Will we resolve to fly less, or carry on ignoring our biggest impact?
Most of us understand the need for the developed world to cut its carbon dramatically, by a factor of 10 on average, over a year or two. Or it’s “game over” for our kids.
Many of our resolutions to lead greener lives as professionals (and so to inspire others to do the same) are good, up to a point. That’s a decimal point, in the wrong place by a factor of 10.
The habit shifts we tend to offer up are good for cutting a few hundreds of kilograms off our carbon waste-lines, which is great. But the giant “coke” (or kerosene-abuse) habit, the one that causes thousands of kilos each single trip, is quietly overlooked.
Some people are making a pledge to quit air travel. I hear the outcry, readers – impossibubble! But ignoring this opportunity represents dieting without quitting cream cakes. That metaphor was used to chastise government into inclusion of air travel within the Climate Bill, yet is now conveniently ignored in our own lifestyles.
By gaily flying on regardless, we are kidding ourselves, and selling kids short.
As a rule of thumb, every three or four hours in the air adds another tonne of greenhouse impact, ie the entire viable equitable quota for a global citizen, for a year. This is the deep carbon cut that we can resolve to deliver, as individuals with free will. But will we?
We face a choice. We can get paid to build another (soon to be obsolete) runway, or we can consider an alternative legacy for the kids: one person, and then a world, freed of fossil addiction.
Dave Hampton, Marlow, Bucks
Building Sustainable Design