Okay, let’s go ahead and get this out of the way. Any and all comments about the greenhouse gases emitted by my travels will be referred to this entry from now on. Let me say it loud and clear: I USE AIRPLANES FOR TRAVEL. I WILL CONTINUE TO USE AIRPLANES FOR TRAVEL. I TRAVEL PLACES YOU MAY NOT THINK ARE ESSENTIAL. I TRAVEL A LOT, AND NOT ONLY FOR WORK – OCCASIONALLY I WILL TRAVEL TO WATCH A BASKETBALL GAME FEATURING MY BELOVED TAR HEELS.
But I thought you were a rabid environmentalist! Isn’t that a little hypocritical?
I’m sorry, I can’t really hear you when you’re sucking my balls.
*Ahem*. I said… I thought you were a rabid environmentalist! Isn’t that a little hypocritical?
In some ways, yes. I am one of the (roughly) 100-250 people who elected to take a flight to a place where the plane was going anyway. If I had gotten together with the other 100-250 people, and told them all to drive to Italy… well, no, they would have flown the empty plane anyway. But if I started a groundswell of public outcry against air travel and convinced 30% of all Americans not to fly to Europe anymore, they would probably reduce the number of JFK-Rome flights from four to three.
Am I culpable? Yes. I’d argue that my culpability is very, very small, but yes, it exists.
I’m not talking about vacation flights to Europe, I mean flights to a place like San Antonio, just to watch a basketball game.
Ah, but is it just to watch a basketball game? When I went to Texas last weekend, I met up with my buddies Jon Vaden and Chip Chapman – two friends I’ve had for 23 years. We talked for two days about our various life issues, offered support where we could, and even visited the Alamo – along the way, spending money in the local economy:
So where do you draw the line for frivolity?
You could have driven. Didn’t you once say: “Every person on that… plane bears the responsibility for its gas usage. They made that choice, not me.”
Yes, but you’re taking me out of context. I was saying that to commenters who didn’t like the fact that I was driving across the country when there was a plane going there anyway.
Besides – and I’ll come clean here – many of my arguments against flying (and for driving) came from an irrational post-9/11 fear of flying that has since been mostly eradicated by therapy and Celexa. In a way, I was trying convince my wife to let me drive from New York to California twice a year, and thankfully, cooler heads prevailed.
Sounds like rationalizations to me. I mean, what percentage of man-made global warming is caused by airplanes?
Um. How much is caused by driving, shipping and trains?
Er… what about deforestation?
18%. Lighting accounts for about 20%. You see where this is going, don’t you? Let’s put it in simple terms:
A round-trip flight from LAX to San Antonio emits about 275 kg of CO2 per passenger. If you were to swap out ten incandescent bulbs for CFLs in your house, you would stop 385 kg of CO2 in one year. Hell, if you were to insulate your attic with rolls of R-38 from your hardware store, you’d save 1500 kg of carbon dioxide a year.
What are you getting at?
I’m saying “make realistic changes where you can.” If you don’t like buying carbon offsets, that’s fine, but instead of calling environmentalists who fly “hypocrites”, you could make about five changes to your own home that would cancel out every flight they’ll take for the next five years.
Oh no. Is this where you list all of your Great Environmental Achievements?
Yes, because it makes conservatives so furious. To wit: we drive a Prius (roughly 45 mpg), we own no incandescent bulbs, we are a one-car family in Los Angeles with no commute, our farm has a solar array that provides free energy to our house as well as several homes surrounding it, we heat with a wood stove (77% efficiency using a renewable resource), we’ve planted trees on both coasts, use new high-efficiency washers, dryers, dishwashers and refrigerators… and we pick airlines with new planes and a solid environmental plan.
Wait – what was that last part?
I make sure to fly new planes that are 44% more efficient than the ones we used in the ’80s (and are still around). And for our roundtrips back to New York, we almost exclusively use Virgin’s brand new planes, which not only have cool games and movies on demand at every seat, but Virgin itself is investing in a superfuel that may change travel as we know it.
Whatever. You’re still flying and still putting gas into the stratosphere.
Whatever. It’s always the climate change deniers who harp on this the most. They use our so-called hypocrisy as justification for doing absolutely nothing. I would make this warning, however: don’t forget what happened to the boy who never went on an airplane, never discovered new places, never visited other countries, never learned another language, never commiserated with old friends, and never ventured far because the world was too scary and complicated…
He became a batshit wingnut reactionary Republican.
You can only do this environmental stuff because there’s money, etc. etc. prissy self-righteous, etc. etc. elitist, latté-drinking liberal fuck, etc. etc-
Wait, wait. I’m sorry. Again, it’s really hard to hear you whilst you suck my balls.