I thought I’d take the opportunity to confess my big eco-sin. Throughout my adult life, I’ve lived–compared to the average Canadian–a relatively environmentally friendly life. I’ve lived in small apartments, rarely used a car, don’t eat red meat (and try to always choose organic chicken), recycled and so forth. These are small gestures that happen to coincide with my preferred lifestyle, and they’re not going to change the world.
However, I love to travel. I’ve flown a lot in the past decade–probably around 100 individual flights. And, as you probably know, air travel is a beast for climate change. There are other high-impact elements of travel, but flights are the worst. Plus there’s a compelling economic argument for travel bolstering economies in the developing world.
Tickets to Guilt Avoidance Town
Recently we’ve started buying carbon credits, but those are really tickets to Guilt Avoidance Town more than anything else. Likewise, I regularly donate to the David Suzuki Foundation, but that hardly excuses the air travel, does it?
What to do? Besides fly less, there are no easy answers. It’s going to take decades for airplanes to get more eco-friendly. That’s particularly tricky considering our home base in Vancouver. It’s a long way to anywhere from there, you know? One strategy I do hope to apply is squishing more activities under one flight. So, instead of going to Europe twice in a year, we go once, stay twice as long, and take trains and ferries between our sundry destinations. Given that this Malta experiment has worked out pretty well in terms of working remotely, that seems viable.
The other thing I can do is act (to use Andrea’s phrase) as a lobbyist and a change agent to convince other people, companies and governments to live greener. This gets into the whole Stacies thing, but that’s really the only way I’m going to offset a lifetime’s worth of air travel.
What’s your biggest eco-sin?