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  1. #1
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    We should not be flying

    Hi, I love bags and travelling and everything, but we should not be flying any more, the world is in crisis. I know many people feel they have to fly and probably you all will hate me but -- we have to do better. Somehow, we have to do better. We owe it to our kids, and to the living things that surround us. One transatlantic flight has the same emissions as driving a car for a whole year. As I see everyone planning their holidays I just want to shout this all the time. I know public transport sucks and the train infrastructure is degraded or nonexistent in some parts of the world. But still, we have to do better.

  2. #2
    Forum Member Rei's Avatar
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    I agree and disagree with you,

    not flying will definitelly help our planet,

    but I won't do that, if flying can be avoid for a reasonable cost (in time) I will avoid flying (thankfully trains are pretty good in Europe), if I can optimize flying (time and distance of travels) I will do that (like I intend to flying to Laos for holidays with friend then "walk" to Cambodgia to visit family). But I can't ditch flying even if I don't need it for work.

    But I totally agree to keep in mind that flying cost a lot, I keep in mind and try my best to not overuse it
    just a Bihnion here

  3. #3
    Forum Member Perseffect's Avatar
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    We should not be flying

    This is definitely going to be a contentious topic as it gets right to personal choices people make.

    As a frequent flyer, both work and personal, I cannot preach about not flying. However I completely agree that somehow we must do better.

    The previous poster suggested minimising flights (always good) but could not stop flying. I disagree. We all have a choice to fly or not to fly but we balance that choice against all the other considerations such as importance of the trip, cost, time, loss if I donít go etc etc.

    But at the end of the day, we live in a free society that allows us to choose. There is seldom a truly absolute reason I must fly; my life depends on it, only a choice to or not to. Granted this could mean not going away for vacation if no other travel options exist to that preferred location. But again thatís free will and a choice we all make.

    I welcome the OPs call to action to do better on travel that has significant environmental impact. I hope I can do better.


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    Last edited by Perseffect; 05-14-2019 at 10:45 AM.
    Aeronaut 45 (Navy/NWS), A30 (Black/Island), Tristar (Steel/Island), Western Flyer (Steel/Island), Pilot (Steel/Island), Synapse 25 (Mars Red/NWS), Synapse 19 (Black/Island) & (Burnt Orange/Steel), Ristretto 11 (Navy/Steel), Small Cafe Bag (Navy/Steel) & (Mars Red/Dawn), Daylight Briefcase (Cloud/Dawn), Side Kick (Mars Red/Dawn), Travel Cubelet (Mars Red)

  4. #4
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    I don't disagree with the fact that planes produce a lot of pollution, but at the same time, I'm not so sure it's the worst option. Let's ballpark an average of 1000 people (to make it simpler) heading out on a flight. Now, lets assume that flights didn't exist, and that same 1000 people drove instead. Give or take for various family configurations, I'd estimate that probably equates to 500 or so cars on the road (maybe 400 on the low end, I'm thinking higher from the standpoint of a work-based traveler who would be single driver on the road if I have to drive that same distance.) Now, the part I don't know, does 500 cars on the road, for say the 1900 kms, 18.5 hours it would have taken me to drive create more or less pollution than the 2.5 hour flight of a 737 going the same distance?

    Really, in order to create less pollution, we should be concentrating more on reducing our demand on daily day-to-day vehicle usage. From what I remember of various European locations I've visited, you over there don't really have the sprawling suburbia we do here, with millions and millions of vehicles on the road driving into work daily (without carpooling in a lot of cases) because there really isn't viable alternatives. I'm thankful enough that I don't have to drive to work. I'm either gone to a client site (usually by flying there yes) or if I'm not a client site, I'm just at home. But my kind of work represents a minority of the workers out there. Most people need to get to work, and they will only use the way that's most convenient to them. When you take a city like Toronto, the majority of the workers in the city live well outside the city, like 100 kms outside, because they can't afford housing anywhere close to the city. These people are then forced into driving 2-3, sometimes 4 hours a day, commuting back and forth because it's the most convenient, despite it still being the pain that it is.

    The cities I remember seeing in Europe on the other hand, were compact, tightly integrated places that were easy to get around without a vehicle. Here, if I wanted to say, go get some groceries without a vehicle, it would be a 2 hour walk (one way). There, you can pop down to the local market in several minutes.

  5. #5
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    I agree with Kaadk- in many places in North America, and some other areas of the world, driving is basically the only option, which needs to change but will take a while to do so. My area (DC) is very similar to the GTA- people drive in from up to 2-3 hours away because public transport isn't an option, and for those that live closer in, public transport is often too expensive if you already own a car. There is lot that needs to be done in this part of the world to change that.

    As someone who loves to travel, I recognize by flying I am contributing a lot to pollution, but I take a lot of active steps in other parts of my life to reduce my carbon footprint (use a waterbottle instead of buying water, recycling, eating a vegan diet, not buying "fast fashion" and trying to reduce my consumption of clothing and other items, walking places in my city when I can, etc.). I can do better, but I also feel if everyone did just a couple things intentionally to reduce their footprint, we'd be a lot better off.

  6. #6
    Forum Member bchaplin's Avatar
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    This is a great point to consider. I'm daily alarmed about the state of our planet, and while curbing carbon emissions is very, very important, the biggest issue I see us facing is the lack of a science-based policy-makers, and the withdrawal of the U.S. from a commitment to face these serious problems.

    For me, some of the flights I do are non-negotiable. Visiting my father, who lives on a different continent. Going to Africa for work.

    However, many of my trips are actually relatively short hops up and down the East Coast to visit close family. I do debate the choices between planes, trains and driving. Others might find this calculator helpful.
    Turns out, for the places I travel most frequently, it's actually a negligible difference between flying and drivng in my (2005) car.

    The only real area I see for cutting back are my completely discretionary trips to Europe and the Middle East, and for sure, this is worth pondering. I had been traveling about once a year for a very delightful period of my life. Now that I'm a homeowner, the ethical choice might be moot, because all my free cash is going into fixing up my place.
    ----
    All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
    Edmund Burke

  7. #7
    Forum Member haraya's Avatar
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    I take a portfolio approach to environmental change. We still eat (some) meat. We have a dog. I drive a car (well, we are a two-car household actually, though for many years one of those cars was a Prius) but both DH and I work from home so we don't have long commutes every day. We travel internationally every few years but we try to buy and eat local, we recycle, we reuse, we bring our own shopping bags, we try to make and use the minimum of packaging. I take good care of my things so that I can use them for 20 years or more. I try to use natural fibers, and hang my clothes to dry as much as possible, so as to minimize waterway pollution and cut down on energy usage.

    But honestly I believe we as a species have gone way beyond the level of environmental impact that can be managed solely at the individual level. The way we do things at a global level has to change. So perhaps the most impactful moves we can make are to vote, and to communicate to companies and governments about our environmental priorities. (I'm still working on the vegetarian thing.)

    https://www.theguardian.com/sustaina...climate-change

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by bchaplin View Post
    This is a great point to consider. I'm daily alarmed about the state of our planet, and while curbing carbon emissions is very, very important, the biggest issue I see us facing is the lack of a science-based policy-makers, and the withdrawal of the U.S. from a commitment to face these serious problems.

    For me, some of the flights I do are non-negotiable. Visiting my father, who lives on a different continent. Going to Africa for work.

    However, many of my trips are actually relatively short hops up and down the East Coast to visit close family. I do debate the choices between planes, trains and driving. Others might find this calculator helpful.
    Turns out, for the places I travel most frequently, it's actually a negligible difference between flying and drivng in my (2005) car.

    The only real area I see for cutting back are my completely discretionary trips to Europe and the Middle East, and for sure, this is worth pondering. I had been traveling about once a year for a very delightful period of my life. Now that I'm a homeowner, the ethical choice might be moot, because all my free cash is going into fixing up my place.
    That's an interesting calculator. I'd be interested in learning more of the calculations that go into it. For now though, blindly trusting it, if I use the scenario I mentioned above:

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaadk View Post
    ... Now, the part I don't know, does 500 cars on the road, for say the 1900 kms, 18.5 hours it would have taken me to drive create more or less pollution than the 2.5 hour flight of a 737 going the same distance?...
    According to that calculator, the CO2 impact of flying is 1705 lbs, whereas the driving impact (as close as I could get because they don't have anything close to my vehicle) is 1517 lbs. If we take that 1517, and multiply by the generous estimate of only 400 cars, that same number of people represent 606,800 lbs of emissions, compared to the plane's 1705 lbs.

  9. #9
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    Very interesting discussion. We also donít drive ó I havenít owned a car for ... 29 years? I had one in college, briefly. We bus and bike to work, shopping, everything. So yes for me it is long distance travel that is the big emitter, plus the meat in our diet.

    Individual actions are important, research shows, because they show others it can be done, and create conversations like this.

    I also think we can all be advocates in our workplaces. People at my job travel a lot and our stupid travel service always books you on a flight even when there is a train and even when the train takes about the same time. Flying less by institutional policy would be very helpful, and itís something we can effect.

    I would like to go to a big conference in Australia next year, and then travel around. But I am quite sure thatís not a good enough reason. Iím disappointed of course but it has got to change ó flying, driving, diet, political activism ó the whole package. I wonít be successful at everything and some things wonít work but Iíll try.

    My mother lives in the US and is very ill. For her I will make a trip. My Dad is 87 now and also lives in the US and I will fly to see him as well. Bit I wish I had a better alternative.

  10. #10
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    According to that calculator, the CO2 impact of flying is 1705 lbs, whereas the driving impact (as close as I could get because they don't have anything close to my vehicle) is 1517 lbs. If we take that 1517, and multiply by the generous estimate of only 400 cars, that same number of people represent 606,800 lbs of emissions, compared to the plane's 1705 lbs.
    I don't think this is right. The CO2 impact of ONE person on the plane flying is 1705 pounds, not the CO2 impact of the whole plane flying. Similarly if you had four people in your car, the CO2 emission for each of you would be 1517/4. So another way to reduce emissions is smart carpooling.

  11. #11
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    Not to discount the importance of activism, but at this point in our society, if you abstain from flying, someone else will just take your seat. It different than driving, because if you don't drive, that's one less car, but you aren't the one flying the plane. While it's great to minimize your impact by not flying, that flight to Australia is still going to fly, and it will probably still be full. I'd argue that advocating for alternative energy sources (of which it has been acknowledged even by scientists that fueling air travel by alternative methods will be the hardest to implement) might be the more long term solution.

  12. #12
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    My office is having "Bike to work week." Sounds great, right? Except, I live in central Florida, and it's 90F and storming every afternoon. Plus, I live 15 miles from work. Combine that with central Florida being one of the most bike UNfriendly areas I've ever seen. Nobody at work lives within 2 miles of the office, because it's right next to the airport runways. So, it's not going to happen.

    They used to let us work from home, but then they decided they wanted us back in the office so we can collaborate face to face instead of over a chat room.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ejvc View Post
    I don't think this is right. The CO2 impact of ONE person on the plane flying is 1705 pounds, not the CO2 impact of the whole plane flying. Similarly if you had four people in your car, the CO2 emission for each of you would be 1517/4. So another way to reduce emissions is smart carpooling.
    Yep, that's why I said I'd love to see the calculations that went into that system, because the math didn't seem to work. All I picked was the departure and arrival airports. There's no way for them to say if that's a 50 passenger mini plane or a 1000 passenger super, jumbo whatever.

    Quote Originally Posted by BWeaves View Post
    ...They used to let us work from home, but then they decided they wanted us back in the office so we can collaborate face to face instead of over a chat room.
    Having worked in many different client sites, I've seen this kind of flip-flop many times. While they say "collaborating face to face is better" typically the driving factor is either "we need to justify this space we're paying for" or "our Webex bills are too high."

  14. #14
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    Have at it, I love empty seats next to me! Thirty years form now, this doomsayers' moral panic will be forgotten like all the others.

  15. #15
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    This is a great discussion. I do think it's different in the U.S. as we don't have the infrastructure of Europe. You have compact cities, cycling routes, great trains, etc. I WISH we had this in the U.S. but we don't and I don't see it happening anytime soon.

    Like @haraya we do what we can. I avoid single use plastic, avoid meat, drive a hybrid car when I need to. (can walk to library, bank, etc.) but my family is scattered through the country. Not flying means not seeing our 90 year old parents, or our grandchildren in Chicago. That's not going to happen.

    As for vacation, we fly and I'm well aware of the environmental cost. BUT there's a societal benefit to travel. Travel is the best way to realize there are other people, other cultures, and other ways of doing things in the world. Those landlocked in one country are often those who judge and fear other nationalities and religions. It's easy to hate people you've never met.

    Tourism is also one of the only supports for endangered and threatened species. It is in a country's economic interest to protect elephants, tigers, etc. Sad, but true.
    Last edited by Traveltech; 05-15-2019 at 07:27 AM.

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