I love to travel. And almost anyone I meet says they feel the same. I love getting to walk unknown streets and explore the unique cultures the world has to offer. Something that's been on my mind recently though, is how impactful flying is.
According to a New York Times article I read a while ago, one round trip flight from NY to CA generates about 20% of the greenhouse gases your car emits in one year. ONE ENTIRE YEAR. I was absolutely shocked when I read this. What is more unsettling is the fact that planes will be flying more often and the number of planes in service is just going to be multiplied in the coming years.
So what can we do? Well you guessed it: fly less often. Sure, we all love a good vacation and sometimes, we absolutely have to fly for work. If you're a college student, you're likely to be flying home multiple times a year. It is hard to get around it, but it is the most effective way to reduce your carbon footprint. When you're comparing driving versus flying though, remember that the longer the distance, the more efficient flying is. If you're taking a short trip, it is probably better to drive instead.
When you do fly, try to fly in economy class. Yes, business and first class seats are much more spacious but that comfort comes with a cost. Since those seats are bigger and take up more room, they end up being less efficient because they transport less people by the same amount of fuel. Yes we all complain about not having enough leg room but for me, knowing that it is reducing the impact on our environment, it's worth it!
Although there isn't much more we can do, we should all still keep ourselves updated and educated about how our travel takes a toll on our carbon footprints. I know that I will be calculating it every time I fly and looking for more ways to reduce it.
If you'd like to calculate your carbon footprint from your flight you can use this online calculator : https://www.icao.int/environmental-protection/CarbonOffset/Pages/default.aspx