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Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:44 AM

 

Do you want to do something to help this planet? Stop flying. [View all]

When you fly, the plane is spewing far more pounds of CO2 into the air per person per mile than a car ever does(even my old '49 DeSoto). Yet over the past fifty years, flying has become de rigueur for most people. Long gone are the days of Mom and Dad packing the kids into a station wagon and driving out for a vacation. Now Mom and Dad make sure that they and their kids are wearing shoes that are easy to slip on and off before they head to the airport and board a plane.

While the numbers vary a bit(due to car and plane model and how long the plane trip is), a rough average is that a plane emits a little over one pound of CO2 per person per mile. Meanwhile, if that same person were driving a car, they would be emitting a bit over 0.6 pounds of CO2 per mile. That is a significant difference.

Worse yet are those planes that are not carrying passengers, but cargo. Our obsession for next day(and now the latest thing, same day) delivery means we're sending up planes, planes and more planes all in order to get your Ginsu knife set to you tomorrow, because you absolutely, positively can't wait until next week for it. A train, even on our nation's horrible rail system, can go coast to coast in four days max, but apparently we've become far too accustomed, far too demanding to wait until then, so it is flown to you instead.

Oh, I know, I know, I can hear all the complaints and snide remarks now, but the fact of the matter is that if you want to accomplish something to abate the severity of global climate change, it is up to you to make that change, because if we leave it up to corporations and the government, it simply isn't going to happen. So it is up to us to make the change we want to see come about.

And really, just how much of a sacrifice are you going to be making? It wasn't that long ago that air mail was hardly used, and most of us waited patiently to get anything that we had ordered, a week or two. No big deal. You simply planned ahead for the delay. Same with travel. When I was a kid, air travel was something for the elite, not the rest of us. So, we took two week, or one week vacations, and drove to our destination. Some of the best times were to be had in the back seat of a car on a long trip.

But now we are a society that is far too into instant gratification. We want our stuff now, not in a week, we want to be there now, not tomorrow. It is this sort of selfish attitude that allows FedEx and Southwest to continue to pollute, and profit, from our poor self control.

So, the next time you want to order something, check the US Post box for shipping. When you want to go somewhere on your vacation, drive, don't fly. We've got to be the change we want to see, because nobody else is going to make that change for us.

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