Nowadays, flying has become a way of life. It’s almost hard to think of travel and exploring the world’s nature without airplanes. People around the world think of flying as a normal part of life – and boy do people love to fly!
In 2018 alone, commercial airlines carried just over 4.3 billion passengers worldwide.
With the development of
aviation and the introduction to bigger airplanes and computerized in-flight systems, flying has become more cost-effective than ever. Thanks to these developments, the airline industry has never been more confident of its stability, especially with the boom in sustainable and ecotourism.
Budget-friendly airlines tempt us to take flights so often. However, the biggest carbon footprint of any vacation is your flight there. Airplanes won’t become battery-run or eco-friendly in the future on their own– we must keep in mind how costly flying is for people and our planet.
Air travel emissions produce massive amounts of CO2 at levels of our atmosphere that hurt our planet most. And that’s only half the story, radiative forcing that happens on domestic and international flights is estimated by some to have a climate impact of twice the flight’s CO2 emissions!
Despite this, industry experts expect air travel demand to double in the next two decades!
In the age of globalization, flying has become a necessity for many people. It remains the safest and fastest form of transport in the world. We understand this tension, and like travelling ourselves.
Learn about the environmental impact of your travel, and choose how to mitigate it:
1. Think twice before you go.
Many of us have family living elsewhere and Skype will not cut it for familial visits and occasions– like someone’s marriage. But if you’re taking a trip with other people consider making it a road trip! It’s good bonding and though CO2 released seems similar per kg per passenger, your car is not emitting directly into our atmosphere.
2. Visit for longer stretches of time.
If you’re moving across continents taking a plane certainly is the fastest, most efficient and more affordable way to get there. Once you’re there, enjoy it!
If you’re planning on jumping countries, consider another mode of transport.
3. Don’t travel at night.
Remember the radiative forcing we mentioned above? Just know that at night this problem takes a turn for the worse. Airplanes make contrails or airplane-made clouds that can block the Earth’s radiation from escaping. During the day these clouds at least block the Sun’s radiation as well but at night they only serve trap radiation and not block it from the Sun.
4. Pack lightly.
Yes, if everyone took less luggage it would make a difference in emissions savings. Leave room for all the souvenirs (or intangible memories) you’ll bring back! And you won’t be lugging that extra pack around. You will thank yourself once you get there, trust us.
5. Choose renewable energy.
Support green energy and promote a more sustainable future for aviation. Or offset your flight by calculating the CO2 released and donate to a tree planting organization.
6. Choose your airline wisely.
Some aircraft are more carbon efficient than others, this index will help you sort through them for your type of flight. Plus, some airlines have eco-friendly practices like offering sustainable options and buying materials that do not harm the environment for inflight services.
Airline emissions are not something that escaped the youth-led movement #FridaysForFuture. In Europe activists and other would-be passengers have decided to stay grounded and boycott flying all together, with a #FlightFree campaign starting in 2020.
Climate change is bad for business– anywhere in the world. Solutions that center sustainability and the environment are the only way forward.
The small steps above are things you can do to think about your climate impact. Remember, we can all do our part, check your last flight’s impact in the link!
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