Wednesday, January 4, 2012
I like to imagine myself as someone who lives light on the land. I buy organic fruits and vegetables from the weekly farmer’s market. I took public transportation to work for the past fourteen years (in New York and San Francisco), and now bike to work daily along Boise’s beautiful greenbelt. I’ve written multiple articles about how to build buildings and cities more efficiently. But I’m all-too-increasingly aware that living light on the land doesn’t do much for my overall carbon footprint, in large part because of all the time I spend up in the air.
Air travel, you see, is where my green tendencies go awry, and send any calculation of my carbon footprint sinking into the red. It’s a new year’s resolution of mine to try to figure out what to do about it (short of, you know, not taking a honeymoon in Turkey and not going to my friend’s wedding in England). I went over to the Carbon Fund to see what it would cost me to off-set my trip to the AALS conference in Washington, D.C. I took today (will I see you there?). It tells me that for just $7.40 each way, I can settle with the planet for my cross-country trip. I can assuage my guilt for last year’s trip to England for $19.38 each way, and last year's trip to Turkey melts for just $24.29 each way. Is it really so easy? I’m sure one of you out there has thought through this. What can we do about air travel carbon emissions—and still keep on our explorer hats—other than throw money to the carbon offset funds? Other than, of course, use the restroom before boarding the plane, as one airline recently requested its passengers do.
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