39
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    @organicfarmer -- I mistook your message, for which I'm sorry. However I think there is ample evidence that the kind of pollution generated from flying in an airplane versus (say) biking or walking to the same destination is more harmful to the climate, just as me driving to work every day is more harmful than me biking to work. I didn't arrive at this conclusion through reasoning about carbon, but through listening to the warnings sounded by climate scientists and the advice of activists. This kind of evidence and advice is pretty widely available.

    Edited to add: https://davidsuzuki.org/what-you-can...limate-change/

    @maverick -- it seems so small but being an example has big effects. Here's a guy writing his PhD about this: https://theconversation.com/climate-...ference-115169 -- interesting article.

    Meanwhile my corporate travel agency at my university has actually managed to book me to get to my next conference in Paris by train! I leave middle Sweden at 08.10, sleep on a night train between Hamburg and Offenburg, and arrive in Paris at 09.35 the next morning! Unfortunately the way back takes much longer since the train schedules aren't co-ordinated :-( But hopefully the train operators will get their s**t together and realise they need to lay in more sleeper trains and better connections. A sleeper between Hamburg and Copenhagen would be something valuable on any train trip to Europe for me, since typically I will go south through Denmark unless I am going to Eastern Europe or the UK.
    Last edited by ejvc; 05-22-2019 at 11:11 AM.

  10. #40
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    @ejvc - No worries. I find it hard to be concise while getting including a tone with my facts. About facts, I was over simplified at face value and try hard to get people to realize food energy has a huge carbon footprint itself. Not to forget the amount of food that has been transported by air.

    As the moderators twice mentioned in the thread it is a complex and emotional topic. Civil conversation now is better than the uncomfortable conversations that will be had when the rule of law dictates to us what we must do.

    Lastly, whether it is not flying, not traveling, eating plant based diets, going solar or off grid, or any green solution, the problem I see is those are substitutions, not cures. They hit the wrong bullseye. If we want to reduce the carbon impact as measured by tons of carbon emissions, the graph to look at is the per capita carbon emissions by country. The scary, uncomfortable graph data shows is the highest correlation to lower carbon emission is to be an impoverished country. That is scary to me. I have yet to see a solution that solves carbon emissions and retain an economy that allows choices and freedoms.

  11. #41
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    Is anyone aware of Project Drawdown? It's a ranked list of good solutions to combat climate change. And like many people are getting at here, it's really a mix of both industrial-scale (governmentally mandated, perhaps) changes — like refrigerant management, #1, and on-shore wind turbines, #2 — and relatively more individualistic changes, like reduced food waste and a plant-rich diet (#3 and #4). Worth a look: https://www.drawdown.org/solutions

    For what it's worth — and I hadn't looked at the airplanes section until now, which is already not among the highest on the list — it is focused on technological improvements for fuel efficiency, not necessarily traveling less.

    However, it is noted on the plant-rich diet page: "As Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh has said, making the transition to a plant-based diet may be the most effective way an individual can stop climate change."

    [It's something I'm still working on, personally, but there are a lot of great veg options out there nowadays!]
    Last edited by toupee; 05-22-2019 at 12:45 PM.

  12. #42
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    Hi, thanks for that link to a very interesting project! As you say the aviation element is focused on improving aviation; there's also a "telepresence" element which is about reduction of business trips.

    Our local municipality has just published its climate-change strategy paper for public comment. I will be looking for stuff on food-waste reduction and encouraging plant-rich diets (veg subsidies?). The newspaper reports that transport accounts for 45% of emissions in the local area and agricultural emissions for nearly as much. They also say solutions for the agricultural sector are difficult because they are practically farm-by-farm solutions. but anyway I'll be looking for solutions that focus on encouraging in-town shopping (instead of the giant malls you have to drive to). I'm also interested in solutions that make car-free life more practicable, such as some kind of services for the collection of larger waste (currently you have to drive to a recycling centre -- and you know it's pretty hard to take an old mattress or a tree branch you've cut on a bike), and repair advice services so more people can make the stuff they have last!

  13. #43
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    Thanks for that info toupee! That's fascinating and such a wealth of information. Definitely going to be sharing that around and encouraging more people to educate themselves.

  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by ejvc View Post
    ...there's also a "telepresence" element which is about reduction of business trips. ...
    Working in such an industry, I have noticed a large upswing in 'remote' work. To the extent that I've gone from flying to a client site every week, down to travelling only a few times a year, usually just for kick-off and go-lives. It's a win for the environment, and it's a win for my family life, but those are hardly the reasons most businesses are choosing to do so. For them, it's just basic greed.

    Budget = hours + expenses

    So, if they reduce the expenses, by enabling remote work, they get more hours for the same budget. Simple, basic greed. But hey, it's still a win for everyone. My kids love having me home every day, instead of only seeing me on weekends. And as an even added bonus for the environment, since I work out of my house when I'm working remote, I don't even drive. So there's even that much less emissions.

  15. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by ejvc View Post
    I'm also interested in solutions that make car-free life more practicable, such as some kind of services for the collection of larger waste (currently you have to drive to a recycling centre -- and you know it's pretty hard to take an old mattress or a tree branch you've cut on a bike), and repair advice services so more people can make the stuff they have last!
    I am happy that my town just added a free pickup service for mattress recycling! Conveniently enough it was announced at a time when I knew I was going to need to recycle a mattress soon. I was really happy that I didn't have to figure out what to do with the mattress and then rent a car to take it somewhere--I just made an appointment, put the mattress outside on the appointed day, and it disappeared right on schedule.

    I think my town partnered with an existing charity for the mattress recycling service. I got the impression that the charity usually charges a fee for pickup and that my town is covering the fee for its residents.

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