Posts Tagged ‘air travel’

Starting tomorrow, I will be off to Europe for a two-week visit to my family, followed by a tour of the Tuscan countryside. If I was 100% pure, I would stay home, and use Skype to stay in touch with my loved ones. After all, air travel is one the most CO2 intensive mode of transportation:

This is where the power of emotional ties collide with my green conscience. The tragedy of my 86-year old mother slowly falling to Alzheimer’s, and the adorable pictures of my new six-month old nephew Amadeo, are stronger than all the carbon calculations. I have to go.

To ease up my footprint, I will, of course, buy carbon offsets from Terrapass. And dream of a not so distant future, when air travelling may not be such a curse on the environment.

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Prad left for Madison earlier. I drove him, one hour round trip total. I wanted to see my husband off, and he wanted to kiss me goodbye at the airport. If we had been pure, he would have taken the train, and then BART, but that would taken him twice the amount of time. The circumstances just did not lend themselves to carbon calculations.

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Just received in my Inbox, from Virgin Atlantic: ‘Picture this: London from $256.’ Don’t get me wrong. I am a big admirer of Richard Branson’s entrepreneurial genius. This is not an effort to single out Virgin Atlantic. Rather, I am pointing at the pervasive nature of our modern consumerist culture.

I was curious, and wanted to find out how much CO2 damage a flight like the Virgin Atlantic one would cause. I tried to google ‘air travel, carbon footprint’, and went nowhere. There was no carbon calculator, that could give me the exact CO2 equivalent for a specific trip, let say, San Francisco – London round trip. If any of you know of one, please pass on the information!

Carbon offsets have a role to play in instances where one absolutely has to travel. But going to London on a whim, just for the fun of it? I think that time has passed.

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Green Guru will make three airplane trips this month. One this weekend for the Indian wedding on the East Coast, one to Hawaii for business, and one at the end of the month for the Homecoming at his alma matter, the University of Madison. Since he gives me such a hard time usually, I did not want to miss that opportunity to return him the favor. Isn’t aircraft traveling one of the worst offenders for carbon emissions? What was he going to do about his trips? We have had the same discussion before. And again, Green Guru brought up his greenness, the solar installation on top of our roof, all his daily green deeds, the solar project in Hawaii. Plus, he was planning on buying carbon offsets. That’s when it struck me. Buying a green conscience is a privilege of the rich.

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Green Guru is back from Hawaii. Green Guru is antsy to leave again, this time with me. There is the Indian wedding up in Canada, a few weeks from now. He would also like to take me to Chicago to introduce me to some of his old friends. And then there is the Tuscany trip we are supposed to take soon. I am happy where I am, and not really in the mood for all these trips. When Green Guru insists, I point to him that all that fuel burning from aircrafts can’t be good. His answer: the planes are going anyway, we might as well go. Plus, he has put solar panels on our house, and is working on this solar deal in Hawaii. He is also planting trees in our yard. He has to see his friends and his family. I mention Skype as an alternative. Green Guru likes air traveling, period, and will not change his mind. Green Guru becomes Prad again, just a Green Wannabe like me.

Some ice spills out of the fridge. I pick up the few ice cubes, throw them in the sink. Prad rushes to ‘recycle’ them and throw them onto the bushes outside . . .

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